Pompeo Mariani: a sea of art

Pompeo Mariani (Monza, 1857-Bordighera, 1927) was one of Italy’s most important marine landscape painters.

“In his paintings, [Mariani] brought Liguria’s sea to the international scene: he was awarded at London’s 1885 International Exhibitions for ‘Night in Genoa’s Harbor’; in 1886 King Umberto purchased ‘The Evening’, another view of the port; ‘Salty Water’ won in Liverpool and ‘Sunset over Genoa’s Harbor’ in Munich in 1888” (translated from Vv. Aa., “Giuseppe Garibaldi, due secoli di interpretazioni”, Gangemi Editore).

According to Sergio Conti and Piero Bonavero, Mariani was able to “give a very sharp interpretation of the human landscapes in Genoa and on the Riviera di Ponente. Landscapes from a region that had typically Mediterranean lights and moods, but also was poised for modernity, which would turn it into the theater of the first touristic revolution” (translated from “Riflessi italiani: l’identità di un Paese attraverso la rappresentazione del suo territorio”, Touring Editore, Milan 2004).

Looking at his paintings, we are reminded of the beautiful verses from Ligurian poet Eugenio Montale’s “English Horn”:
The wind this evening attentively plays
– bringing to mind the ringing metallic
slip of a blade –
the instrument of thick trees and open
copper horizon
where the lath of light yanks itself straight
like kites to the sky rebounding
(Traveling clouds, pale realms
of above! Of the high Eldoradeans
ill-closed door!)
and the sea that flake by flake
of mute, livid colors
thrusts at the ground a blast
of twisted foam;
the wind that births and dies
within the slowly darkening hour
may also be singing to you this evening,
disused instrument,
heart.

To read more about the life and works of this amazing artists, visit the Pompeo Mariani Foundation’s website.

Pompeo Mariani, "Il ritorno dei pescatori", 1909, olio su tela - "The Return of the Fishermen", oil on canvas

"The Return of the Fishermen", 1909, oil on canvas

Pompeo Mariani, "Bordighera", 1911, olio su tavola - oil on board

"Bordighera", 1911, oil on board

Pompeo Mariani, "Bordighera", 1915, olio su cartone - oil on cardboard

"Bordighera", 1915, oil on cardboard

Pompeo Mariani, "Mare in burrasca", 1925, olio su tela - oil on canvas

"Stormy Sea", 1925, oil on canvas

Pompeo Mariani, "Pescatori che tirano le reti", tecnica mista su cartone - "Fishermen Pulling up the Nets", mixed technique on cardboard

"Fishermen Pulling up the Nets", mixed technique on cardboard

Pompeo Mariani, "Marina di Bordighera", olio su tela - oil on canvas

"Marina di Bordighera", oil on canvas

Pompeo Mariani, "Inglesine sugli scogli", 1922, olio su cartone

"English Girls on the Rocks", 1922, oil on cardboard

Pompeo Mariani, "Inglesine sugli scogli", 1922, olio su cartone - "English Girls on the Rocks", oil on cardboard

"English Girls on the Rocks", detail

Pompeo Mariani, "Bordighera", olio su tavola - oil on board

"Bordighera", oil on board

Pompeo Mariani, "Paesaggio marino", olio su tavola - "Marine Landscape", oil on board

"Marine Landscape", oil on board

Pompeo Mariani, "Mareggiata", olio su tavola - "Coastal storm", oil on board

"Coastal storm", oil on board

Pompeo Mariani, "Bordighera", olio su tavola - oil on board

"Bordighera", oil on board

Pompeo Mariani, "Tramonto nel porto di Genova", tecnica mista su carta - "Sunset over Genoa's Harbor", mixed technique on paper

"Sunset over Genoa's Harbor", mixed technique on paper

Pompeo Mariani, "L'addio del marinaio", olio su tavola - "The Sailor's Farewell", oil on board

"The Sailor's Farewell", oil on board

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