As heatwaves become more commonplace in Abruzzo, who best manages to capture the feeling of inescapable heat when the temperatures nudge 40 C in the shade.
I adore this ‘Edge of Abruzzi’ by the British Slade School artist and feminist Winifred Knights (1899-1947). She lived for a period in Rome where she was heavily influenced by artists of the early 14th century Renaissance artists, most notably Piero della Francesca whose monumental figures, low tones, and short, flattened perspectives she so admired. She was of the belief that ‘hidden beauty is best (half seen), faces turned away’ which can be seen across all her work.
The painting is of the views from Lago di Piediluco, Umbria which used to look out to Abruzzo before Mussolini’s 1927 changes in regional borders, but one so could easily envisage this now up at Lago Campotosto. It was here that she had honeymooned in 1924, but the painting is dated 1930. The feeling that of those mountains locking us down in an oppressive heat, feeling unclimbable conveying a belief that we aren’t going anywhere soon is captured in her painting.
Winifred was a Prix de Rome winner with her piece ‘The Deluge‘ owned by London’s Tate Gallery, for more info on her works have a look at The Guardian reviewed her retrospective work at Dulwich Gallery.
Edge of Abruzzi – Provenance: French Gallery 1931; Stephen Courtauld, 1931; thence by descent until 2007; Private Collection