Emilio Tadini's Biography

Emilio Tadini was an Italian painter, writer, poet, essayist, playwright, translator and journalist, president of the Brera Academy of Fine Arts from 1997 to 2000. He was born in Milan in 1927. He graduated in literature at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan. In 1947 he made his debut at the Vittorini’s “Politecnico” at just 20 years old with a poem The passion according to Matteo and won the Serra prize with the jury of Montale, Solmi and Muscetta, followed by an intense critical and theoretical activity on art (Possibilità di relazione 1960, Alternative attuali 1962, the large essay L’organicità del reale, in “Il Verri”). He also translates important works of the twentieth century such as Stendhal, Pound, Eliot, Céline, Faulkner for publishers such as Einaudi and many others.

In 1963 his first novel, L’armi, l’amore (Rizzoli), was published, followed in 1982 by the second L’opera (Einaudi), in 1983 La lunga notte, (Rizzoli), in 1992 the book of poetry L’insieme delle cose (Garzanti), in 1993 the last novel The Tempest (Einaudi) from which a theatrical version was taken. In 1995 the essay L’occhio della pittura (Garzanti), in 1997 The Deposition (Einaudi) and in 1998 the essay The distance (Einaudi).

Since the end of the 1950s he has added the work of painting to critical and literary work. His artistic work was intense, dedicating himself in particular to painting and drawing, but also to sculpture (glass, iron) and the application of art in both textile and furniture design, as well as in advertising. He has collaborated with various companies such as Renault, Costa Cruises, Swacth, Henry Glass, Gazzetta dello Sport, for example his is the image of the 84 Giro d’Italia.

The first paintings are the result of a symbolic and figurative research that is very reminiscent of Bosch. His first pictorial works already present themselves with very specific thematic areas, like chapters in a story. His first personal exhibition was in 1961 at the Galleria del Cavallino in Venice. From the very beginning, Tadini developed his own painting in large cycles, building the picture according to a technique of superimposing temporal planes in which memory and reality, tragic and comic, continuously play against each other. He lets himself be influenced by English Pop Art, by the painting of De Chirico and Picasso and develops an increasingly refined language, original of dreamlike figuration. The first cycle is “Essay on Nazism” (1960), followed by a series of works entitled The cold garden and The place for children (1966) and the cycle of Voltaire’s life begins that year. It is only the beginning of a path of constant dialogue by Tadini with various Italian and foreign artists with whom he carries on his cultural and artistic research work such as Fontana, Calder, Tilson, Adami, Pardi, Ceretti, Mulas, Varisco etc. . In the following years, Tadini approached existential and integral realism as much as he did English “Pop Art“.

He holds personal exhibitions abroad, Paris, Stockholm, Brussels, London, Antwerp, the United States and South America, both in galleries and in public spaces and museums. It is also present in numerous group exhibitions. In 1978 and 1982 he was invited to the Venice Biennale. In 1986 he held a large exhibition at the Rotonda della Besana in Milan where he exhibited a series of paintings that herald the cycle of Refugees and that dedicated to Italian cities, then presented in 1988 at the Tour Fromage in Aosta. In 1990 he exhibited seven large triptychs at Studio Marconi. In 1992, the Oltremare exhibition at the Galerie du Center in Paris and in 1993 he inaugurated an exhibition with new works at Studio Marconi in Milan.

In 1995 at the Villa delle Rose in Bologna eight great triptychs from The dance of the philosophers were presented. From autumn 1995 until summer 1996, a large anthological and traveling exhibition took place in Germany in the museums of Stralsund, Bochum and Darmstadt accompanied by a monograph edited by Artura Carlo Quintavalle. In 1996 the exhibition The dance of the philosophers was presented at the Giò Marconi gallery. Tadini became a commentator for Corriere della Sera and from 1997 to 2000 he was president of the Brera Academy. In 1997 he exhibited at the Galerie Karin Fesel in Düsseldorf, the Galerie Georges Fall in Paris and the Castelvecchio Museum in Verona. The last painted cycles are those of still lifes and fairy tales which in 1999 were presented at the Die Galerie in Frankfurt. In 2001 the city of Milan paid tribute to him with an anthological exhibition Emilio Tadini. Works 1959/2000 at the Royal Palace. Also in 2001 in April the watercolor exhibition Le figure le cose was held at the Giò Marconi Gallery in Milan.

He died in Milan on 25 September 2002 at the age of 75.

In his memory, a museum in Milan was founded in 2008, Spazio Tadini, inserted within the Storie Milanesi circuit, which collects 15 places in the city where people (artists, writers, designers) who have made an artistic contribution and cultural to the city have lived. Founded by his son Francesco Tadini (television recorder and author) and Carmela Melina Scalise, the pictorial and literary works of Emilio Tadini are on permanent display. The museum is also home to the Emilio Tadini archive.

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