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GIOVANNI SEGANTINI (1858-1899)

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Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 582 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GIOVANNI SEGANTINI (1858-1899), Italian painter, was born at Arco in the Trentino on the 15th of June 1858. His mother, who died in 1863, belonged to an old family of the mountain country. His father, who was a man of the people, went to Milan, whence he set forth with another son to seek his fortune, leaving Giovanni behind. At the age of seven the child ran away; he was found perishing of cold and hunger, and was obliged to earn his bread by keeping the flocks on the hills. He spent his long hours of solitude in drawing. Owing to his fame having reached the ears of a syndic, he was sent back to Milan; but, unable to endure domestic life, he soon escaped again, and led a wandering life till he met at Arco with his half-brother, who offered him the place of cashier in his provision shop. After more flights and more returns, Segantini remained at Milan to attend classes at the Brera, earning a living meanwhile by giving lessons and painting portraits. His first picture, " The Choir of Sant Antonio," was noticed for its powerful quality. After painting this, however, he shook himself free by degrees of academical teaching, as in his picture " The Ship." He subsequently painted The Falconer" and "The Dead Hero," and then settled in Brianza, near Como. There he gave himself up to the study of mountain life, and became in truth the painter of the Alps. At this time he painted the " Ave Maria," which took a gold medal at the Amsterdam Exhibition (1883), " Mothers," " After a Storm in the Alps," " A Kiss," and " Moonlight Effect." Deeply impressed by Millet, the artist nevertheless quickly strove to reassert his individuality, as may be seen in " The Drinking-place," which gained a gold medal in Paris (1889), "In the Sheep-fold,"" By the Spinning-wheel," and " Ploughing in the Engadine," for which he was awarded a gold medal at the Turin Exhibition (1892). Besides those works in which he studied simple effects of light and Alpine scenery, such as " Midday on the Alps " and " Winter at Savognino," he also painted symbolical subjects: "The Punishment of Luxury," and the " Unnatural Mothers " (in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool). Segantini died at Maloja in October 1899. An exhibition of his works was held in London, and afterwards at Brussels in 1899, and at Milan in 1900.
End of Article: GIOVANNI SEGANTINI (1858-1899)
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