In her latest series, Gusto, Nancy Cadogan reflects on her close ties with Italy and hopes to support the recovery of the Italian art scene and tourism following the devastating impact of coronavirus.
The British artist has pledged to donate proceeds from the sale of her works to the Italian Red Cross, an organisation offering frontline support in hospitals to victims of the crisis. We're not able to show these paintings, as yet – although there is a sneak peek; we have instead shared artworks from her recent Mind Zero series, exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery in 2019.
Cadogan has visited Italy for the past twenty years where she spends every summer in the family holiday home on Lake Como. Her work has an enduring reference to Italian landscapes, literature and forged from the writers and artists drawn to the region over the past two centuries. Gusto, Italian for flavour, carries over into the English vernacular as "taking enjoyment and pleasure from something" and aims to set an uplifting and hopeful tone for Cadogan's new body of work.
"Gusto is a tribute to the resilience, fortitude and deep sense of connection many of us feel between Great Britain and Italy," she tells Creative Boom. "This new work offers up a fleeting glimpse into that emotional connection and how, over the centuries, great artists have found solace, comfort and inspiration from its landscape and rich history. Gusto is designed to lift the spirits and shine a light on how interconnected our lives have become despite a global pandemic."
Gusto is to go on show this October at the Keats-Shelley House in Rome, to mark the museum's 200th-anniversary celebration of the great poet John Keats' arrival into the city before his untimely death aged 25 to tuberculosis.
Keats, one of Great Britain's most studied and admired romantic poets, travelled from London to Rome, upon the advice of his doctors, in the hope that the warmer climes of Italy would cure his illness. Upon arriving in Rome in 1820, Keats and his longtime companion and painter Joseph Severn rented a house at the base of the Spanish Steps that we now know as Keats-Shelley House. Severn nursed and cared for Keats in his final agonising months in quarantine before he died on February 1821 from acute tuberculosis.
The Keats-Shelley House opened in 1909 and is today one of the most important institutional museums celebrating the timeless work of writers Keats, Shelley and Byron and more. Gusto follows on from Cadogan's successful solo shows for the Saatchi Gallery in 2019 and will feature a collection of 20 oil on canvas paintings.