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Ettore Tito. Tra simbolo e magia

by Rosanna Nobilitato

Talking about Ettore Tito’s works, Ugo Ojetti says: “Healthy and serene, his art ignores ugliness”
An innate technical ability, the happy ‘exception’ to his style, the rare virtuosity of the views and the effects of light, the vivacity of the colour and the choice of subjects always in the open air, have given the work of Ettore Tito an unmistakable prestige. Born in Castellammare di Stabia on December 17, 1859, in 1867 he went to Venice where he attended the Academy of Fine Arts, graduating in 1876. He attended the Circolo Artistico together with Giacomo Favretto, Luigi Serena and Alessandro Milesi, and was a brotherly friend of the Dutch painter Cecil van Haanen in Venice, whom he met in 1873. Starting in 1895, he held the chair of figure drawing at the Venetian academy and later successfully completed the school of life drawing, attended by students such as Amedeo Modigliani and Umberto Boccioni. He attended the annual exhibitions of the Academy of Milan until the end of the century. His name is strongly linked to the Venetian Biennales, as well as important exhibitions held in Paris, Berlin, Munich, Buenos Aires, San Francisco.

In Le Ondine, il mare – exhibited at the third Venice biennial in 1899 – the influence of the French fin de siécle symbolism of Gustav Moreau and Pierre Puvis de Chavannes is evident. What distinguishes his style is a soft and vibrant light, which transports the mythological subject into a happy limbo between reality and dream, where the figures float in a fantastic space that transcends the sensitive perception to become graceful living matter.