Antoniucci Volti (1915-1989) was a sculptor, painter, and printmaker, and born in Italy. He spent most of his life in France, and settled in Villefranche sur Mer as a young boy for many years, and died in Paris.
Although, twenty-eight years have passed since his death, there is a twitter account in his name. His artwork is selling through online auctions, and eBay—I wonder what he would have thought about that?
Volti Museum in the Citadel
If you are in Villefranche sur Mer, you should visit the Citadel, (currently the Hotel de Ville) that the Duke of Savoy built in the 16th century that houses many of his sculptures.
There is something particularly enticing about small museums. In the first place, crowds are nonexistent. Secondly, the environmental setting is particular to an artist and emphasizes an aspect of his talent. In this case, the stone walls of the citadel (interior chambers) are an excellent setting for a stone cutter’s son who won a gold medal in Paris at the age of 17. Thirdly, there is no attendant to tell you NOT to take photos. For me, this was great news!
Volti’s Garden Party
Your first glance… is a garden setting fitting for a garden party. The garden has bistro chairs and tables, not the normal benches decorating museums. Here the pieces have a simple beauty, peaceful and portray a calm demeanor. There is no hint of politics or a hidden message. Small, yet not overpowering. The sculptures are life size, arranged in a fashion that makes one feel in comfortable company.
Warmth in cold stone
The feeling was more of a gallery than a museum. “I’ll take that one!” Beautiful pieces for sale (I wish). I fully expected servers with wine and hors d’oeuvres to be slipping by as I was making my choice. There were numerous takes on the same theme, and being able to walk around each piece gave countless perspectives. How do you imbue such warmth in cold stone?
From seeing over 50 large size pieces in Villefranche, I thought his “women” were proportionate in size, with less exaggeration that is seen with other artists, although still voluptuous. While strolling through these rooms or cave-like chambers, you see that nothing was too aggressive and I liked his balance. The body is physically stable in reclining position.
It’s the perfect setting for Volti’s sculptures. One medium against another: with the art form of architecture (stone walls) found in the Citadel, and the sculpture. An outstanding setting for sure.
Then there is the casemates!
One long gallery corridor and its lighting was very effective. An unusual facet of Volti’s art was the coupling of people and triplets.
Les Trois Grâces
One of my favorite is the young ladies holding hands. Some had expressions which said, “talk to me,” a comfortable intimacy, while others were just looking into each other’s eyes. It’s too bad we can’t touch the material.
Sculptures have different views and it is art that you can walk around.
Nu de Rochas
Art in the 20th Century
Of course art can be in several different forms, since technology creeped into the world in the last two decades. Of the many different mediums of art, Sculpture is my favorite. It’s visual art and materials of the earth are used.
All things considered, I hope you can appreciate sculpture, if nothing else, roam around at the Citidel. There are two other museums. Goetz-Boumeester, and Collection Roux. You will love the Citadel, and this museum is free. The fortress sits over the harbor and you can walk in one of the watchtowers and look out at the splendid view, with the 500-year-old tiled-roof above your head!
For further information, see www.tourisme-villefranche-sur-mer.com and www.villefranche-sur-mer.fr
Do you have a favorite tiny museum? Please share with me.