The island of Elba in art

The island of Elba is always ready to show off its beauty and pose for photographers like a model: every day, countless shots are taken of its sky at sunset, along the panoramic paths, across the sea waves, down to the seabed, rich in marine life and full of mysteries; but also of the enchanting villages and the silent ruins of the ancient hermitages.

The variety of landscapes is extraordinary: from the bizarre profiles of the mountains to the surreal mining areas, with their amazing shades of colors. The coastline is also very diverse alternating high and rocky stretches, with sandy, white or golden beaches, always contrasting with the shady, dark Mediterranean scrub.

In a nutshell, Elba has always been a paradise for artists of all times in search of wonderful, inspiring views, as well as for skilled writers, who know how to choose the proper words to describe its complex beauty.

In 1888, for example, the Italian painter Telemaco Signorini landed on the island, bothered by the local illiterate poet Mago Chiò; he captured beautiful views of Portoferraio and Capoliveri and of the Ghiaie beach in the typical transfigured style of the Macchiaoli, as well as the realistic harshness of the island’s prison. One of his most noteworthy paintings features the main square of the village of Poggio, with a deep spot of light in the center of a pool and a charming wall with white and blue decorations in the background.

In 1907, Llewlyn Lloyd, a Welshman from Livorno, influenced by the European avant-gardes painting techniques, spread large brushstrokes of liquid paint when he was on the island, leaving beautiful works such as The Islet of Paolina, The Houses of Marciana, The Shipwrecked Boat, The Rosy Morning, The Dead Chestnut Tree, or, over the years to come, the idyllic images of his house in Marciana Marina, The House of Pomgranates, which he bought in 1913.

1926 was a very special year. The post-pointillist painter Plinio Nomellini bought land in Marina di Campo and built a house there. He liked to chase the flow of sunlight in different times of the day, which he caught on the canvas, as in his works Morning in Marina di Campo or The Coast of Nisportino.

In the same year, Paul Klee also spent some time on the island, in search of new geometric elements and new relationships among intense colors. He wrote: “The environment here penetrates me with such sweetness that makes me feel more and more secure.” Nevertheless, he never gave up his synthetic, harsh and childish style, as in the pink and white cliffs on the still blue sea on “Fortress on a Cliff”.

Even today, inspiration can be found everywhere on Elba: just take a step further, get off the beaten track, climb to the top of a mountain, go out at sea by boat to discover a new cove, get lost in the alleys of the villages. You will always discover the magic of an unexpected glimpse, a new shade of light or a new, harmonious combination of colors, which you can catch on a picture, on a sketchbook, on a canvas or simply become a post on a social profile. Dedicated to those who admire the art of beauty.

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