Tito, whose work can be found in a group of five pictures in this gallery, has a very pronounced decorative sense, which he employs with great ease in a group of five most excellent pictures. To students of technical procedure his work is worthy of study. His under-painting is done in tempera, and sometimes the complete work, as in the cattle picture, is done in this medium, which, by an application of varnish, is then transformed into an oil. The most interesting pictures in his group of five are the two on the right of his wall. The mythological subjects underlying both canvases have a classic note, but their refreshing colour scheme removes these pictures from any classic affiliation. The woodland scene, enlivened by a few hilarious centaurs pursuing nymphs, is tremendously sure in handling and very gorgeous in the many golden browns and greens which control the colour scheme. The kneeling Venus alongside is unusually alluring in its blue and gold tones, and is one of the really fine pictures in the exhibition. While the Venus and the Centaurs are the backbone of the Italian section, Tito’s “Blue Lady” is very chic and, as a colour arrangement of blue-blacks and flesh colour, most decorative. The canvas in the center, evidently belonging to an older period of the artist, has nothing of the direct method of the accomplished master, although in composition it has a certain bigness. Tito’s art has the full and rich expression of an original personality.
The landscapes in this gallery, of which there are a goodly number, are all typically Italian in their artificiality of colour and in a certain sweetness which makes them lose in one’s estimation the longer one studies them. Clever as they are technically, they do not convince and they do not reflect a thorough knowledge of the spirit of outdoors. All one admires in the Barbizon men — the lyric feeling of a Corot or the more dramatic note of a Rousseau — is missing in the modern Italian landscape as seen in these pictures. They are flippant in their catchy technique and in the absence of any thought.
This room is dominated by three portraits by Antonio Mancini, of unusual cleverness and very fine psychological characterization. Mancini’s work grows on one. While seeming at first rather loose and superficial, these portraits disclose on more intimate study a fine constructive quality. They are not particularly interesting in colour; as a matter of fact they are very monochromatic. Their appeal is based on an intensely serious quality of studious experimentation, which a very sketchy technique cannot hide. To the left of the three Mancinis hangs a simple picture of large proportions called “Maternity,” by Pietro Gaudenzi. This is one of those modern interpretations of the birth of Jesus which appeals by the individualistic note. The picture is sympathetic by reason of its restriction to a few simple facts. No doubt it will fail to receive a wide appreciation, since sociologically any picture of its type disclosing human life under poverty-stricken conditions is rarely approved by the public. Nevertheless one of the greatest of all stories is, with feeling and restraint alike, well rendered on this canvas.