Antonio Ligabue

Antonio Ligabue (Zurich 1899 - Gualtieri 1965) was an Italian painter and sculptor, among the most important Naive Art artists of the XX century. His art is chacterized by the force of the rural world that Ligabue came from and by the instinct of his madness.

 

Antonio Ligabue, whose real surname is Laccabue, was born in Switzerland in Zurich on 18 December 1899. Son of an Italian emigrant, he was given up for adoption to a Swiss-German family who entrusted him in turn to an Institute for difficult children from where he was expelled at sixteen. Wild, unpredictable for his relationship with the world and reality, he was considered mad all his life. Expelled in handcuffs from Switzerland on complaint by his adoptive mother, he was routed to Italy, to Gualtieri, the paternal city. He worked until 1929 on the banks of the Po river, living like a savage in the woods and floodplains. At that time he began to paint and sculpt with clay more assiduously. In 1937, 1940 and 1945 he was interned in the Psychiatric Hospital of S. Lazzaro in Reggio Emilia for his irascible and violent character and for a "manic-depressive psychosis". In 1961 official recognition finally began, with an exhibition in Rome and a large anthology in Guastalla. Following a paresis Ligabue found himself immobile in a bed, while the fame of his works began to acquire a national dimension. He died at the Carri di Gualtieri hospitalization on May 27, 1965.
His madness was only his instinctive and authentic being in life, as in his being a painter.

Antonio Ligabue, whose real surname is Laccabue, was born in Switzerland in Zurich December 18, 1899. Son of an Italian emigrant, he was given up for adoption to a Swiss-German family who entrusted him in turn to an Institute for difficult children from where he was expelled at sixteen. Wild, unpredictable for his relationship with the world and reality, he was considered mad all his life. Expelled in handcuffs from Switzerland on complaint by his adoptive mother, he was routed to Italy, to Gualtieri, the paternal city. He worked until 1929 on the banks of the Po river, living like a savage in the woods and floodplains. At that time he began to paint and sculpt with clay more assiduously. In 1937, 1940 and 1945 he was interned in the Psychiatric Hospital of S. Lazzaro in Reggio Emilia for his irascible and violent character and for a "manic-depressive psychosis". In 1961 official recognition finally began, with an exhibition in Rome and a large anthology in Guastalla. Following a paresis Ligabue found himself immobile in a bed, while the fame of his works began to acquire a national dimension. He died at the Carri Hospital in Gualtieri May 27, 1965.

During his entire life he was mainly considered as a madman. Now everybody knows that Antonio Ligabue was one of the greatest painters of all time.

 

 

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