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The tears of war by Giovanni Battista Costantini

Le lacrime di guerra di Giovanni Battista Costantini-Foto: sito ufficiale della Galleria d’arte Ponti

The exhibition at the Ponti Art Gallery, in the historic centre, presents the works that Giovanni Battista Costantini exhibited at the first Roman Biennale in 1921; it is part of the approximately 45 canvases of the Tears of war series, painted in the years between 1915 and 1921, in which the artist represented the horrors and most dramatic aspects of the First World War.

Given his age in fact, the painter did not participate in the conflict as a soldier but, following the example of his teacher and friend Giulio Aristide Sartorio, he closely observed what was happening at the front, and was shocked. At the beginning Costantini did not want to participate in the Biennial, given the opposition of the nationalists - who were very close to the government at the time - who had accused him of defeatism; and in fact, the painter was accused of defeatism even by some members of the organizing committee, due to the harshness of some scenes of life at the front represented in the paintings, so much so that he was forced to withdraw some canvases from the exhibition. Despite this, it was a great public success and one of the paintings, The Spy, won the First Prize of the Biennale, guaranteeing Costantini unexpected fame, which brought him important commissions. Among these, a large altarpiece of the Sacred Heart of Jesus for the Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo (which houses the masterpieces of Caravaggio, Annibale Carracci, Bernini, Raphael and other great artists).

About twenty of those works, among those presented at the Roman Biennale, were found by the gallerist Alessio Ponti who decided to put them on display, to raise awareness of the work of this artist who is now almost completely forgotten.

Giovanni Battista Costantini (Rome 1872 – 1947), trained almost self-taught with the sole guidance of a choreographer, Alessandro Bazzani, from whom he inherited the taste for decoration, soon turned, in the footsteps of Giulio Aristide Sartorio, towards a painting en plein air, characterized by an in-depth knowledge of the rural landscape and the peasant life of the Roman countryside, thanks to which he became part of The XXV Group of the Roman Countryside. During the Great War he painted a series of canvases entitled Tears of War, in which he described the tragedy of the conflict with great realism.

The exhibition catalog is edited by Maurizio Berri, scholar of the XXV Group of the Roman Countryside.

Photo credits: courtesy of the Ponti Art Gallery official site


depuis 10 Mai 2024 à 8 Juin 2024
POINT (12.4683791 41.897262)
Mobile phone: 
335 5364897
Web site: 

Dal 10 maggio all’8 giugno 2024

Inaugurazione giovedì 9 maggio alle ore 18.00
Dal lunedi al sabato dalle ore 10.00 alle 13.00 e dalle ore 16.30 alle 20.00
Domenica chiuso

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Le lacrime di guerra di Giovanni Battista Costantini, Via di Monserrato, 8-9
Via di Monserrato, 8-9
41° 53' 50.1432" N, 12° 28' 6.1644" E

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