Nino Costa (1826-1903)

Transnational Exchange in European Landscape Painting

  • Author Arnika Schmidt
  • Series Studi della Bibliotheca Hertziana, 10
  • Edited by Marieke von Bernstorff
  • Binding Hardcover with jacket
  • Size 23 x 31 cm
  • Pages 256
  • Illustrations 88 colour, 113 b/w
  • Language English
  • Year 2016
  • ISBN 9788836633845
  • Price € 70,00  € 66,50
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The Roman landscape painter Nino Costa was one of the most international Italian painters of his time and an inspiration to compatriots and non-Italian artists alike. This first monograph on him provides valuable insights into his life, his poetic art, and the seminal role he played at the center of a lively international network of artists.
Dissatisfied with the traditional approaches of Italian academic painters, Costa turned to the international artist community of his native Rome for inspiration. At first, Costa looked to the painters following Jean-Baptiste Corot's poetic approach to realism and then further developed his art working in close contact with English colleagues such as George Mason and Frederic Leighton. A patriot as well as a painter, Costa fought for both the unification of Italy and for a reinvigorated art that appropriately represented his homeland. Alongside his call for a new approach to national art, Costa continued to develop his own artistic practice within a cosmopolitan circle.
As well as tracing the history of Costa's life, this monograph pays particular attention to the cultural contexts of his French, Swiss, German, Italian and English colleagues, an approach that underscores his role as a transnational artist and a catalyst for change in nineteenth-century European landscape painting.

Table of Contents


Introduction: Nino Costa – a cosmopolitan artist

I. Aspects of Costa’s life and work and the international context

  • Nino Costa and the events leading to the unification of Italy in 1870
  • Biography
    Childhood and artistic formation 1826–1859
    New impressions and back to arms 1859–1870
    Rome – Returning to the new capital 1870–1885
    The last decades 1885–1903
  • Transnational exchange in Rome and an idealist approach to nature
  • Nino Costa and the basis of his art
    Women Loading Wood on Boats at Porto d’Anzio
    Women Stealing Wood on the Shore near Ardea
    A Scirocco Day on the Sea Coast near Rome
  • A view on the concept of realism

II. Costa and the legacy of French landscape painting

  • Encounters with French and Swiss artists
  • French ideal realism as a source of inspiration

III. Nino Costa and the German world

  • Roman encounters with German art
  • Nino Costa and the German art market

IV. The appeal of Great Britain and the lure of Italy

  • Landscape painting in Britain in the wake of Aestheticism
  • A close connection – Costa and his English friends
    Charles Coleman
    George Heming Mason
    Frederic, Lord Leighton
    William Blake Richmond
    George James Howard, 9th Earl of Carlisle
    Matthew Ridley and Edith Corbet
  • The Etruscan School of Art – transnational exchange and mutual learning
    Italy seen with Etruscan eyes
    Ut pictura poesis – English romantic poetry and Costa’s The First Smile of Morn
    Learning from the Old Masters and technical experiments
    Nino Costa and British audiences

V. Costa’s impact on the development of Italian art

  • A source of inspiration to the Macchiaioli
    Scientific progress, technical aids and the macchia
    Costa’s Florentine production
  • Costa’s cultural and artistic engagement between 1870 and 1903
    Cultural debate in Italy and Costa’s criticism post-1870
    The Italian Etruscans and In Arte Libertas
    Costa’s mature production


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