Francesco Hayez and Domenico Induno

If we switch back to the Biedermeier era again let us proudly present Francesco Hayez as the leading painter of that time in Italy. Hayez melted the ideals of classicism with the sentimentality of romanticism. He was a historical painter yet relied on Renaissance style in an endeavour to give Italy a new and self-conscious identity. In the spirit of Risorgimento he was a democratic painter. He was heavily ideologically involved with the unification of Italy and the shaking off of the Hapsburg rule and expressed his melancholy about the failure of legitimate nationalist attempts in powerful paintings. On the internet it says: „Corrado Ricci describes him as starting as a classicist but then evolving to a style of emotional tumult“ – but unfortunately I was not able to further discover what emotional tumult would mean, in the history of art (Ricci´s Art in Northern Italy is from 1911). The expression of emotional tumult in Hayez` paintings, however, is obvious and Stendhal said about him: „rien moins que le premier peintre vivant“, „l´expression des personnages est vivre et profonde, on sent que ce peintre a de l´ame“, „m´apprend quelque chose de nouveau sur le passions qu`il peint“.

Francesco Hayez and his women

Domenico Induno was a pupil of Hayez and they had an intimate and warm relationship. In his more mature paintings the brushwork is more raw and seemingly spontaneous, his paintings seem somehow internally tattered and give quite an immediate sense of emotional tumult, convulsions, stress or despair in his characters and scenes. His paintings are rather suggestive than descriptive. Domenico Induno also was an adherent of Risorgimento (and his powerful Melancholy we have encountered in the Biedermeier exhibition) and became also critical towards society in post-unification Italy (The Return of the Wounded Soldier, indicating a strenuous past but also a bleak future for ordinaty Italians). Towards the end of his life his paintings became gloomy and melancholic.

Domenico Induno

Domenico Induno also had a younger brother, Gerolamo, who also was a painter who did some fairly cool stuff (which, however, was not shown at our Is That Biedermeier? exhibition).