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Radical Light - National Gallery

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

AN EXHIBITION entitled Radical Light: Italy’s Divisionist Painters 1891-1910 will be on display in the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery from June 18 to September 7, 2008.

The exhibition, the first of its kind organised outside Italy, will explore the complex relationship between the Italian Divisionists and the artists who were later to launch the Futurist movement in the early years of the 20th century.

Centred in Milan, Divisionism is arguably the most significant art movement to have emerged in Italy during the last decades of the 19th century.

Dissatisfaction with modern civilization led artists to explore Symbolism – their aim was to represent political concerns and make their art an instrument of social change.

The movement also sprang from research into optics and the physics of light. Inspired by French developments with pointillism, and fuelled by a desire to increase the luminosity and brilliance of their paintings, artists developed techniques of applying paint in a variety of dots and strokes.

Radical Light will feature around 60 paintings, including works by the main protagonists of Divisionism (Vittore Grubicy de Dragon, Giovanni Segantini and Gaetano Previati) and the Futurist artists Giacomo Balla and Umberto Boccioni.

Jointly organised with the Kunsthaus Zurich, Radical Light is a unique opportunity to explore a lesser-known, yet undoubtedly important movement – while offering a link to the National Gallery’s great historical collections of Italian art.

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