Giovanni Segantini. La Vita – La Natura – La Morte
Landmarks of Swiss Art
A new study of Segantini’s Alpine triptych
1st edition, 2022
Texts English and German
160 pages, 54 color illustrations and 5 b/w illustrations
21.5 x 25 cm
Giovanni Segantini’s (1858–99) three paintings La Vita—La Natura—La Morte (Becoming—Being—Passing) of 1898–99 at first glance reveal nothing about their equally complex and interesting background. Segantini originally planned them for the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle as a multimedia walk-through “Engadine Panorama” 722 feet long and sixty-feet feet high. He was forced to downscale the undertaking to three purely pictorial main paintings, which eventually remained unfinished due to the artist’s premature death.
In this richly illustrated book, Swiss art historian and Segantini-expert Juerg Albrecht offers a fresh perspective on one of the last major Symbolist works of the fin de siècle. Drawing on previously untapped sources, Albrecht also traces the eventful genesis of this landmark work and places it in the context of Alpine painting and the mass-medium of the panorama. Moreover, he sheds light on Segantini’s highly personal pantheism, which is rooted in the ideas of German Romanticism, as represented by Caspar David Friedrich and Philipp Otto Runge, but can also be related to programmatic paintings by Segantini’s contemporaries Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, and Edvard Munch, and which finds idiosyncratic echoes in contemporary art, for example in the oeuvres of Joseph Beuys and the Swiss painter Franz Wanner.
Juerg Albrecht, born 1952, is a scholar of art history. He served as head of art research at the Swiss Institute for Art Research SIK-ISEA 1991–2015.
Also available in the series Landmarks of Swiss Art: