The Magician of the Light
Giovanni Segantini was born in Arco in 1858. In 1865, after the death of his mother, he was brought up by his stepsister in Milan. After turbulent years, he started taking evening courses at the Breda academy. In 1880, he met Bice Bugatti, in whom he was deeply in love until his death. After working for several years in different places in Brianza, in the north of Milan, he later worked in Savognin, Grisons, until eventually settling with his family in Maloja, Upper Engadine in 1894.
The power, which is inherent in his paintings, is taken from a deep sense of community with his environment - he painted his often over-sized pictures outside in all kinds of weather.
Segantini conjured up the unbelievable light in his paintings by painting lines from pure unmixed colour on the canvas and filling the spaces in between with the respective complementary colour. Each painting reaching its perfection line by line.
On invitation from his granddaughter, Gioconda Segantini, I spent some days in Maloja and retraced the paths of the painter. I collected 10 SOIL samples at sites where Segantini created his pictures. The last EARTH was dug on the mountain Schafberg, near Pontresina. Here, Giovanni Segantini died on 28th September 1899, while working on the painting LA NATURA from the Triptych of Nature.