*** artists illustrating boys fashions: Cesare Cabras

Italian Artists: Cesare Cabras (Italy, 1886-1968)

Cesare Cabras

Figure 1.-- Cesare Cabras focused his artistic attention on the Italian peasantry and the love of the land. Also notice the depiction of old fashioned farming methods--the oxen at the left and the cycle at the right. Cabrad idealizes the peasantry. Agiculture was still a major part of the Italian economy. But such inefficent peasant agrculture meant that Italy could not become a major European power.

Cesare Cabras was an Italian painter. He was born in Monserrato southern Sardinia from a land owning family of modest means (1886). The family had mosest fields, almond groves, and vineyards close to Cagliari. As a boy, he worked in the fields with his family. As a result, unlike many artistrs he was persomally involved in the scenes he chose to depict in artistic career. He was was familar wit every aspect of rural life from having experienced it personally. At age 19 years he began an apprentice in the workshop of the craftsman Giuseppe Conci (1905). This was an older age than appreciship usually began, but Conci was a noted Art Nouveau decorator, catering to the Cagliari upper class. It was an oportunity to begin a comfortable career a part of the urban middle class. Conci noriced some specual about Cabras. He convincd hus father to have Cabras train as an artist (1907). As a result, he enered the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome where he graduated in at the 26 years of age (1912). The Rome artistic environment was an eye-opening experienvde for Cabras whose life up to that point was largely confined to rural Sadinia. He mixed in the dynamic artistic mileau. He was most influence, however by verismo art -- not the many modern movemnts of the day. Verismo was a pictorial movement of the Italian 19th century. Cabras was not interested in the many modern abstract movements. After finishing his atistic studies, he began working in the studio of Pietro Gaudenzi in Genoa. He also enrolled in the the nude evening school of the English Academy. The association with Gaudenzi continues for some time. After the outbreak of World War I, Cabras returned home to help with family agrcultural operations. His brothers were conscripted for military service and help was needed in the fields. Because of a congenital problem, he was exempted. He was able to continue painting. His works are realistic, often with rural, peasant subjects. A good example of his work is 'Famiglia Campidanese', family from the Campidano plane, the plane in southern Sardinia. After World War I (1914-18), Cabras settled in Teulada, a kind of Sardinian artist colony (1922). It was here tat some of his best know works were executed. One author writes, "Teulada is regarded as a mythical place, varying from modern Italy, where traditions are preserved, and archaic and pagan liturgies are celebrated, where the edifying country life passes, made of simplicity, purity and exemplary morality." Cabras also finds the physiognomies, the characteristic characters of the Itanian villages. A year after Cabras settled in Teulada, Mussolini and the Fascists seized control of Italy. Cabras was one of the most estemed artists during the Fascist era. We are not suggesting that he painted to please the Fascists. His style was well established before the Fascists came to power. Cabras received wide recognition and many awards during the Fascist era. His work was shown in Germany. Nor are we suggesting he was involved in the crimes of Fascism. Rather the Fascists aooreciated id idealization of the peasnatry and their attachment to the land. Fashiam exhiobited a curious dichotomy. On one hand, they embraced modernity and industrialization. On the other hand they idealized the peasantry and old-fashion craftsmanship. He spent some time in Libya, at the time an Italian colony. After World War II (1941-45) and the fallm of Communism, Italy was no longer shielded from modern artistic trends by a totalitarian state. Modern artistic currents, including Postcubism and Picassism swept into Italy. Cabras vocally criticised them and continued his commitment to realism. This essentially ended his career. The critics and exhibitors that mattered did not appreciate his work. He died in Monserrato where he was born (1968).


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Created: 7:57 PM 1/12/2023
Last updated: 7:57 PM 1/12/2023