By Anne Leader

Renato Guttuso died on 18 January in 1987 in Rome. He was 75. Born near Palermo, Guttuso started painting working for a family friend decorating carts with images of the Norman conquest of Sicily. He studied under Futurist Pippo Rizzo but briefly attended law school before turning full time to an artistic career. He divided his time between Palermo, Milan, and Rome before settling there in 1937. He exhibited with anti-fascist artists, and political themes found their way into his work. His Crucifixion won a prize in 1942, which caused public outrage. The church condemned its female nudity; the public disliked its bold denunciation of oppression. Guttuso also became known for less controversial still-life paintings. Throughout his career, Guttuso was inspired by Old Masters including Rosso Fiorentino, Francisco de Zurbarán, and Francisco Goya, as well as modernists like Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso.

Reference: Demelza Spargo. “Guttuso, Renato.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press.

Crucifixion, oil on canvas, 1941 (Rome, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna); © 2007 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SIAE, Rome, photo credit: Scala/Art Resource, NY

Sulphur Miners, watercolor on paper, 1949 (London, Tate), © DACS, 2002

Portrait, 1956

Gott mit Uns, 1944 (Rome, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna)

Still life with Coffee pot

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