Quinto Martini

Born in 1908, near Florence, Quinto Martini starts early to “ knead mire” moulding “statuettes, horses and entire battles” and to “dirty with charcoal and colours”, without knowing that “there were artists and what art was like”, as he recounts in a self-presentation.The discovery of art and artists occurs in 1926, when he introduces himself to Ardengo Soffici in order to show him four works. It was a significant meeting which changes his life and opens him to the knowledge of the Italian and European contemporary art. In February 1927, at the first exhibition of “Il Selvaggio”, next to the works by Mino Maccari, Carlo CarrÓ, Ottone Rosai, Giorgio Morandi, Achille Lega and his Master, Quinto Martini’s paintings appear as well. 

He enters the intellectual and artistic life of Florence when he is very young, so he has the chance of knowing even the environment of Torino, spending time during the military service with Felice Castrati, Cesare Pavese and the group of the “Six” from Torino, interpreters of an antifascist culture which aimed at the great lesson of French painting, from Manet to CÚzanne, and was quite far from the rustic environment of Florence. Once permanently back in Florence, he recoups the contacts with Soffici, concentrating his interest in sculpture, art with which he gains the favour of critics.

In 1934 he makes his debut at the Venice Biennial, with “La Seanese”, extraordinary synthesis of his natural flair for the essentiality of things which will lead him to an expressive and anti-academic form and at the same time to the choice of poor materials like clay and stone river, looking for the same simplicity of results in bronze as well. Therefore, Quinto Martini, introduced to art by Ardengo Soffici, undertakes his own path to certain archaisms of Etruscan sculpture, while the stylistic evolution of the author occurs later through the experimentation of nine-centuries artistic languages. 

His works, reproduced on “Il Selvaggio”, “Il frontespizio and “Il Contemporaneo”, have been the proof of the artist’s participation in a wider cultural happening engaging the literary sphere and its relations with poets and writers, according to tradition in Tuscany, incentivised by the “Civilisation of reviews”. In second post war period, he joins the movement “New Humanism” with Giovanni Colacicchi, Oscar Gallo and others, and constantly attends the major Italian Artistic manifestations, among which all the editions of the Rome Quadriennale. Next to some significant personal exhibition, it is worth remembering his participation in important unions in Italy and abroad. From the sixties to 1977, Quinto Martini teaches Culture at the Academy for Fine Arts of Florence.  

The artistic activity of Quinto Martini is definitely intense until a few days before his death, occurred on November 9, 1990. Among his major realisations, we should remember the cycle of the low relieves dedicated to the theme of Rain (exhibited in 1978 in a personal exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence); the cycle of low relieves and lithographes dedicated to the Divine Comedy (shown in different occasions in Italy and abroad); the portraits of famous characters of the cultural and artistic world of Florence (exhibited in 1992 at Gabinetto Viesseux of Florence); last but not least the Museum Park in Seano, which houses 36 bronze sculpture among the most representative in its work. 
The literary work by Quinto is relevant as well; in fact, he wrote two novels “The days are long” and “The Fearful Goes to War”, other tales and poems, published in 2002 by Le Lettere in Poesie a Colori, together with the images proposed by the artist as a visual comment on the poetic text.

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