Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna: The Collection

The following article is concerned with the artworks exhibited in the "Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna". It presents early and late collections of the GNAM and refers in its argumentation to the content of other pages, which discuss the context, the arthistoric interpretation and the building of the Galleria separately. This article serves the purpose of description, for an interpretative approach see the respective link below. For a descriptive in-depth discussion of the building's architecture and the cultural context follow the links below:

Main Page: An Art historical interpretation The Context The Building

1. First Collection
2. Current Collection

First Collection

To meet the demands of the International Exhibition of Fine Arts in 1883 art of the time between 1800 and 1883 had been collected and exhibited. The artworks presented included works of late classicism, romanticism and symbolism, exhibiting artists such as Francesco Hayez and his grand paintings of historical scenes, Franz von Stuck, who was immersed with mythological symbolism and Antonio Canova, a sculptor with a preference for objects of Roman mythology. Other artists were more concerned with social questions or the search for truth; Luigi Nono's paintings of poverty and exhaustion among the 'small folks' and Giovacchino Toma, who was particularly concerned with nostalgic depictions of traditional Italian life, are perfect examples. Tranquillo Cremona's depictions of Italian women, who he often displayed as dreamily gazing into a far distance, or Antonio Mancini's depictions street artists.

Antonio Macini: Nel Boudoir

Highly contemporary artists of the first exhibitions were the young rebel-sculptor Medardo Rosso who later revolutionized the work with light and shade in European sculpturing, Giusseppe Pellizza, a painter of highly progressive and socialist motifs and Giacomo Balla, a futurist painter with a strong passion for dynamics, light and "anti-neutrality".

Giacomo Balla: Abstract Speed + Sound

During its early years the collection was a mix of all kinds of approaches in art and sculpturing; however, what catches the eye is the strong emotional investment that is clearly visible in all pieces and the great presence of italian and Roman motives. Just as the young Italian Kingdom itself, the presented works seemed divided in their passionate, but also desperate search for identity - split between the memory of Rome's great past and the realization of the newborn nation-state that was created out of independent kingdoms through the long and difficult process called Risorgimento.

Luigi Nono: Refugium Peccatorum

Current Collection

During the 20th century that followed the first exhibitions of the museum, the collection grew extensively with regard to national, but also international artists; internationally recognized painters such as Cézanne, Klimt, Monet, Pollock and Duchamp are only some examples.

Marcel Duchamp: Bicycle Wheel

Concerning the question of national art and modernity the Galleria presented Italian art of the impressionism, the belle époque, avant-garde, abstractionism, war, expressionism, modernism and pop-art. Prominent Italian artists are impressionist Gino Bonichi "Scipione" and expressionist Renato Guttuso, who both openly opposed the art of the fascist period. The fascist period itself is represented by only very few artists like Gerardo Dottori or Fortunato Depero, who linked their dynamic futurism with fascist motivic. Post-fascist art is reduced to pieces of pop-art and contemporary exhibitions.

Gino Bonichi: Il Ponte di Angeli

Next to the permanent collection the Galleria also hosts temporary exhibitions of famous artists or artists considered to be important. In the long line of exhibitions stand such names as Vincent van Gogh and Andy Warhol or for a more recent example the Italian artist Emilio Isgrò, a critic of the current Italian government and censorship.

Vincent van Gogh: L'Arlesienne