Emilio Scanavino, Genoa 1922 - 1986 Milan

  • Emilio Scanavino

    Genoa 1922 - 1986 Milan

The painter and sculptor Emilio Scanavino is a leading figure in Italian postwar art. Born in Genoa, Scanavino studied art in Genoa and architecture in Milan. In 1947, the artist moved to Paris, where he encountered Cubism for the first time, instigating a departure from figuration in favour of more stylised forms. By the 1950s, Scanavino’s work had given way to full abstraction, which he explored on a monumental scale, introducing in 1954 his signature stylized knots, matrices of which inflamed his canvases for the rest of his career, acting as metaphysical signifiers of some unnamed existential torment. Scanavino exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1950, 1954, and 1958, and in following his success in the 1958 iteration was taken on by the prestigious Galleria del Naviglio in Milan, moving to the city shortly thereafter. Successful exhibitions and prizes followed, and he continued to work in his studio at Calice Ligure until his death in 1986.


Emilio Scanavino
Genoa 1922–1986 Milan
La Farfalla (The Butterfly), 1985
Oil on canvas
81 x 100 cm (31 7/8 x 39 3/8 in.)