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Alassio and Riviera of flowers.

Alassio has its famous "Muretto" , decorated with colorful ceramic tiles that have the autographs of famous and immortalized stars from film and theater. Alassio is a small town on the Ligurian sea coast with a well protected and lovely sandy beach.

In the heart of the old town runs the "Budello" , a typical Ligurian alley. In the Middle Ages was the main street. Now is a traffic-free pedestrian zone with numerous boutiques and retailers ( approximately 2 km long lane parallel to the coastline) . Restaurants and organize evening programs for every taste.

Carlo Levi Gallery

Carlo Levi was born into a wealthy upper middle class Jewish family in Turin , on 29 Nov. 1902. From his youth he devoted most of his free time painting , an art form, which he cultivated all his life as his great passion and also earned him considerable success.

In 1917 he enrolled to study medicine at the University of Turin, from which he graduated in 1924. His uncle, the deputy Claudio Treves, presented him to Piero Gobetti, allowing him to work in the editorial office of the magazine La Rivoluzione which invited liberals ("The liberal revolution") and introduced him to Felice Casorati who was at the avant-garde painters of the Turin center .

In this multicultural atmosphere Levi had occasion for contact with people like Cesare Pavese, Giacomo Noventa, Antonio Gramsci, Luigi Einaudi, Edoardo Persico, Lionello Venturi, Luigi Spazzapan. In 1923, he came for the first time in Paris . From 1924 to 1928 he worked as an assistant physician at the University Hospital of Turin, but never practiced as a regular doctor, because he was more interested in journalism and painting. Levi, for his cultural position, in accordance with his ideas, regarded painting as an expression of freedom, not only in form, but also in content contrary to the official art rhetoric that in his opinion, both the fascist regime and the hypocritical modernism of Futurism represented.

Because he belonged to the anti-fascist group Giustizia e Libertà ("Justice and Freedom") was a member, Levi was the Fascist the government imprisoned him in the spring of 1934 for two months in Rome,  and in May 1935 exiled him to the southern Italy in the region of Lucania (now Basilicata ) . There he spent some time in the town Grassano , the time from September 1935 to May 1936 in the village of Aliano . His memories of the exile became world famous through his book translated into 37 languages: Cristo si è fermato a Eboli (" Christ Stopped at Eboli ", 1945). After 1936 ahead of a general amnesty from he was released by the fascist state to celebrate the capture of Addis Abeba, Levi went into exile and took over the leadership from Paris of the group Giustizia e Libertà ("Justice and Freedom").

In 1945 Einaudi published the book a Cristo si è fermato a Eboli . Levi denounces in it the inhumane living conditions of rural population for which neither the central government in Rome, nor the modern world seemed interested in and where not even organized Christianity  was more than a superstition among many others. The success of the novel overshadowed his painterly oeuvre. His works are essential to achieve more rigorous and the doctrine of Modigliani and a concise personal realism.

After the Second World War Levi's journalistic activities continued.

In 1954, he committed to the neorealist group and took part in the Biennale in Venice.

In 1963 he began political activity, with the aim of addressing social problems and to recognize the general decline of the country, and the desire to change the widespread paralysis of the policy that served vasted interests even illegally .  He was selected as the candidate of the Communist Party in the Senate for two legislatures .

Carlo Levi died on 4 January 1975 in a Rome hospital from pneumonia . According to his express testamentary wish he was buried in the cemetery of Aliano , where he had promised
to return.


Carlo Levi and his Alassio
"... While quietly passing boats at sunset on the quiet green-and pink-colored water, and heat flows out of the stone, which seemed impossible and already forgotten. The summer is back, warm and serene, the air is blue sky, and I can finally start painting. "*


* These and other quotations are from Carissimo puck , Mancosu editore, Rome 1994

If one looks up from the view of Piazza San Francesco, one can see the hills painted by Levi, the sparse pine forest and left, between two palm trees, the villa and the large window of his study. Father Ercole had bought the villa in the mid 20's. By the end of the century spent Annetta Treves, Levi's mother, as young girl, had spent her summer vacation between Alassio and Laigueglia. The land was densely covered: On the old-backed stone walls, terraces grew olive trees, grapevines, peach, fig, almond, orange and lemon trees, pumpkins, melons, tomatoes and any kind of vegetables, thanks to the work of farm families with their plow oxen, mules, cows, sheep, rabbits and chickens. They were tenant farmers or sharecroppers, some were local, others came from Calabria, Sicily and Sardinia.

Hundred meters above sea level, was at the entrance to the garden of the villas two lions made ​​of clay, a table made ​​of slate, orange wooden chairs, tall yellow vase, a hammock and a modeled Gianduja clay (Gianduja is a joker part of many folkloric events in the City of Turin ), the father of Levi, who worked not only as a textile trader for a Scottish company but also painted himself had modeled. The flowers, fruit and hunting frescoes that adorn the villa in Alassio, are his work. There he eventually moved with his legendary dog Barone (Carlo brought from the exile) had to die there in 1939 at one of the first days of war.

In the early thirties is a very personal artistic language Levis style: that material, winding caressing, circular brush stroke.

The olive and carob trees, the rocks in the pine forest, Cape Mele Background: The Alassio the universe, the Levi during a half-century in more than 2000 paintings have painted (or "created as God created" better).

A seemingly unmoving landscape, a kind of paradise on earth , "juvenile jungle, full of insects, animals, children, leaves, crickets, sand" (as described in 1959), in which the realities of history, even the wars and persecutions, the personal problems, love, sadness, loneliness, are present, however, adjusted for all non-essential aspects.

The mid-'60s until his last summer (1974), Levi the carob trees of Alassio painted. There are often huge paintings can walk between them is a compilation of two to four screens to a plastic representation in natural size. This tree trunks, Levi given a name , often to the figures of mythology, literature or simply to Animals recalls.

Let us return to the hill of Levi and let us seize on his words:

"The night is a marvel of quiet sounds of night birds, a slight breeze in the treetops and a distant dog barking, and the moon makes my few square small square in the pine forest mysterious and infinite, where I paint and every branch and every tree trunk is my friends and known me. "

 

Art Gallery and Historical Collection of Carlo Levi in ​​the renovated Palazzo Morteo,

Via Gramsci, No. 58, Alassio (SV)
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