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Chaplin and Costa

Rediscovering Expat Women Painters in Tuscany

April 28 – May 17, 2014

Villa Il Palmerino

Private Mythologies went on show at Il Palmerino Cultural Association from April 28, 2014 to May 17, 2014. The exhibition’s aim was to investigate and document the lives of Lola Costa and Elisabeth Chaplin, two friends and neighbors, who made the hills of Tuscany their creative haven. This comparative study of their styles and sources of inspiration draws significant parallels between their works, uncovering their many similarities, as well as spotlighting their artistic differences. The show,  rendered especially evocative because held in Costa's former home, focused on the artists’ intersecting themes which primarily celebrated the beauties of the surroundings countryside, and included numerous portraits of family members, neighbors and rural laborers.

By the 1900s, Florence had become the obligatory destination stop for Europeans, Americans, and prominent Italian writers of the period. Though Elisabeth Chaplin and Lola Costa were permanent residents in Tuscany, they were also enchanted by the spell of Florence and their lives as artists would help illustrate the power of Florence’s cultural aura. Chaplin was a native of France, while Costa had immigrated from England. Costa especially craved her own ‘room with a view.’ They both settled below Monte Ceceri and developed their artistic skills inspired by surrounding landscape. The two artists would often visit each other, following the footpath that led from Costa’s Villa Il Palmerino and Chaplin’s Il Treppiede. Each artist responded to their respective environments, creating a dialogue between their personal identities their personal insights about the land and its people, particularly within the domestic sphere.

Exhibition curators

Giovanna Giusti, Marilena Mosco.

Partners and sponsors

Advancing Women Artists, Il Palmerino Cultural Association, Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities, Pitti's Gallery of Modern Art, Consulate of the United States of America in Florence, Rossella Lari Restauro, Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze, Special Superintendency for the Historical, Artistic and Ethno-anthropological Heritage and for the Polo Museale of the city of Florence, The Florentine and The Florentine Press.

Learn more about the exhibition catalogue

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