Bruno of the Stars: A Journey from the Natural to the Mythical

Curated by the students of ARHS 371 Museum Studies

May 7–11 and 17–18, 2018 – Meier-Draudt Visual Learning Lab, Gund Gallery

Bruno da Osimo was an artist and engraver born in Osimo, Italy in 1888. He studied art in Perugia and Urbino and fought in the trenches during World War I before moving to Ancona, where he lived until his death in 1962. The work featured in this exhibition is representative of da Osimo’s spirituality and mysticism; as you move through this space, we invite you to engage in an exploration of his life. You’ll see his depiction of the night sky, as well as architectural sites familiar to him; especially important are his private places of worship and domestic personal spaces. Finally, you’ll see his art work transition into the realm of literary and mythological scenes.

Da Osimo’s works are primarily woodcuts and wood engravings. Both techniques involve cutting away at a piece of wood to create an image, which can then be printed with ink. With woodcuts, the wood is cut along the grain, and the resulting block can be used much like a stamp. The carved out areas appear white, while the uncarved areas press ink on the resulting print, creating the image. In wood engraving, however, the artist cuts into the end of a block of wood, and what is carved away is inked, producing the print. This method allows for much greater detail than woodcuts but uses the same ink and print-making process. For da Osimo, cutting a block of wood was a deeply spiritual experience.

The Liberty movement, founded in 1885, was created in opposition to the artistic styles taught in the European academies and championed by traditional critics. It gave rise to a prominent figure who had a major influence on the artist: Adolfo de Carolis, who introduced da Osimo to xylography in 1917. Later, da Osimo went on to become an important xylographer in his own right.

Da Osimo uses three different methods to date his work—the standard Gregorian calendar; the Italian Fascist calendar, which begins in 1922; and a unique system of stars. Da Osimo’s earliest works, starting in 1918, are marked with one star. He began using two stars following his wife’s death in November, 1936, and three stars after his sister’s death in February, 1938. In these works, stars represent the deep love he had for the most important people in his life. Believing that they watched over him in the heavens, he used the stars as a way to memorialize the important emotional connections of his life.

The students of ARHS 371 Museum Studies curated this exhibition: Paige Ballard ‘18, Caroline Chang ‘18, Hugh Ferguson ‘18, Amy Ferketich, Emma Hood ‘19, Katherine Jimenez-Gray ‘18, Julia Josowitz ‘18, Severine Kaufman ‘18, Maia Leeds ‘18, Erica Littlejohn ‘19, Annika Ostrom ‘20, Katie Perrin ‘21, Madeleine Schiff ‘18, Nataly Trejo ‘18, and Iris Yuqi Chen ’18.

Under the direction and instruction of Professor Melissa Dabakis and Professor Simone Dubrovic.

This exhibition could not have been possible without the help of: Maestro Bruno Cerboni Bajardi, Dr. Caroline Culbert, Dott. Andrea Dattilo, Arch. Massimo Di Matteo, Prof. Alessandro Fioretti, Dott.ssa Alessandra Barbara Fioretti, Prof. Andrea Fioretti, Dr. Jodi Kovach, Prof. Antonio Luccarini, Signora Silvana Selvetti Marsili, Prof.ssa Tiziana Mattioli, Prof. Austin Porter, Arch. Mauro Tarsetti, Dott. Marco Tarsetti, Prof. Paula Turner, Emily Wise, and Signora Anna Maria Zadra Fioretti. We also wish to acknowledge the generosity of the private collector who loaned these pieces to Kenyon College.

The exhibition “Bruno of the Stars” is dedicated to the loving memory of Daniel P. Younger, who was the first to dream of displaying the artist’s works at Kenyon College.