Italian period

(Dance in modern city oil on wood 1987)

Cesare Oliva’s Italian Period (1987-90)

Welcome to the mesmerizing world of Cesare Oliva's Italian period, a phase characterized by dynamic figures of extraordinary anatomy, reflecting the pulse of ordinary citizens inhabiting bustling metropolises. As we embark on this gallery exhibition, we delve into a journey through Oliva's artistic lens, capturing the essence of city life in a unique and expressive manner.

Urban Vignettes

Oliva’s paintings from this period eloquently portray human bodies and metropolitan architecture, skillfully rendered with linear precision and expressionistic bursts of color. These works serve as vibrant snapshots of large cities, where human figures preponderate with their bodies and movement, almost as if staging an invasion of urban spaces.

Inhabiting Metropolises

The depicted scenes unfold with an almost choreographed dance—the figures dance, jump, and stroll gigantically through the city streets. It’s an invasion of life and energy, a reflection of Oliva’s own experiences having spent a significant part of his life in various continents and inhabiting diverse metropolises.

Yearning for Freedom, Embedded within the canvases is a sense of freedom, hinting at a desire to break free from the city confines dominated by cars and monotonous urban structures. The buildings, often homologated and repetitive, are portrayed like columbaria, enclosing human lives within walls. Yet, Oliva's human figures escape these concrete confines, spilling onto the streets, imposing their biology in stark contrast to the inorganic surroundings.

L'attesa Cesare Oliva
Venezia Cesare Oliva

Arrival in Italy

The Italian period, aptly named “archè” by the artist, marks a significant transition. In 1987, Oliva, accompanied by his wife Barbara and their children, made the move from Montreal to Italy. Settling in San Felice del Circeo and Sabaudia, the shift is palpable in the two distinct types of works on display. One set inspired by the moment of departure from Montreal, capturing the essence of farewell, while the other reflects the artist’s arrival in Sabaudia, embracing the allure of a new life in the Mediterranean.

Departure and Arrival Immerse yourself in the narrative of departure and arrival, as Oliva's canvases transport you between the bustling streets of Montreal and the serene allure of Sabaudia. Each painting serves as a chapter in the artist's personal story, inviting you to connect with the emotions embedded in every brushstroke.

Explore the nuances of Oliva’s brushstrokes, where every canvas becomes a window into the artist’s exploration of life in Italian metropolises. The dance of figures and the escape from concrete confines evoke a sense of liberation and a yearning for a life unrestrained.

A Tapestry of Life

Enjoy the exhibition, where Cesare Oliva’s Italian period is not merely an artistic phase but a living tapestry woven with the threads of departure, arrival, freedom, and the vibrant energy of metropolitan life. It’s a celebration of the ordinary citizens who become extraordinary in Oliva’s lens, a testament to the artist’s ability to encapsulate the essence of life on canvas.


As you traverse through these canvases, envision the metamorphosis of Cesare Oliva's artistic expression during this pivotal Italian period.

His ability to encapsulate the vibrancy, movement, and human spirit within the confines of the canvas offers a profound reflection on the urban landscapes that shape our lives.

Enjoy the exhibition, where each stroke tells a story of departure, arrival, and the rich tapestry of Italian life through