Studio: international art — 28.1903

Page: 237
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Giovanni Costa


By the death of Giovanni Costa, modern Italian
painting and the artist world of Rome have lost
one of their most noble and characteristic figures.

Costa was one of those survivorsof the great Italian
Risorgimento whose ranks are so rapidly thinning,
one of the men who, from the age of twenty up-
wards, had risked his life on the battlefields and in
the conspiracies which were to give the world a
regenerated Italy, one of those rare minds on whom
personal ambition and interested motives have no
hold, a true artist who loved his art with whole-
hearted passion, as something sacred and pure for
which to work lovingly, patiently, freely; whose
mind was open to every noble and new idea, whose
heart vibrated to every generous emotion.

He was of those artists whose reputation and
importance in the art history of their country will
ever grow as distance allows us to view men and
things in their true proportions. When he first
began working, tracing out for himself an inde-
pendent path, Italian art was at its lowest ebb,
stultified by academic immobility and hide-bound
tradition, vulgarised by commercialism and the
production of stereotyped Italian subjects for
tasteless tourists. If Italy now can boast a
school of young artists wyho have already achieved
much, and whose work is full of promise for the
future, this is largely due to Giovanni Costa. His
influence for good has been incalculable. He

never sought or desired to found a school of
servile imitators ; he never wished to see the in-
dividual hall-mark of character effaced or weakened
in the work of his followers; but he had the
courage to speak out the truth to his fellow-
artists when the truth was bitter and dangerous,
and his patience and kindness in encourag-
ing and helping all in whom he could
perceive talent and a real love of their art were
inexhaustible; and to this his very numerous
followers both in Italy and England can testify.
A study of the other artists belonging to the
Etruscan School founded by him, amongst whom in
England are numbered Lord Carlisle, Sir W. Rich-
mond, Mr. W. F. James, and the late Mr. Ridley Cor-
bett, A.R.A., would afford much interesting matter,
but space forbids us dwelling on this question here.

The work of Giovanni Costa is well-known in
England. He has represented, and more than
worthily represented, modern Italian art in our
country for many years past. He was the intimate
and admired friend of several of our greatest
artists; some of his finest pictures are in the
galleries of English art-lovers; and, in 1899, the
highest honour which could be conferred on a
living artist was conferred on him when his
picture, Risveglio, was purchased by a com-
mittee of great artists and presented to our
National Gallery, being the first picture by a
living artist to be admitted to that collection.
His connection with England was, indeed, still
more intimate, for he himself attributed much of
the direction of his future art-work to the influence


(In the possession of the Rev. Stopford Brooke)
XXVIII. No. 122.—May, 1903.


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