Luigi Conconi - inv. 41
In late 19th-century Milan, Luigi Conconi stood out as a vivacious and versatile artistic personality: with a degree in architecture, he devoted himself to painting, engraving, illustration, music and politics, embracing democratic ideals and sustaining the cause of socialism.
The narrative immediacy of this work is the result of the author’s long experience with illustration. A young nun has climbed a ladder and is leaning over the wall of the convent garden to catch a glimpse of the world from which her monastic retreat excludes her. The branches of a tree with its last autumnal leaves appear behind the high flaking wall, a moving allusion to the fate of the young girl and her youth, destined to fade without being plucked. Similar subjects, found in famous literary precedents of a verist stamp, are not new to certain branches of painting in the second half of the 19th century. Sometimes they are treated in terms of open social condemnation; more often – as in this case – interest lies in the facile sentimental implications they lend themselves to. The short broken lines of the drawing and the colour spread in small multifaceted layers are formal elements deriving from Lombard ‘Scapigliatura’ painting.