A free-thinker and a multi-faceted artist
Born in Rome, self-taught from apprenticeship to academy, Calori always defended freedom of thought and artistic expression, even though events often went against him – and sometimes dramatically so:
- Around 1910 in Rome, up against the formalism and over-powerful rule of the Roman academy, he shared hardships and hopes with fellow artists such as Balla, Boccioni and Severini. But he never rejected the figurative and the classical canons, striving rather to renew and go beyond them in a modern vision which resulted in sculptures of great power.
- In the ’20s in Florence, confronting the cultural monopoly of author and critic Ugo Oietti, he fought for recognition of those artists who did not enjoy the protection of the then famous director of Corriere della Sera.
- In the 1930s in Rome, he resisted the conformism of the Fascist regime.
This opposition to prevailing authority is one reason why until now his works have not been widely known to the general public. although they pertain to events of the 20th century Italian art, which have been of paramount importance for the formation of first-rate sculptors and artists in general.
Through the teaching that he dedicated a great part of his life to (1917 to 1955), many artists blossomed, including Marino Marini and Luciano Ninguzzi, and writers such as Piero Bargellini.
Shunning success and easy gain, Calori always stuck to his rule of exhibiting only if invited and in official venues. This meant that in certain periods (1913-1919, 1932-1937) he was subjected to proscription and oblivion by the powers that be.
He was sculptor, painter, illustrator, architect, writer on art: alone among the artists he received four prizes from the Academy of San Luca in Rome, two for sculpture and two for his writings on the arts; he was only 17 when he received the first of these awards.
The Museum’s exhibits follow his artistic and cultural development. Many more of his works have been executed on commission and are to be found, if not yet recognised, in Italy (Rome, Florence, Bologna, Orte, Assisi, Naples, Salsomaggiore, Fiuggi, Montecatini, etc), and abroad (London, Washington, Calcutta, etc).
The works in the Museum constitute a tribute to one of the important figures in Italy’s artistic panorama of the first part of the 20th century. They offer a chance to follow the struggle of the artist through his works, in a vivid and singular journey from realisation back to the moment of passionate inspiration.