Wood engravings by Lorenzo Viani: outcasts and their stories

Lorenzo Viani, xilografie - wood etchings

"The Reaper", c. 1925

In “Storia della narrativa italiana del Novecento: 1900-1922” (Feltrinelli, Milan 2004), contemporary Italian literature experts Giovanna De Angelis and Stefano Giovanardi introduce Lorenzo Viani (Viareggio 1882-Lido di Ostia 1936) explaining he “approached literature at an older age, apparently shifting to this new form of expression the bright colors and intense, expressionist strokes that had marked his paintings”.

Here we present a selection of the artist’s wood engravings, created between the 1910s and1920s (and in part published on “Xilografia” magazine, active from 1924 to 1926).

Viani rose from humble origins and politically was drawn to anarchy. In their essay, De Angelis and Giovanardi note that most of his short stories were “portraits of outcasts… living an extremely poor and desperate life, to which they alternatively react with violence or resignation, but always with a latent anger that influences their gestures and the miserable choices they have to face”.

Perhaps we might use the same key to interpret Viani’s etchings.

April 9, 2015