Ercole Salvatore Aprigliano

Painter and woodcutter
27/05/2022 - 25/09/2022

Ercole Salvatore’s vocation for art came to light in adolescence. When Ercolino (as people called him) knocked at the door of Felice Del Santo’s studio against his family’s wishes, he was just 15 years old.

Memory of this artist has not faded, also thanks to the exhibitions which punctuated his impassioned professional experience, favoured by his versatile temperament which enabled him to express himself with laudable results in both painting, drawing, woodcuts, stained-glass window decoration and frescoes.

The period of his youth was culturally rich in those protagonists and events which contributed to the greatness of the early 20th century. Aprigliano did not shut himself up in the studio, and his life was marked by numerous friendships: with the sculptor Enrico Carmassi, his life-long friend; with Emilio Mantelli, Francesco Gamba and Giovanni Governato, authorative figures in the woodcut world, which was given prestigious new impulse in the Eroica magazine of Ettore Cozzani and Franco Oliva; with the Viareggio artist Lorenzo Viani; and with other colleagues (Antonio Discovolo, Augusto Magli, Eugenio Brandolisio, Amilcare Bia, Pietro Gaudenzi, etc.), finally the younger painters whom he received and lovingly advised.

The painting of Telemaco Signorini, who was repeatedly present in the province of la Spezia from 1859 to 1899, also contributed to his cultural education; as did the lively Zimarra coterie which he joined enthusiastically in 1920, and the significant meetings with important figures of the art world (Plinio Nomellini, Galileo Chini, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Enrico Prampolini, Mino Maccari, Luigi Fillia, etc.).
Selected works demonstrate his developing experience in the difficult art of wood engraving and his indisputable skill in using gouges, scalpels and burins.

The exhibition, which includes works from civic collections and the artist’s family, most of which are on show for the first time, offer varying evidence of the painter’s far from provincial creative vein as well as his specific identity as a landscape and portrait painter of indisputable talent. The exhibition highlights Aprigliano’s ties to his native town, to which he dedicated numerous paintings, thus allowing the younger generations in particular to get to know and better appreciate the La Spezia of yore.

We are convinced that the visual itinerary presented in the exhibition will confirm the not only local protagonism of this productive painter, as well as the credit which has rightly been bestowed on him over the years.

Aprigliano dearly loved the sea, the countryside and airy scenery, which he depicted in various canvases with notable sensitivity and equally notable authenticity. He was a sincere painter, as regards both his intimate feelings and the images he created with his exquisitely tonal colour-scheme, with its personalised purples, turquoises and blues applied in harmonious, well-defined graphic patterns.
One of the aims of the organisers of this retrospective is to arouse renewed interest in the more complex artistic tradition of La Spezia, of which our Aprigliano is certainly an admirable representative.


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