Born in Lucca in 1878, after studying at the Liceo, Daniele decided to become a chemist but changed his mind a few years later. Some of his early works signed “A. Speziale” are from this period. Daniele’s career covered more than forty years. A self-taught artist, his education was based on the study of artists such as Domenico Morelli, Vittorio Grubicy and Pellizza da Volpedo; that is on contentualist works. His early paintings (executed between the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century) show his desire to break away from the Impressionistic naturalism of the local art tradition introduced by Alceste Campriani from Terni.
“Venerdì Santo” (Good Friday), a large scale canvas painted in 1904, is an example of his later developments – “Boheme” (Bohemianism), 1910-12; “La vostra tomba è un’ara” (Your tomb is an altar), 1919 -, which have allegorical, religious and literary subjects. Around the First World War Daniele’s interest in the study of colour and light, influenced by the Divisionists, came to the fore and can be seen in his works with their silent, nocturnal atmosphere.
Works from the 1920’s include very delicately coloured paintings such as “Viatico del povero” (Viaticum of the Poor), 1920-25, and “Gesù sulle acque” (Christ Walking on the Water), 1921-22, a work presented for, but not exhibited at, the XIII Venice Biennial (1922). Between 1930 and 1939 he temporarily abandoned his large religious/allegorical works to concentrate on small landscape works and in particular still life, working either on plywood or Masonite. These works were handled with a clear, luminous palette, very different from the earlier Divisionist influence.
In 1940, after a long period of shunning the public eye, Daniele exhibited his works at the Salvetti Gallery in Milan. Its financial success encouraged him to exhibit again two years later, still in Milan, at the Ranzini Gallery. When he returned to Lucca in April 1942, the artist was by now tired and ill. He gradually began to shut himself up in his studio again and on 15th. August 1994 he passed away.
Written by: Gioela Massagli – Translated by: Catherine Biggerstaff
© Studio d’Arte dell’800