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Aligi Sassu, Milanmarker (Italymarker), (July 17, 1912 - Pollençamarker (Majorcamarker),July 17, 2000) was an Italian painter and sculptor.
Cavallo Impennato from 1969 in Milan


Aligi Sassu was born in Milan, Lombardy, into a Sardinian-origin family. His father Antonio was one of the founders of the Italian Socialist Party (Partito Socialista Italiano) at Sassarimarker in 1894, and had moved to Milan in 1896, where he had married Lina Pedretti in 1911. At the beginning of 1920, the Sassu family moved back to Sardinia to Thiesimarker, where Antonio opened a shop. After three years, the family returned to Milanmarker, where Aligi got interested into arts. Together with friend and Futurist designer Bruno Munari, he decided to present himself to the Futurism leader Filippo Tommaso Marinetti.

In 1928 he established, along with Bruno Munari, the Manifesto della Pittura (Painting Manifesto), taking as basic assumption the display of anti-naturalistic forms. He deeply studied Diego Velazquez and the plastic nude. Of this period is L'Ultima cena, a painting that sums up Sassu's visual poetic.

In 1930 in Milan, he met Giacomo Manzù, Giandante X (also known as Dante Persico) and Giuseppe Gorgerino. In 1934, Sassu started studying Delacroix and the history paintings of the Louvremarker in Parismarker. In this period he also painted what will be his "logo" in the future, the horse, omnipresent in his future production.

In 1935, he established the Gruppo Rosso with, among others, Nino Franchina and Vittorio Della Porta. In 1936, he finished one of his most known paintings Il Caffè, as well as the Fucilazione nelle Asturie, painted in favour of the Spanish resistance.

After the Spanish Civil War, he started studying Vincent Van Gogh and moved back to Sardinia for some time. During this period, several paintings were dedicated to the Sardinian rural life. He also studied mural Paintinmg.

In 1963, he moved to the Balearic Islands, to Cala San Vicente then to Majorcamarker, to the village of Pollensamarker, Palmamarker, Spainmarker. In 1967, the cycle Tauromachie was presented by the Spanish poet Rafael Alberti. Red became Sassu's favourite color. In 1976, he worked for the frescos of Sant'Andrea in Pescaramarker.

In 1964 the Spanish period begins, Sassu buys a house in Majorca in Cala San Vicente. There is where the artist's so called new youth starts, as Dino Buzzati had written.Sassu focuses on Tauromachie and on landscapes of the island, besides the mythological theme which is now reviewed and deepened by using a new technique, acrylic. This allows him to create bright and lively colours, like the ones he finds in Majorca, considered by the master as a second Sardinia.From this year on he lives between Majorca and Italy, where in 1967 he moves to Monticello Brianzamarker.In 1973 he creates scenes and costumes of Vespri Siciliani for the reopening of Teatro Regio in Turin and he is dedicated a room in the Gallery of Modern Art in Vatican City.In 1976 he completes two mosaics for Saint Andrea in Pescara and in 1977 his works are shown in Rotterdam, Toronto, and Majorca, where he leaves Cala San Vicente and moves to Can Marimon in Pollença.

In 1982 he receives the acknowledgment “The men who made Milan great” and presents his fifty eight watercolours he had made in 1943 as an illustration to Promessi Sposi.In 1984 a hundred and eleven works are shown in an anthological display at Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara. The exhibition is then transferred to Rome in Castel Sant'Angelo.During that year another important anthological is presented in Palazzo Reale in Milan, with two hundred seventy two works.Other exhibitions take place in Seville and Germany, the following year in Madrid and Canada, where an itinerant show on his Promessi Sposi travels in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.In 1986 there are exhibitions in Palma, at the Rome XI Quadriennale, the Milan Triennial and at the House of Mantegna in Mantova. He completes the hundred and thirteen works on Divina Commedia, three of which are purchased by the Puskin Museum of Moscow.Bayer Munich hosts a large anthological with works from 1927 to 1985.In 1992, eighty paintings compose an itinerant display in South America which travels between San Paulo, Bogota and Buenos Aires.In 1993 he completes Miti del Mediterraneo, a ceramic mural of 150 square meters for the new building of the European Parliament in Brussels.The following year he presents Manuscriptum, a folder with engravings shown in Sweden at the itinerant exhibition “The bridges by Leonardo”.In 1995 he shows at the Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art in Bergamo and he is nominated Cavaliere della Gran Croce by the Italian president.In 1996 three hundred sixty two works created between 1927 and 1996 are donated to the city of Lugano, that is how the Aligi Sassu and Helenita Olivares Foundation is created.On July 17th, 1999, the day of the artist's eighty seventh birthday, a big anthological display is opened in Palazzo Strozzi in Florence.

On March 31st, 2000 Besana in Brianza Italymarker, hosts the Cultural Association Amici dell'Arte di Aligi Sassu.

He died on his birthday, in 2000, at Pollensa. A considerable number of his masterpieces can be found in Luganomarker, Switzerlandmarker, at the Aligi Sassu and Helenita Olivares Foundation.

On December 14th, 2005 the Italian President, Prof. Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, conferred to the master the first class merit diploma (gold medal) for school, culture and art for 2005, an acknowledgement given to those engaged and recognized in the field of Education, School, University and Research and, in more general terms, in the spread and elevation of culture.

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