Franco Bresciani was born in Rovato (Brescia, Italy) the
19th September of 1944, where he lives and he works.
Franco Brescianini, now in his fifties, has an important career
as an artist behind him already. His biography, unfortunately
not up-to-date, informs us that he has won prizes in prestigious
national and international competitions, indicating that he
enjoys prestige and recognition on the contemporary international
This is a result of his unflagging commitment to his search
for an ever-new mode of expression and an evermore complex
discourse: complex but at the same time having an immediate
appeal to his public.The search is within his own psyche and
intellect for motives of human urgency and intuitive speculation.
He says of himself briefly but clearly and expressively: "In
my pictures I am not interested in reproducing what I see.
I have always been creative. I am inspired by artists like
Francis Bacon and Egon Schiele and I consider myself linked
to the style of German expressionism even though I re-elaborate
it in a personal way".
This is the beginning of a longer discourse which we shall
take up. following the stages of his intense variegated career.
Let us underline the fact that he has managed to sketch his
own artistic portrait in this brief quotation, summing up
the sources and intentions of his art.
As his first objective he has always had the research for
originality, both of sign and expression. At the same time
he has kept himself within the bounds of a tradition, the
marks of which are modernity.
These premises cannot be eliminated from an art which is not
simply intended as evasion or dream, but as life re-lived
in the intimacy of the self and connected by underlying messages
to the time and society of which it is a vital part. The path
trodden by the artist Brescianini appears dynamic, variegated,
open to all experiences (particularly that of music) which
have ended up inevitably as part of his predominant pictorial
Born in a village in the Brescia area, the artist grew up
in a large, patriarchal family which imbued him with the cult
of moral values and the virtues of the obstinate, solid country
folk. Those of bygone days naturally. His father was a tailor,
or rather, he ran a tailoring shop and while still a child.
Franco used to dedicate his time to his irrepressible flair
for drawing and aesthetic research by proposing "exclusive
models" which were then made up in the workshop with
success. So by his own admission Brescianini started off as
a dress designer, a brief moment in his career, since, as
soon as it was possible, he dedicated himself entirely to
the only activity which suited him and to which he seemed
pre-destined, painting. But let us listen his own extremely
expressive words describing that experience: "As a boy
I was a dress designer for some years. Then I abandoned this
profession to dedicate my time entirely to painting. Even
though I have attended some lessons I can call myself a self-taught
painter. As a young man I used to draw landscapes then I dedicated
myself to figurative art and especially the female image".
This is an extremely expressive synthesis of his richly multiform
activity which we shall now try to trace and illustrate. So
the young Brescianini began his real artistic career as a
landscape painter about 30 years ago and the catalogues of
views of mountain valleys, sunny spreads of fields, simple
or patrician dwellings emerging from a pearl aura of grey,
sometimes changing sometimes crumbling and mediated by shadows
of the brush stroke: the sum of which, though glancing at
the past, through the contrast of the planes, the tones, the
technical means expresses itself in contemporary, avant-garde
terms (Mario Pistone).
In that period (until half-way though the seventies) Brescianini
was mostly occupied with the theme of Still Lifes, reaching
effects of extreme vivacity and managing to avoid the reproduction
of pieces usual to that genre by composing webs in which the
"spectral whiteness of bones support congeries of invented
objects knowingly confused yet harmonized into an involved
unity of tones".
At the same time as the Still Lifes, different forms of human
figures begin to make their appearance in Brescianini's paintings,
peopling the abstract worlds of his polymorphous elaborations.
So we find faces with their outlines reduced to bare essentials,
figures partly robotized but still not bereft of that human
afflatus which will inevitably be present in all his future
works because it is part of the artist's personality. However
even in these first apocalyptic works full of youthful vigour
and hypervitality, the graceful note of a flower or some feminine
decoration" is never lacking to add a graceful touch
to the desolately arid atmosphere which brings to mind, apprehensively,
the shadows of a society in which moral degradation runs riot
with progressive and inevitable fatality.
Inevitably the intimate indignation which is prompted by this
degradation, the rancorous, desolate pessimism which he takes
to himself, are destined to be alleviated only by the passage
of time although they are still present, either partially
concealed, or fully intuitable in his most recent works.
And his female figures, phantoms of a past that also stands
for "a better time", appear as "pretexts for
an artist whose appearance is introvert, but whose temperament
often breaks out into an exuberance of thematic concerns,
with a fine tonal consciousness and an equilibrium in his
disposition of volumes inside the pictorial space, volumes
which exemplify a type of maturity consonant to his enviable,
still youthful age" (Mario Pistone).
The period of Brescianini's novitiate did not last long: the
young artist full of talent soon found his own way and convinced
others too. and here we refer to his family circle which was
at the beginning, rather diffident as regards his vocation
"with the look askance of those with their feet firmly
on the ground" because he was convinced that that and
only that, could be his way.
And little by little, without abandoning the indications given
by the Old Masters whom he felt to be closest to. and having
encountered affinities with German expressionism, he commenced
from that style which he intended to use as counterpoint to
the serene colouristic vision of the Impressionists: an art
which was opposition to a bourgeois society and a dramatic
expression of the subjective inner world of the artist. Above
all in this sense of psychological research and intimate discovery,
the progressive evolution of Brescianini's painting has evolved.
Nor has he forgotten, but has continually re-proposed in re-elaborated
images, the accentuated formal deformations and the chromatic
contrasts of the paintings of Munch.
Perhaps, taking up an observation made by a critic who we
have not been able to identify, the stylistic references present
in his most recent works is of cubist-futurist matrix with
an accentuated tendency to give his forms a vitality like
Boccioni's. In his Personal exhibition the canvasses on show
at the Galleria Cortina (Milano) give an impression of images
ever in motion, moved by an internal force which tends to
disarrange, but which maintains a solid figurative reference.
"The design tautens and vibrates, sometimes almost convulsively
and yet it manages to retain an extremely firm potentiality,
while the colours blend into liquid streaks of white which
become more compact in his harmonious tonalities of ochres
and greys, put into evidence by blood-red brushstrokes".
These paintings whose titles include the extremely expressive
"Volata" and "Tentativo di evasione" are
part of a section of the exhibition titled by the artist himself
as "L'ultima fetta (il potere)" wherein he appears
to be inspired by the contemporary vicissitudes of political
life and by technological progress.
These works of great expressive power and undeniable suggestion
implicate us in the underlying discourse of social accusation
and desire to evade. But next to this group of "committed"
canvasses, in a different sector of the show, the theme dearest
to Brescianini. the female figure, inevitably appears. It
appears in a series of nudes done in a. by now. constantly
adopted and very personal technique which is enhanced by a
lightly veiled chromatism which allows modern figurations
of the highest level to emerge.
So aesthetic value, captivating gracefulness, harmony of the
lines that trace sinuous curves and hint at suffering firmly
and chastely hidden behind lowered eyelids in order not to
disturb the dream of mysterious and persuasive beauty, modern
yet as old as art itself.
And behind the disturbing, almost mystical figures, silent
vet which seem to tell mysterious stories, the landscapes
are notable, always immersed in a romantically soffused atmosphere
where the colour choice appears vast and extremely calibrated.
A landscape in which reality lives together with the ideal
and the imagination gives support to the real, letting it
be understood that to paint means to "express through
colour" one's own spiritual intuitions.
It is precisely through the couple "image-colour"
that Franco Brescianini reveals his attentive aesthetic research,
his authentically artistic temperament, able even today to
propose themes from the recent and distant past in a lyrical
and "appassionata" key but with an absolutely modern
tension and emotional vibration.
This derives from the fact that "the sign being born
of a hackneyed module vibrates, tautens, springs and at the
same time conserves its very firm potentiality while the colour
plays in liquid streaks of whites, melting into subtle tonal
Gian Piero Rabuffi