On 29 April 1972, Juti (Luigi) Ravenna, an excellent artist and attentive art critic, died in Treviso. More than fifty years after his death, the Civic Museums of Treviso are dedicating a retrospective to him at the Bailo Museum, whose art gallery preserves an important nucleus of his works.
The exhibition, curated by Eugenio Manzato and Eleonora Drago, presents, through a chronological path, the various phases of the artist's activity and life, with over 100 pictorial works, drawings, sketches and watercolours, but also with documents and photos of era and objects that belonged to him, all coming from mostly local private collections and obviously with the renewed public display of the artist's works already in civic ownership.
Ravenna was born in Spadacenta, a hamlet in the municipality of Annone Veneto, in 1897. From a very young age he showed a strong propensity for painting, expressed in a series of classical drawings: a passion that not even the call to the front, in the First World War, managed to mitigate. As evidenced by the albums of drawings made directly on the battle lines, drawings which were partly included in the autobiographical book Una vita per la Pittura (1969, edited by Giuseppe Mesirca with 29 of his drawings) and in the War Diary of the Grenadier Giuriati Giuseppe , with a preface by Giovanni Comisso. Thanks to a leave from the front he reaches Florence, and here he comes into contact with the painting and writings of Ardengo Soffici and discovers French impressionism. From 1919 he returned to Veneto to attend the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, and in the following years he moved his studio to Ca' Pesaro, starting to exhibit. In the lagoon capital he met Gino Rossi and Pio Semeghini; with Seibezzi and others he has long shared a love for the island of Burano and for the views between water and sky.
The first solo exhibition, in 1924 at Cà Pesaro, was curated by Nino Barbantini. This was followed by participation in the Quadrennial and various important exhibitions in Italy and abroad. His first Biennial was in 1928, a presence regularly repeated until the second conflict, to resume in 1949 and again in '50 and '72. In 1928, he met and frequented Filippo de Pisis, who upon his return from Paris was his guest in Venice. Ravenna's pictorial activity was brought closer to the generation of young artists gravitating towards Venice, eager to break away from the patterns of an academicism still prevalent for get closer to the new that was advancing in Europe. His Venetian landscapes of these years, as well as those of Treviso subsequently, describe the places, the lights, the atmospheres, drawing on the poetic register rather than the documentary one.