Visions from the North

By Isis Wozniakowska (California State University in Florence)

I happened upon the Visions of the North exhibit at Museo Novecento the other week and I did end up enjoying it quite a lot. It doesn’t cost much more to gain access to the exhibit, (I believe for students it was something like €1 more to add it on to the ticket). So, even though it is a very small display of works, it is worth having a look. I did like that it was all paintings, since the rest of the museum is very varied with the kinds of works it has. Being a museum of modern art, it has many new mediums in it that have only been available in since the late 19th century. Most the pieces in Visions of the North, however, were landscape paintings of both Nordic and Italian cities (as well as a few other random European cities) during various times of the year. Although, there were one or two portraits much like this one here:

I will say I thought a few of the pieces were a little too strange and stylized for my tastes, but they definitely reflect a lot of modern art so they feel like they’re in the right place there. What is the most intriguing part is that the artist, Konrad Mägi is the first modern painter from Estonia and so he has several cities that he has painted that are uncommon locations for people to see. There were several from Sweden, Finland, and I think even a few from Norway. There were also a good collection of Italian landscapes painted which helped them feel more in place over at Museo Novecento. For example, here we have a painting of Venice:

I will say, if you’re not a big fan of modern art, like I’m not it may not be worth coming to see the exhibit alone. Because while it might only be €2 to go see it, the entire Visions from the North paintings show is only two rooms. The paintings are lovely but there unfortunately isn’t an incredible amount of value to going out of your way to see them alone, unless you’ve already been through the Novecento then by all means go see this on its own.

I did enjoy the collection, though. The artist’s use of color and techniques fascinated me. And the most interesting part is that one painter managed to capture the uniqueness of each city since there were no two paintings there that looked alike.

He also represents parts of places not commonly shown, as I believe this is a landscape painting of Paris.

I’m no expert on art, especially not modern art so I can’t tell you much beyond what the museum summary gives in what exactly his techniques and historical significances are art wise. But, I will say if you have a liking for modern art, especially paintings, this exhibit is currently the best part of the entire Museo Novecento, in my humble opinion. It is fun just to see how he reveals parts of cities less seen by most people, and especially by most travelers.

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