Giovanni Cavazzon’s Romantic Realism
the works by Giovanni Cavazzon colour and drawings have an
alluring power all of their own. The psychological and
architectural ambiences of modern society are represented by the
artist with utmost precision.
Cavazzon’s paintings bear
witness to the diverse inspirational phases of his life. From
“Intorno a Venus / Around Venus” where worship for the female
body is paralleled to that of the Goddess of Love with those
cerulean, rosy and ivory coloured nudes (which are also the titles
of a few other works), where drawings, proportions and colours
become the most salient and distinctive features of this Friulan
In the works by Cavazzon classical art
representations can often be found in modern installations. Images
are placed in wood crates, as if packed away, in which green or
blue-coloured polystyrene is strewn to create a seaside effect
(“Venere al Bagno / Venus Bathing”), a meadow effect
(“Colazione sull’Erba / Breakfast on the lawn”), and the
audacious works of “Apollo e Dafne / Apollo and Daphne” and
“Paride e Afrodite / Paris and Aphroditis” where sculptures
carved in wood stand out against the crated painting.
drawings in graphite or coloured pencil lead us into Leonardo’s
universe of the human figure and Michelangelo’s creation of the
Even in his portraits Cavazzon becomes the “reflection
of his subject’s soul” through which the true essence of their
This is the difference between a portrait and
pure and simple photography, between our “inner” and “outer”
The cycle of the “Baccanti / Bacchantes” takes
shape with the apotheosis of the “Baccante / Bacchante” on the
bottom of a seventeenth century barrel and with “Le Baccanti e
l’uva / The Bacchantes and the grapes”.
Cavazzon’s personal style comes out not only in the shapes and
structures of his paintings but also in the contents and
Cavazzon has taken painting to the limits of reality
through the use of conventional motives and techniques
embellishing them with personal and innate facets that lure the
observer inside the scene and involve them emotionally.
has to penetrate deep into a subject to be able to reconsider them
and Cavazzon does this by grasping all of their fundamental traits
thus bringing out his romantic conception of art.
It is not
by pure chance that the artistic process of Cavazzon presses on
motives of classicism and romanticism. The reason behind the
subject matter in his paintings tells us it is impossible to
transmit beauty to an “object” without an “expressionist”
participation on its behalf.
Cavazzon is an artist of refined
purity in his shapes, with a natural ability in representing the
sacred and the profane.
His cultural components burrow
deep into Renaissance art. His attitude, in terms of convictions
and poetics, is that of a studio artist who goes to his “workshop”
every day (as in days gone by) and punctually, like a goldsmith,
does his work.
Not only does Cavazzon paint what he truly
sees out in the world but he also captures the spirit, a smile, a
subtle puff of air, the inner light or the darkness. He can grasp
the essence of the subject.
There is not doubt about the
innovative force of Cavazzon’s pictorial act. All his cultural
and spiritual education is an appeal to Mittel-European positivism
where the supreme aim of his paintings is not only that of
representing objects but of expressing ideas, and translating them
into a personal and emotive language.
In his drawings, where
the artist’s ability cannot avoid criticism, Cavazzon is among
the few in Italy with a natural ability to sketch, with an
unyielding sense of perception, whose esthetic solutions in the
expression of lines, in the metric sense of light and colour, is
full of classical romanticism. Within him lies the pure strength
of shapes set in a space of contained solemnity. Cavazzon seeks
and finds depth through the prospective result of proportions,
through the method of rigid plasticity which may at first appear
neoclassical, but which in actuality is a rigorous attitude,
between the expert ploy of new and old rhythms, harmony in curves
and colours that bring out the rotundities and ovals of the faces
and portraits, jealously sheltering the models from time and
The nudes by Cavazzon evoke emotions without a sense
of breathlessness. The nudes are chaste, never vulgar, sensual and
never sexual or erotic, but often heroic. They are the
purification of sentiments, the evocation of life and nature. They
may be read as a summons not to separate the work of art from its
creator who seems to permeate with the history of thirteenth
century Tuscan paintings right through to seventeenth century
Venice, from the impressionists to Italian expressionism and
The authentic artist is thus born, born from
the most simple things. Ideas will follow from the confrontation
of these things. An act of love with the world bears works of art.
As is the need to live longer by taking an image and thus freezing
a portion of time and making it last longer than the life of the
Cavazzon is a profound connoisseur of the
nude in the history of art. From Botticelli to the Daughters
Rodin, from Coubert to the pompous nudes by Renoir, from the
delicate nudes by Degas to the sensual nudes by Modigliani. He has
studied them all in depth before dwelling on the female human body
his way with his own personal art. He sees the body as the
synthesis between beauty and harmony, a body “without defects”,
paying attention to those classical measures, to those Greek
canons which expressionism or the trans-avant-gardes have
abandoned to give room to a representation of the body which is
not fearful of showing what it really looks like, suggesting
sensuality, but which also unveils anxiety and anguish. A quest
for an esthetic ideal and the acceptation of one’s real body, a
continual tension which not even art can resolve.
of changing values and vanishing certainties, the nude body is the
only fact that remains unchanged in our existence. It is the means
through which the world relates and a source of obsession for many
But not so for Giovanni Cavazzon, who has made the
artistic nude his personal way of doing art, staging the nude to
bring an act to life, bodies that provoke and which at times are
exhibited for the sole purpose of arousing desire in order to
touch off anxieties that leave something behind.
images which Cavazzon has produced and nurtured bear witness to
his extraordinary capacity of investigation well beyond the human
body and soul, free from moral judgements or conformism, but
extremely and psychologically penetrating.
All one needs to
do is observe the faces and the attitudes of a few of his works
such as “Paride and Aphroditis” and “Apollo and Daphne” to
find acceptance in the first and refusal in the latter (hands
which attract and reject).
It is here that the true artist
can be found. Like a theatre director who does not miss the
importance of a gesture or facial expression which are basic
And lastly, the origin of Giovanni
Cavazzon’s painting lies in naturalism which took root across
all of northern Italy. This style started with Caravaggio and
lasted straight through to Giacomo Ceruti.
We have before us
an artist who is headed towards the fourth millennium and with him
a representation worthy of our grandest artistic traditions.