Giuseppe Padovano

Giuseppe Padovano is an Italian painter, sculptor and designer.   His works are exhibited permanently in several prestigious international museums and foundations, including the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, Vienna’s Museum of Art, the Bologna National Art Gallery, and Treccani Museum / Fondazione Corrente in Milan.    
Contents   1   –   Biography 2   –   Art Style 3   –   Quotes by Padovano 4   –   Photo Gallery 5   –   Giuseppe Padovano in Museums 6   –   Conferences 7   –   Partial Bibliography and Reviews 8   –   Critics’ Reviews 9   –   Authority Control 10 –   Documentaries and Videos


Giuseppe Padovano was born in Casarano, Italy on March 20, 1947 to Candida D’Aquino (1920-1999) and Giacinto Padovano (1915-1998). He had three younger siblings: Antoinetta, Lucia and Adriana.

Giuseppe’s passion for art germinated during his years in primary school. His teacher, Luigi Lupo, was an amateur landscape painter who was fascinated with tempera designs and paintings. Lupo, who was a socialist, always took the young Giuseppe with himself when attending party meetings and rallies in the various towns of Salento, Racale, Gallipoli, and Otranto. He would even take Giuseppe on vacation, when he used to rent an apartment for the summer months in Santa Cesaria Terme. In front of that apartment was the family home of Carmelo Bene the actor, (1937-2002), who was born in Campi Salentina (LE). In the mid-1960s, when he was a student at the Accademia d’Arte Drammatica di Roma, Luigi Lupo was close friends with Carmelo’s family, who were professors at Liceo Classico di Lecce. Every summer, Carmelo Bene would recite a preview of his works for the Academy to his neighbors. Then one year he was expelled from the Academy for indiscipline, because he considered the professors to be too traditionalist. Meanwhile, he was readying his first film debut: “Nostra Signora dei Turchi“, which was shot in an old Moorish-style villa in Santa Cesarea Terme. Many of the cast were amateur actors from Santa Cesarea Terme, Carmelo Bene’s friends and acquaintances, one of whom was Giuseppe Padovano.

Giuseppe’s career begins when he is very young. As a boy, he is fascinated by Lecce Baroque architecture, and when he is eight years old he becomes apprenticed to the studio of Grazio Sansò in Casarano. Sansò, a master decorator and dilettante painter, teaches Giuseppe the rudiments of his art. Later, in his Salento Period, Giuseppe again collaborates with Maestro Sansò in the restoration of churches in Sanarica, Gallipoli, Calimera and Palazzo Pisanelli Tricase.

In 1963, after having spent his childhood and early youth in Salento, he moves to Chur, Switzerland with his maternal uncle Pietro Picci. At sixteen, the young Giuseppe is showing striking artistic qualities at an early age. In the same year, his uncle Pietro Picci enrolls him in evening classes for a “Drawing and Painting Course” directed by Otto Braschler (b. 1909– d. 1985), at an art school in Chur, and pays for three years’ tuition. Braschler, who is from Chur, has recently returned from a long stay in Paris with Alberto Giacometti (b. 1901 – d.1966), who is from nearby Borgonovo. Giuseppe’s teacher becomes his first patron, acquiring three of his paintings for SFr. 4,000.00.

Also in 1963, at a conference on “The Divisionism of Segantini” at Chur’s Kunsthaus, Padovano meets Valentina Menghini, who is studying at the Lyceum and with whom he establishes an affectionate friendship. She is the daughter of Swiss publisher Poschiavo Menghini, a friend of the Giacometti family, painters and sculptors from the Bergell Valley who have been living for many years in Chur.

In 1965 and subsequent years, Maestro Otto Braschler buys several of Padovano’s paintings, which enables him to start construction work on his first house in Casarano, in the Salento Peninsula; in 1970 the house is valued at around 5 million Italian Lire.

(In Chur one had to know influential gallery owners and artists such as Alberto Giacometti and Maestro Otto Braschler. Giacometti died in hospital in 1965).

In 1971 Padovano goes to live in Milan at Via Ripa di Porta Ticinese, in times past the towpath of the historic Naviglio Grande Canal, which became the district of artists, painters and poets. He is the guest of his fellow compatriot, Battista Placì and, living in the same building is the poetess Alda Merino.

In Milan Padovano frequents the Bar Giamaica in the Brera district, a few steps from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera. It is the hangout of the most unconventional collection of souls: writers, painters, actors, poets. He leads a bohemian life, sharing a studio-home with brothers Alex and Jimmy Liccione, students from New York.

Bar Jamaica in the 1970’s was frequented by great artists, students and the penniless alike. There were Ugo Mulas, Salvatore Quasimodo, Guido Aristarchus (a critic at the Biennale Venice Film Festival), Dario Fo, Piero Manzoni, Leonardo Sciascia, Lucio Fontana, the director Lattuada, film producer Alfredo Bini (producer of all of Pasolini’s films), Ernesto Treccani, Raffaele De Grada, Renato Guttuso, Migneco, Domenico Purificato, the anarchist Valpreda, Alfredo Mazzotta, Piero Dorazio, Stefano Pizzi, Mariangela Spalato, Andrea Cascella, Walter Lazzaro, Elvino Motti, Franca Magro, Giorgio Gaber, and many others. In the years to come, many of them are to become famous.

Soon, Padovano passes the entrance exam of the Accademia delle Belle Arti di Brera, where he wins a scholarship for the 1972-73 academic year, and where he becomes a student of Domenico Purificato. He also studies simultaneously at the Lyceo Cimabue, as a student of A. Santagostino. That year he meets Maestro Domenico Cantatore, teacher at the Brera Academy, who comes from Padovano’s home town, and who introduces him to several Milanese artists, including Alik Cavaliere, Raffaele Carrieri, and the actress and painter Mariangela Melato. And amongst those new acquaintances is also Caroline Hollinger – the sister of his future wife, Wendy Mary Hollinger.

Giuseppe Padovano, Portrait of Dr. Anton Gantner, 1971. Oil on canvas, 50×60 cm. Hoffmann Collection, Liechtenstein.

Padovano graduates from Accademia di Brera in 1974 with a thesis on the Zurich Dadaist movement. His thesis director is Guido Ballo, full professor of Art History at the Academy. Ballo introduces Padovano to the Sicilian painter Antonio Lipera, from Biancavilla, Catania; subsequently they become close friends and together open an art atelier at 172, Via Forze Armate, Milan. Antonio acquaints him with his two brothers Carmelo and Salvatore, who live at 20, Via Zendrini that, for Giuseppe Padovano, becomes a second home in Milan.

In 1975 Padovano moves to the German-speaking part of Switzerland, to Dietikon, Zurich. He rents his first studio and enrolls in Zurich’s chapter of the Swiss Society of Painters, Sculptors and Architects. He begins his period of abstract expressionism.

In 1976, he concludes a silk-screening course at the Brera Academy with prof. Fernando De Filippi.

Padovano has his first solo exhibition from October 20 to November 21, 1977. The exhibition is held in the foyer of Chur’s Stadttheater and sponsored by the Italian Consulate. The artist receives enthusiastic reviews, since the cultural environment in the Grisons is strongly influenced by Giacometti; by the expressionism of Herbert Ludwig Kirkner who has lived for many years in Davos but is now ill with bronchitis; and by Giovanni Segantini, who has lived for many years in Saint Moritz and Chur.

In the same year, together with Tito Varisco, Padovano paints the scenes for Puccini’s Turandot at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan.

Also in 1977, Raffaele De Grada invites him to stand in Milan’s local elections as candidate for the MLS party.

Meanwhile, his friend Anton Gantner, the writer and publisher, organizes a solo exhibition for Padovano at Liechtenstein’s Kunstmuseum. His very incisive painting technique echoes the influence of the Abstract Expressionism of Robert Rauscemberg. And it is here that his style for this period of his painting is distinguished: abstract and subtle colors. Anton Gantner buys one of Padovano’s paintings, “Eye in space”, for SFr. 12,000.

In 1978 he graduates in sculpture at the Brera Academy with his thesis on Art and Society in the Twentieth Century, and is awarded 110 cum laude by his professor, Raffaele De Grada. And it is De Grada that introduces Padovano to his brother-in-law Ernesto Treccani, the painter and son of the famous Giovanni Treccani. The latter founded the Encyclopedia Treccani, and also co-founded the Movimento di Corrente (Current Movement) in Milan in 1938, along with Raffaele De Grada, Guttuso, Birolli, Sassu, the director Lattuada, Oreste Magrì (Hispanist), Alfredo Bini and E. Morlotti. In the same year Ernesto Treccani introduces Padovano to Demetrio Vittorini, son of writer Elio Vittorini. Padovano competes for a Chair of Design at the Brera Academy and is ranked in second place.

Giuseppe Padovano, Portrait of Raffaele De Grada, 1980. Oil on canvas, 46×72 cm. Treccani Museum and Foundation, Milan.

Giuseppe Padovano, Portrait of Ernesto Treccani, 1980. Oil on canvas, 53×72 cm. Treccani Museum and Foundation, Milan.

In 1979 Padovano is invited to Barcelona for the exhibition “Homage to Picasso” on the centenary of the great artist’s birth, and organized by the Catalan art dealer and publisher Santiago Palet.

In 1980 he befriends at Rovio in Ticino, Switzerland, architect Tita Carloni, master architect of Mario Botta.

On 20 September of the same year, while still in Rovio, he marries Wendy Mary Hollinger. She was born in Washington on March 1956, and is an American painter and ceramicist, known in university circles at the Brera Academy in Milan. The nuptials are witnessed by art critic and historian Raffaele De Grada, a student of Prof. Longhi (founder of Italian art history) and philosopher A. Banfi.

During Padovano’s 1982 vernissage in Milan, Raffaele De Grada introduces him to the Spanish poet Rafael Alberti and to Sergio Ortega, the Spanish singer-songwriter-guitarist. The trio decide to take their holidays together in Salento. In August they depart for Gallipoli, then on to Casarano, where Padovano hosts them in his house. During the month’s vacation, he paints several oil portraits of both Alberti and Ortega.

In 1983, Padovano organizes an event at Casarano’s Araldo cinema-theater, sponsored by the municipality (Luigi Memmi, mayor). There are recitals by Rafael Alberti and Sergio Ortega, and 9 drawings and 14 paintings of Padovano’s are exhibited in the theater foyer.

On October 8, Padovano’s daughter Naomi Sophia Anne is born. Also, he and his wife open an art gallery, Casa d’Arte Wendy, in Caslano, Ticino (Switzerland). On display, as part of an exhibition are 30 drawings by Pablo Picasso, which have been provided by Rafael Alberti, Picasso’s friend. At the inauguration, Sergio Ortega sings and Rafael Alberti dedicates a poem to Padovano: “Farfallina salentina“.

In 1985, he partners with Raffaele De Grada to open the Centro Culturale Borromini in Melano, Ticino, where he exhibits international painters. The Center receives the patronage of the local government, and the inauguration is covered by Swiss TV.

In 1986, the Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna (National Picture Gallery) buys and exhibits Padovano’s picture “The Bologna massacre”.

The following year Padovano restores the Lugano villa of Peter Ottiger, publisher of the “Neue Züricher Zeitung”; Ottinger introduces him to his friend the industrialist and collector Hans Peter Hoffmann, who buys several of Padovano’s works, including the portrait of Dr. Anton Gantner.

Giuseppe Padovano, The Massacre of Bologna, 1980. Oil on wood, 80×120 cm. Pinacoteca Nationale, Bologna.

Giuseppe Padovano, Portrait of Armando Cossutta, 1983. Oil on Pavatex, 46×72 cm. Museo Nazionale della Fine della Guerra, Dongo, Italy.

Giuseppe Padovano, Portrait of poet and painter Rafael Alberti, 1983. Oil on Pavatex, 52x72cm. Owned by Rafael Alberti, Rome.

On Feb 19 1988 the City Council of Casarano notes the outstanding artistic achievements of Giuseppe Padovano the artist (Luigi Memmi mayor).

In the same year Padovano’s son, Andrea Giacinto Llewellyn, is born in Lugano.

He buys a house in Carona, Switzerland, financed largely by the sale of some of his paintings. Within the same building, he opens his own art and serigraphy studio, where he makes various prints for Ernesto Treccani, Salvador Dalí and other contemporary artists. He also has a Fuji offset printer, which he will soon use to print ARTS, his own magazine.

In 1991 Lugano’s Nel Mondo dei Fiori gallery organizes an exhibition: From Treccani to Padovano where they exhibit Ernesto Treccani, Mario Robaudi, Giuseppe Padovano, Wendy Hollinger, Amanda Lear, De Gioxe Micheli, Ennio Morlotti, Domenico Cantatore and Andrea Cascella. He also founds ARTS, the arts and culture magazine, with Raffaele De Grada, the art critic and historian. ARTS is launched on December 21 at the Museo Vincenzo Vela Ligornetto, with the financial support of the Department of Education and Culture of Ticino and Padovano’s father-in-law Llewellyn Hollinger. ARTS establishes itself for many years as an authoritative source of information and cultural exchange. The magazine publishes articles by influential personalities of the world of art and culture. These include Giovanni Spadolini, Raffaele De Grada, Mario De Micheli, Giorgio Seveso, Rossana Bossaglia, Vittorio Sgarbi, architect Mario Botta (who will soon be best man at Baroness Francesca von Thyssen’s wedding), Bruno S. Frev, Werner W. Pommeryhne, Enrico Predini, Osvaldo Patani, and Gian Alberto Dell’Acqua.

Still in 1991 in Lugano, Giuseppe Padovano is befriended by a man who is to become his principle patron in coming years. It is the prominent international collector, Baron Hans A. Heinrich von Thyssen, who commissions Padovano to paint a portrait of his daughter Francesca, and buys several of the artist’s works, including Portrait of a Young Couple, for substantial amounts.

During a reception at Villa Favorita the Baron introduces Padovano to his daughter Francesca von Thyssen, future Archduchess of Austria, and an affectionate friendship ensues between them. In 1991 the Baron commissions three portraits, and Padovano portrays Francesca von Thyssen at Villa Favorita.  “The autumn light illuminates the front of the noble lady’s face; her eyes, a beautiful golden-brown tone, express a thoughtful tenderness. The walls in the background painted a salmon pink; the fine workmanship of her dress; the daylight; the partial picture frame at the top left (a futurist painter?); and the closed lips, which deepen the emotional and psychological effect of the portrait: all these details fix the painting in the viewer’s mind into a timeless dimension, anchored to that memorable and at the same time proud look” (from Il Giornale del Popolo, the Lugano daily, 1996).

In 1992, Baron von Thyssen offers to put Padovano in charge  of the Thyssen Museum in Lugano, which Padovano declines. The same year in Milan, during an exhibition organized by Massimo De Simone’s Galleria Studio Oggetto, Padovano is introduced to art critic Achille Bonito Oliva, who in turn introduces him to Giuseppe Napolitano, collector and publisher of Il Mattino, the Naples newspaper. In Milan he meets gallery owners and artists of the Transavanguardia school, who gravitate around the Galleria Studio Oggetto, the focal point of the most unconventional spirits: poets, painters, filmmakers, musicians. They include Mario Schifano, Alighiero Boetti, Fernando De Filippi, Sergio Ortega, Mimmo Paladino, Enzo Cucchi, Nicola De Maria, Giuseppe Chiari and art critic Enrico Pedrini of the Flux movement. Later, Giuseppe Napolitano, collector and publisher, is to become Padovano’s great friend and supporter; he will publish Padovano’s thesis on Art in the Twentieth Century, and help him financially during difficult times, buying his paintings.

In 1992, Padovano moves to Barcelona, where his friend the art dealer Santiago Palet rents him a studio at his home in Colle Serola Park. During his Spanish sojourn, Padovano paints many works in Abstract Expressionism. Santiago Palet introduces him to Antonio Tapies and, in Barcelona, he succumbs to the spell of Catalan Modernism and the architecture of Gaudi. During a vernissage, Santiago introduces him to Florentino Pérez, collector and patron of the Real Madrid Football Club.

In 1993 Padovano stages, for the Pirmasens Euroclassic Festival in Germany, Gioacchino Rossini’s farsa giocasa, Il Signor Bruschino, and The Barber of Seville. The director of the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Arnoldo De Angelis, writes: “Measured and elegant is the scene created by director Giuseppe Padovano. It is both essential and also in character with eighteenth-century Italian opera tradition.”

During the same year, the President of the Italian Senate, Prof. Giovanni Spadolini, congratulates Padovano for his compelling publication, ARTS magazine. He invites Padovano to attend a conference in Lugano dedicated to Giuseppe Prezzolini, and also commissions his own portrait.

Giuseppe Padovano, Portrait of architect Mario Botta, 1990. Oil on Pavatex, 52×71 cm. Botta Collection, Locarno.

Giuseppe Padovano, Portrait of young couple, 1993. Oil on wood, 59×75 cm. Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum of Art, Vienna.

Family Photo, 1989: the Padovano children Naomi and Andrea, and grandfathers General Llewellyn Hollinger and Giacinto Padovano (sitting).

Giuseppe Padovano, Portrait of Francesca von Habsburg, Archduchess of Austria, 1993. Oil on canvas, 60×90 cm. Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum of Art, Vienna.

Rossini’s Il Signor Bruschino and The Barber of Seville. Euroclassic Festival at Pirmasens, Germany, 28 September 1993. Artist G. Padovano created the scenes (painted on canvas: 5×4 meters, 10×4 meters, 5×4 meters).

Giuseppe Padovano with Ernesto Treccani in his studio in Milan, 1993.

Also in 1993, Ernesto Treccani commissioned three portraits by Padovano: one of his brother-in-law, the art critic and historian Raffaele De Grada; another of his sister, Raffaele De Grada’s wife; and also one of himself.

From 1993 Padovano teaches art history at the Liceo Artistico Michelangelo Buonarroti in Lugano.

In March 1995, Lucio Pallotta the Italian Consul in Lugano invites Giuseppe Padovano to present himself at the Consulate in order to be entered in the Consulate’s register. On April 18, 1995 at the Hotel Intercontinental in Geneva, President of the Republic Oscar Luigi Scalfaro invites Padovano to a meeting to congratulate him for his artistic achievements. In the same year, Italy’s Consul General in Lugano, Lucio Pallotta, introduces him to the painter Angiola Tremonti, sister of the Minister Giulio Tremonti.

Also in 1995, the Archbishop of Milan, Carlo Maria Martini, praises and congratulates him for his “compelling publication, ARTS Magazine. He invites Padovano to a meeting in Lugano, and commissions a portrait of himself.

In 1996 Padovano meets Romano Amerio, the Italian-Swiss traditionalist Catholic philosopher, philologist and theologian (1905-1997). They soon become friends, and he restores a wooden sculpture of Jesus at Amerio’s home in Lugano. Amerio has already lost his sight, and asks Padovano to help him in the reading of the various Vatican newspapers, especially the famous L’Osservatore Romano. Every day Padovano, until Amerio’s death, goes to his house for this act of compassion.

In 1997, Dr. Rudolf Disteiberger, Director and curator of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, puts Padovano in charge of organizing the exhibition: Der Zauber edler Steine, [The Magic of Precious Stones], an academic event, on behalf of the Swiss Confederation. The exhibition is about hard stones and precious stones, fine jewelry, and paintings of various Italian, French, German, Hungarian and Austrian  schools. The exhibits come from the Hapsburg Emperors’ Collection, and the exhibition marks the 500th anniversary of the “Vienna Boys’ Choir”.

To mark Italy’s National Liberation Day Celebration on April 25, 1997, Padovano is invited by the Italian Consul to put on a solo exhibition at the Centro Culturale Carlo Cattaneo di Lugano. Special guest is Armando Cossutta, Italian parliamentarian and vice president of the PNA who delivers a long speech on the Italian Resistance in WWII. At the end of the event, Armando Cossutta and Italian Consul Lucio Pallotta undertake to purchase a painting by the artist, to the tune of SFr 15,000, to be destined to the collection of the Modern Art Gallery in Rome. Armando Cossutta and his wife have since become very good friends of Padovano.

Giuseppe Padovano, Nativity, 1995. Oil on cardboard, 16×18 cm. Von Habsburg-Thyssen Collection, Salzburg.

The Archduchess Francesca von Habsburg and Patricia Pavisa open Giuseppe Padovano’s solo exhibition in 1995.

The philosopher and theologian Romano Amerio.

In July of 1998 Padovano returns to his birthplace, Casarano (Lecce), where he opens a studio in the family home. The same year, his friend and outgoing mayor of Casarano, Guglielmo Ingrosso (friend of Italian Prime Minister Massimo D’Alema), invites Padovano to be a candidate for Casarano City Council.

In 1999 Padovano’s mother Candida D’Aquino suddenly passes away in Casarano hospital. The same year his friend the poet Rafael Alberti, a friend of Pablo Picasso, dies in Cadiz, Andalusia; and his friend Guglielmo Ingrosso also dies in a car accident.

In 2002 Baron Hans Heinrich von Thyssen, dies at his villa in Sant Feliu de Guixols, Costa Brava. The Baron owned one of the world’s largest private art collections that numbered in some 1,500 works, ranging from antiquity to contemporary artists. Much of the Baron’s fabulous collection, one of the most significant in the world, is now housed in Madrid at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in the Palace of Villahermosa. The museum is an integral part of the wonderful Paseo del Arte, with its neighbors, the Prado Museum and the Reina Sofia. A priceless lot of the best 775 works of the Baron’s collection were sold in 1993 to the Spanish State in exchange for only 338 million dollars. Baron von Thyssen was one of the world’s wealthiest businessmen; he headed the Thyssen-Bornemisza Group (TBG), a business empire consisting of over 250 companies operating in diverse sectors, ranging from oil to information technology, to robotics, to agricultural machinery. He instituted modern management systems, and created a large market for his company in the United States and throughout the world.

In 2003 the City of Casarano under Mayor Remigio Venuti patronizes a solo exhibition of 56 of Padovano’s oil paintings, at Palazzo Delia. In the same year, Padovano undergoes great economic difficulties, which result in a divorce with his wife Wendy Hollinger. On December 21, 2003 during a solo exhibition at the Municipal Gallery of Casarano, the portrait of  the Archduchess of Austria Francesca von Habsburg is stolen; it is an oil painting valued at tens of thousands of Euros. Lecce’s daily in its December 21, 2003 edition runs the headline: “Theft Shock at the Padovano Show“, and there are similar reports in the Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno, and other publications around the world.

2008 sees the sudden death in Carona (Ticino, Switzerland), of Padovano’s father-in-law and financial supporter of ARTS magazine, Llewellyn Hollinger. Hollinger, a retired US Army General, had served during the World War II on the staffs of both Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry Truman, and later on the White House staff of President John F. Kennedy.

In 2010 Padovano strikes a friendship with Dik Messmann, a wealthy Dutch collector. The same year, his great friend and teacher of art and life, Raffaele De Grada, dies in Milan,  leaving an infinite void in Padovano, the artist.

In 2015, another of Padovano’s great friends and supporters dies after a short illness at the hospital in Naples: Giuseppe Napolitano, the publisher. Padovano dedicates the poem Orfano della musa di Capri (Orphan of the Capri Muse) to his friend.

In December of the same year, at San Camillo Hospital in Rome, yet another of Padovano’s friends and supporters, Armando Cossutta, dies. Cossutta, vice-president of the APNI (National Association of Italian Partisans), had fought in the resistance with the Garibaldi Brigade during WWII.

In December 2015, Padovano returns to Barcelona, with his Catalan friend, Santiago Casajuana Palet, the art dealer and publisher.  He buys land on the Costa Brava at Rosamar, in the municipality of Santa Cristina d’Aro, Catalonia, with plans to build a new art gallery.

Baron Hans Heinrich von Thyssen.

Baroness Carmen von Thyssen-Bornemisza.

Art style

The art style of a painter is born as a plant in a garden in May.

?????????  Oppure: The art style of a painter is born from a seed, germinates, transforms and blooms as a plant in a garden in May.  [= Lo stile artistico di un pittore nasce da un seme, si germina, trasforma e fiorisce come una pianta in un giardino in maggio. ]  ?????????  

Giuseppe Padovano quotes

  • “My painting technique allows me to penetrate and comprehend the intimate natures of others, in their most hidden depths. It allows me to discover every human aspect in its entirety, in order to reach the innermost depths of human nature.”
  • “My painting technique allows me to comprehend the intimate natures of others, by       penetrating their most hidden depths. It allows me to discover every human aspect in its       entirety, in order to reach the innermost depths of human nature.”
  • “To be able to belong to his own time, the artist has to sail against his own time.”
  • “I dream that the ARTS, in all their forms, to be a rebirth of the Living Breath of Mankind. Ever since childhood I have had a passion for painting. Artists are born not made. Life ends   sooner or later, but art is eternal.”
  • “In the academies and conservatories you can learn the techniques, but not The Art. Time       passes, Art remains. “
  • “Art is neither private nor public. It has no country, nor lord. It has neither borders,          nor passport. “
  • “The critical act is no longer a critical act, but becomes a creative act.”
  • “The artist is the implement that creates a work from his own thoughts; the critic is the     one who dissects that work without knowing the real source.”

Photo Gallery

Giuseppe Padovano, Portrait of Alberto Giacometti, 1963. Cardboard, 32×45 cm. Giacometti Foundation, Zurich.

Giuseppe Padovano, Portrait in pencil of his master Otto Braschler, Chur 1965. Amanda Braschler Collection.

Giuseppe Padovano, Portrait of Dario Fo, 1988. Oil on canvas, 72×75 cm. Treccani Foundation Museum, Milan.

Giuseppe Padovano, Portrait of a woman, 1980. Oil on canvas, 50×70 cm. Private collection, Lugano.

Giuseppe Padovano, The Bather, 1990. Oil on canvas, 86×127 cm.

Giuseppe Padovano and Yuri Petrosyan, Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences, at the inauguration of Padovano’s solo exhibition at the Carlo Cattaneo Cultural Center at the Italian Consulate General in Lugano, 1994.

President of the Senate Giovanni Spadolini and Giuseppe Padovano at the inauguration of Padovano’s exhibition at Sala Carlo Cattaneo Cultural Center, Lugano, 1993.

Launch of ARTS magazine. Inauguration day at the Museo Federale Vincenzo Vela di Ligornetto in Ticino, Switzerland, 14 December 1991. L to R: Museum Director Giorgio Lazzeri; art critic Prof. Raffaele De Grada; and ARTS publisher Giuseppe Padovano.

Front cover of the first issue of ARTS magazine, 1991.

Front cover of the second issue of ARTS magazine, 1992.

Front cover of the ninth issue of ARTS magazine, 1993.

Front cover of the eleventh issue of ARTS magazine, 1995.

Front cover of the nineteenth issue of ARTS magazine, 2012.

Front cover of the April 2014 issue of ARTS magazine.

Giuseppe Padovano, Naked woman, 2000. Oil on canvas, 60×120 cm. Collection of the artist.

Giuseppe Padovano in Museums

Portrait of Francesca von Habsburg, Archduchess of Austria, 1993. Oil on canvas, 60×90 cm.     Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum of Art, Vienna. 

Portrait of a Young Couple, 1993. Oil on wood, 59×75 cm. Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum of Art,     Vienna.    

Portrait of Dario Fo, 1988. Oil on canvas, 72×75 cm. Treccani Museum and Foundation, Milan.   

Portrait of Armando Cossutta, 1983. Oil on Pavatex, 46×72 cm. End of the War National   Museum, Dongo.        

The Bologna massacre, 1980. Oil on wood, 80×120 cm. National Picture Gallery, Bologna.

Portrait of Ernesto Treccani, 1980. Oil on canvas, 53×72 cm. Treccani Museum and Foundation, Milan.

Portrait of Raffaele De Grada, 1980. Oil on canvas, 46×72 cm. Treccani Museum and Foundation,     Milan.      

Portrait of Alberto Giacometti, 1963. Cardboard, 32×45 cm. Giacometti Foundation, Zurich.


• Il giovane Borromini, dagli esordi a San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane – Sala Carlo Cattaneo, Consolato Generale d’Italia, Lugano.

• Gustave Courbet – Museo d’Arte Moderna, Mendrisio (Switzerland).

• Achille Funi, quel pittore con la pipa e il montgomery marrone chiaro – Centro Culturale

Borromini, Milan, 1988.

• Emil Nolde – Museo d’Arte Moderna, Lugano.

• Dall’Ermitage a Villa Favorita – Villa Favorita, Lugano, 1995.

• Il Signor Bruschino di Gioacchino Rossini – Sala Carlo Cattaneo, Consolato Generale d’Italia, Lugano.

• Pablo Picasso alla Galleria delle Arti di Agno [Pablo Picasso at the Art Gallery of Agno] – Agno, Lugano.

• Scomparso Federico Fellini, maestro dell’artificio – Sala Congressi, Consolato Generale d’Italia, Locarno.

• Il verismo montano di Hermann Oeschger – Sala Congressi, Consolato Generale d’Italia,


Partial bibliography and literary reviews

Die Blumenwelt Zeigt Padovano – Theater & Kunst – Testiner Zeitung, Locarno, July 2010. [Die Blumenwelt displays Padovano].

Intervista a Giuseppe Padovano – di Laura Leuzzi, Il Tacco d’Italia, monthly of Salento, Casarano 2007). [Interview of Giuseppe Padovano].

Furto choc alla mostra di Giuseppe Padovano (Il Quotidiano di Lecce, 21 Dec 2003). [Shocking theft at the Giuseppe Padovano Exhibition].

Rubato prezioso quadro del ritratto della baronessa von Thyssen (La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno, 21 Dec 2003). [Stolen, valuable frame of Baroness von Thyssen’s portrait].

Giuseppe Padovano, una lunga ricerca (Il Corriere del Ticino – Lugano daily, 1995). [Giuseppe Padovano, a lengthy quest].

L’intima realtà trasfigurata di Giuseppe Padovano (Libera Stampa, Lugano daily, 1993). [The innermost reality transfigured by Giuseppe Padovano].

Silenzi interiori di Giuseppe Padovano (Libera Stampa, Lugano daily, 1993. [The inner peace of Giuseppe Padovano].

Giuseppe Padovano tra ritratti e paesaggi (Il Giornale del Popolo – Lugano daily, 1992. [Giuseppe Padovano among portraits and landscapes].

Palazzo Datini per tre (La Nazione, Florence 1991. [Datini Palace for three].

Padovano alla Galleria L’Angolo (Il Giornale del Popolo, Lugano daily 1991. [Padovano at the Galleria L’Angolo].

Un pittore pugliese ormai affermato a Zurigo (L’Eco di Locarno – Locarno daily, 1990. [A painter from Puglia who has become well-known in Zurich].

Presentazioni di grafiche di Picasso alla Galleria il Cigno Nero di Lugano presentata dal Prof. Giuseppe Padovano (Il Giornale del Popolo, Lugano daily 1989. [Presentations of Picasso’s artwork at Lugano’s Galleria il Cigno Nero by Prof. Giuseppe Padovano].

Arte e società nel Novecento (Edizioni S. P. Procisa, Barcellona, 1988. [Art and Society in the Twentieth Century].

Dipinti di Giuseppe Padovano al Palazzo Comunale di Melano (ArteCultura – Milan monthly publication, 1988. [Paintings by Giuseppe Padovano at Milan’s City Hall].

Mostra di Padovano alla Galleria nel Mondo dei Fiori (La Gazzetta Ticinese, Lugano 1988. [Exhibition of Padovano at the Mondo dei Fiori Gallery].

Colti silenzi interiori di Giuseppe Padovano (L’Eco – Bergamo daily, 1987. [The inner peace of Giuseppe Padovano].

Il vero ristrutturato con la personalità di Padovano (Il Corriere del Ticino, Lugano daily, 1987. [Reality remoulded with the personality of Padovano].

Da Treccani a Padovano (Il Giornale del Popolo, Lugano daily, 1987).  [From Treccani to Padovano].

Sozialkritisches Engagement Kaum da (Bunden Zeitung, Chur daily, 1986).

Giuseppe Padovano, allievo amato dagli insegnanti di Brera di Raffaele De Grada (Il Corriere del Ticino. Lugano daily 1986. [Giuseppe Padovano, the student loved by the teachers of Raffaele De Grada at Brera].

Un figurativo di sapore antico (Il Corriere del Ticino – Lugano daily, 1986. [A visual artist with a taste of the old].

L’astrattismo di Giuseppe Padovano (Alla Bottega, Milan art and culture bimonthly, 1977. [The abstract art of Giuseppe Padovano].

La personale di Giuseppe Padovano a Milano (ArteCultura, Milan  – monthly art events magazine, Milan, 1977. [The solo show of Giuseppe Padovano in Milan].

Padovano il pittore che guarda al futuro di Domenico Purificato (L’Eco di Locarno, Locarno daily, 1976. [Padovano, the painter who looks to the future, by Domenico Purificato].

Giuseppe Padovano Mailand (Badendr Zurzak, Baden Switzerland daily, 1976. [Giuseppe Padovano Mailand].

Critics’ Reviews

• “The paintings of Giuseppe Padovano in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Vienna” – by Raffaele De Grada.

“In the past few years, realism, following decades of neglect and ostracism, has suddenly become of topical interest. This trend has undoubtedly been brought about by the dramatic economic crisis in which we currently find ourselves. The crisis, with all its harshness and its thwarting of our dreams and desires has, in fact, spread; and it continues to knock increasingly at Europe’s doors. This need for a return to reality obviously could not avoid resulting in a philosophical theory: with its Manifesto of the new realism, as opposed to postmodernism – according to which “there are no facts, only interpretations” – Giuseppe Padovano has triggered, already for some time, debates that involve various philosophers and intellectuals, and that find their way into the artistic and cultural sections of newspapers and magazines. Also in the field of visual arts, the subject matter of realism has indelibly highlighted the history of painting in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. And in recent years, it has been addressed with renewed interest, within the framework of the theoretical reflections that accompany the art medium par excellence of our time: photography. The digital revolution of the nineties had all the indications of becoming epochal, deluding many into believing that the seemingly indissoluble marriage between painting and reality was shattered forever. Now, however, it is clear that even in the face of the endless possibilities of manipulation offered by computer techniques, reality is still the one and essential benchmark. And, therefore, it still proves today to be the most effective tool with which artists are investigating reality. A reality that, as it seeks to highlight the path of exhibitions, has nothing to do with the banality of the commonplace, but instead coincides with the irreducible, the magical, the unusual, the tragedy,  with which we are confronted, often unconsciously, every day. – Raffaele De Grada, 1998.

Dalmazio Ambrosioni, in the 1996 Lugano Exhibition catalog

“Giuseppe Padovano is a singular character whose great passion has always been artistic activity. To achieve this purpose and, of course, to always remain a painter, he has held a number of solo exhibitions in Switzerland and abroad, and he has paintings in private collections in various countries. But his pursuance of art has not been confined just to painting: he has also been active as an art critic and in  publishing, and even in … the art of printing, having succeeded in printing ARTS magazine, now in its fourth year. And now he returns again as a painter to Sala Carlo Cattaneo di Lugano, where he is exhibiting a series of works from his latest period. It has also been confirmed at this exhibition what Raffaele De Grada, his teacher at Brera, once wrote about him: “Padovano has learned the technical language of painting, the authentic art synthesis in which converge all the results of the dialogue between man and things, all expressed in form. Without doubt, that is why he has become such a voice in the concert of painters”. The most striking feature of his work is the adaptation of the lesson of the art school to his personality; in fact he maintains a figurative stroke that is never veristic, even less so descriptive. He neither disavows an in-depth and sensitive preparation towards a certain surreal setting, nor attention towards symbolism. But he inserts his stylistic trait, which manifests itself in a result which is meditative, ecstatic, devoted to contemplation. In this he exhibits a strong relationship to the “Mediterranean” painting of the twentieth century, that of Carrà, even that of De Chirico. Also, for him painting is a symbolic element, not of contradictions but of a cultural discourse that feeds it. It is not by chance that Giuseppe Padovano favors intense portrait and landscape themes, and as territory, not as seen. Indeed, what interests him is to interpret the subject, to bring it alive in the light of its story and of its personality. This is what one deduces readily in his Portrait of Francesca von Habsburg-Thyssen, shown on the poster beside me: with that oval face as if detached from the figurative context, and exalted as a symbolic element. Another constant in his painting is the compositional cleanliness, especially in recent years, that has toned down his palette. The whole focus, in fact, goes towards the figurative, without diffusion. And it is precisely in this “concentration” that a personal relationship with contemporary art develops, especially in the ability to penetrate through his portrayal of the innermost depths of human nature”. – From Il Giornale del Popolo (Lugano newspaper), 1995.

• Arnaldo De Angelis, Director of Naples’ Teatro San Carlo, commenting on the Euroclassic Festival in Germany, 1993.

“The execution of the opera Il Signor Bruschino (directed by Vasco Tonello and staged by Giuseppe Padovano) took place on September 28, 1993 at the Municipal Theater of Stuttgart, Germany, as part of the 1993 Euroclassic Festival. It was a well deserved success. The execution was uniformly good, both from the standpoint of vocal as well as musical quality. Giuseppe Padovano designed the set, which was entirely in character with the eighteenth-century tradition of Italian opera. The audience appreciated and applauded the artists at length”. – Reported in ARTS, 1993.

• Nani Razetti, in the Lugano Exhibition catalog, 1991.

• Giorgio Lazzeri, Director of the National Museum of Vincenzo Vela Ligornetto (Switzerland) catalog, 1991.

• Maria Verzelletti, in the Bologna Exhibition catalog, 1986.

• Raffaele De Grada, in the Milan Exhibition catalog, 1983.

• “At Brera he learned the technique of pictorial language, the authentic synthesis of art into which converge all the results of the dialogue between man and things.” – Raffaele De Grada, 1980.

• “Giuseppe Padovano tackles with creative audacity the theme of Art and Society in the Twentieth Century. He is an artist who writes of the cultural struggle of a young artist in the face of serious problems in today’s society; it is neither critical nor a theoretical model.” – Raffaele De Grada, June 1980.

Giulio Carlo Argan, in the 1980 Lugano Exhibition catalog:

“Having carefully considered the impressions and the works of Giuseppe Padovano’s art displays, we believe we have understood in part the place that the artist occupies in the history of contemporary art. Whoever creates art – Padovano included – cannot live isolated from the historical forces of the time in which he lives; only the beast and God are beyond the bounds of history. The artist brings together the aspirations, the anxieties, the customs, the way of life, of everyone; he feels their lives. Each artistic event is both the fruit of the individual artist’s spirit as well as the collective spirit that shapes history. It is thus generated from two giant personalities: the Genius and History. The work of art, therefore, is born of two motives. The first is an internal one, at times almost unconscious, residing in the intimate depths of mankind’s genius, aside from the immediate psychological need to express the existing pictorial or poetic images. And the second is external,  that which is imposed upon the artist; it derives from the historical era in which he is, at times, almost as if compelled, unknowingly, to go about his life.

So studying Franz Marc’s Animals’ destinies, De Chirico’s Masks, Masson’s Wounded animal, Picasso’s The Dance, Gottlieb’s Turbine, Chagall’s The angel’s fall, Eros Matta’s Vertigo, is to tread the path of this deep, infinite microcosm of the artistic spirit. To study all this amounts to studying and knowing the “masks”, the “dance”, the “wounds”, the “vertigo” of modern civilization. In this “totally chaotic phenomenon” that is modern civilization lives, or is compelled to live as are we all, Giuseppe Padovano, who interprets, analyzes, investigates the deepest contradictions of this world, and with a restless spirit produces art, placating his anxieties for a world that is better in its profound humanity.” – Giulio Carlo Argan, 1980.

Authority Control

The artist’s works are entered under Giuseppe Padovano on

For details on his work The Bather, you can visit:


Radio, Television and Video Documentaries

I colori dell’anima: il lungo viaggio di Giuseppe Padovano [Colors of the soul: the long journey of Giuseppe Padovano] – Two hour documentary. Relives, through Silvestro Rizzello’s video, the long journey through life of Giuseppe Padovano, the artist. It starts in 1963 in Gallipoli in the Salento Peninsula and reaches Chur, Switzerland. It passes through the Brera Academy, where Padovani studied, and the picturesque canals of Milan; it creates his 1988 house-atelier in Carona in the Swiss mountains of Ticino; and it describes the halls of Castel Grande in Bellinzona, Switzerland, famous for its castles. The viewer, in addition to the visual history, becomes captivated by the beautiful singing and traditional South-American music of Spanish guitarist Sergio Ortega, who reinterprets the works of various authors such as Pablo Neruda and Rafael Alberti. It is a lengthy journey that relives the places, where for many years, Giuseppe Padovano the painter lived in the company of his colors, his paintings and his poetry. Distribution: Art Media, Documenta, 2003 (Switzerland).

Giuseppe Padovano – Radio interview, Radio Monte Ceneri (now Radio Italian Switzerland, Network 2), Gianni Gentile, 1991.

Giuseppe Padovano – TV Documentary, TSI Swiss Italian Television, Marco Nessi, 1988.

Giuseppe Padovano – Radio interview, Radio Monte Ceneri (now Radio Italian Switzerland, Network 2), Gianni Gentile, 1976.

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