This morning I left home quite early to reach Palazzo Reale, right beside the Duomo, trying to catch the early bird and get in line before the school groups would invade the ticket counter for the Segantini exhibition.

It’s the first time Milan sees a collection of 120 artwork of this prolific Italian painter who died very young (only forty years old) in 1899, at the height of his artistic career.
Our apartment is right across the Castello Sforzesco park, very close to the center of the city and I usually walk each time I need to go that way. While I was walking a cold and timid winter sun was trying to emerge from a thick barrier of grey, homogeneous clouds and I inevitably thought about the glorious sunrises I enjoyed when we used to live in Miami.

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Milan unlike almost all ancient European cities is not crossed by a river but has grown on the water, it’s surrounded by water and its humid climate is ridiculed by a nation that can enjoy the beneficial effects of a generous sun. Fog is the trade mark of this city that attract heavy workers and reject joyful epicureans. You probably wonder what fog and winter greyness has to do with our nineteenth century painter: light, this is all about light.

Segantini was born in the northern part of Italy and by the time of 8 he was an orphan, dragged to live in Milan, soon guest of a juvenile reformatory; a dramatic childhood that marked his personality for the rest of his short life.
As soon as he had the right age he attends the evening courses of the Academy of fine Art and he was lucky enough to get acquainted to a Milanese young but well known art dealer who understood his peculiar talent and become his mentor.
But Segantini had to leave Milan and move to three different locations plunged in the nature to be able to find the real inspiration and the element he was enormously missing:Light. He spent his final years between 1894 and 1899 in Moloja, an Engadine village on the Swiss Alps.

For European skiers St Moritz is a synonymous of exclusive winter sports, richness and snobbery. I always thought It was a sort of snooty attitude that make wealthy people choose one place instead of another until I went to Engadine on a photo shoot.

The charm of this area is hard to describe, surrounded by high mountain and at the same time open and luminous like only the desert or the ocean can be. The landscape is breathtaking.
Then I change my mind: there is always a good reason to pick a spot.No matter if you are a rich entrepreneur looking for relax or an original mind in search of a miraculous beauty.

Elisabetta Chiesi

Giovanni Segantini
Web site: Segantini at Palazzo Reale, Milan

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