Giovanni Cappelli | Original prints, lithographs, etchings and illustrated books




Having started his apprenticeship as a carpenter, Giovanni Cappelli enrolled, already seventeen, in the Liceo Artistico in Bologna and continued his training by following the courses of the Nude School held by Virgilio Guidi at the Academy of Fine Arts in the same city. In Cesena, he forges a partnership with Alberto Sughi and Luciano Caldari in the name of a neorealist art, sharing with his friends an attitude that is not homologated to ideologically and politically committed tendencies.

In 1947 he moved with Sughi to Turin and in 1949, with Sughi and Caldari, to Rome where he frequented the artists of the Social Art Group and the Portonaccio Group. The subjects of his early works are figures and environments of a poor popular life, bracciantile or seafaring, with inevitable digressions in the celebration of the resistance epic. In 1956 he was invited to the Venice Biennale chaired by Roberto Longhi.

In 1959 he moved to Milan and his painting, having abandoned the strict observance of the previous realism, allowed himself to new formal syntheses in which it is reported, with existentialistic accents borrowed from literary authors such as Sartre, Camus, Beckett and Pavese, the condition of a degraded and marginalized humanity set in poor interiors or in the gloomy and oppressive Milanese suburbs. Starting from the seventies these tensions are diluted in precious coloristic recoveries and in a path that has been defined "from dark to light" (Dino Formaggio).

The last years of life are spent by Cappelli in the buen retiro of Fornico on Lake Garda. Cappelli exhibited at the Rome Quadrennial (1963), in various venues in Romagna, was followed by critics such as Marco Valsecchi, Mario De Micheli and Raffaele Carrieri and held his most important personal exhibition at Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara (1989).