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Autumn on the Anapo River

Livia Gionfrida
April 11, 2022
The Culture of Beauty
April 22, 2022
Francesco Lojacono Autunno sull'Anapo, Galleria d’Arte Moderna Palermo, © Ph. Giacomo D’Aguanno/Civita Sicilia

Autunno sull'Anapo

“This painting fills the soul with a bitter melancholy, something like that feeling of sadness which overcomes us in front of a disillusion… it speaks of what we were and forces us to think of what we are… and I am very obstinate in peering down at the bottom of its riverbed, or gazing through the soft curves of its banks, or resting my gaze on the soft flowers of the papyrus, or losing it amongst the thousands of dead petals floating on the water towards the shore, or revelling in the mix of colours, of shades and light…”
(Lo Forte Randi, from Francesco Lojacono - 1838-1915, Silvana Editoriale, Milano, 2005).
Autumn on the Anapo River, a large canvas painted by the Palermitan master Francesco Lojacono inspired by the countryside of Siracusa, stunned the critics at the 7th Biennial of Venice in 1907 where it was bought by the Civica Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Palermo, which still displays it today.
With the notes of a palette with dark and sophisticated colours, applied with filaments of an almost divisionist style, the Aretusan countryside is the protagonist. The Anapo River, the tufts of papyrus, the shady flora accompanied by light touches of colour of the floating water lilies, are all immersed in the reflections of the autumn light, and sing of the irrational sentiment of Pan in nature.
To admire the painting is to lose oneself in an end-of-season afternoon in Siracusa, on the banks of a river which flows like time, like the seasons and like life. It’s nearly a re-evocation of D’Annunzio. The elevated point of view, placed right at the centre of the body of water, invites us to fuse with the luxuriant and intertwined vegetation, which like a stage curtain opens up to a slice of sky, filled with white clouds.
March 2022

She teaches history of art, is President of the Association SiciliAntica for the province of Siracusa. She took care of the formation and applied teaching of cultural heritage, she worked in an Ethnographic museum in Noto, was expert on the subject at the Faculty of Architecture, curated various publications on the theme of technological innovation applied to cultural heritage. She writes for SiracusaCulture.