Biographia di Guglielmo Coladonato






Torricellan Artists

Coladonato wants to build a monument to peace

by Antonio Piccoli.

The exhibition of Coladonato’s paintings in the Council Room at Torricella provided a welcome chance to chat with “our” artist.

This, his third exhibition in our village, was even more successful than his others both with regard to the public and for sales, so much so that he had to defer closing it for an extra five days. That Guglielmo was born in Torricella is known by now to everyone (even the stones), as also are the facts that the Talent-Scout who spotted him was Salvador Dali, and that he has been exhibited almost all over the world.

On the other hand little is known about his childhood in Torricella or what he remembers about those difficult years.

He relates, “Of my early years I remember feeling great desperation as a child of six, for my mother had died when I was only four years old, and so I wanted to portray people from a different life than the one in which I was living. I created sculptures of people, but I buried them. Just think of that! We found them again 40 years later by digging them up.

Born in 1933, he went through the war as an “urchin” (scugnizzo), amongst the evacuees (refugees) in various zones in the countryside, living in fear of the Germans, amidst hunger and deepest gloom. “I left the village almost as soon as the War was over, when I was 12, all alone and, like so many other orphans, I went to a sort of a lager[1] at Lanciano. Gradually we managed to transform it into a village and thanks to the help of Ignazio Silone we built a small City which is still there to this day.” After his early phase as a sculptor, which lasted a good number of years, when he was married and had children, he started to paint for fun. That was the period in which he met Salvador Dali who almost forced him onto becoming an artist. Coladonato’s paintings on display at Art Galleries in Milan, London and New York, are full of pathos, sadness and humanity. “I am not unhappy,” he said, “it’s what is in front of me, what I observe, our people’s lives are sad. I am spontaneous, I have not studied art. The critics say that only spontaneity allows one to depict sadness, not what has been taught in school.”

Most of Coladonato’s paintings are “figurative” (symbolic) and the beauty of his technique lies in the art of portraying volumes with few “indicators” and few brush strokes.

His oil painting “Interior in the Evening” (interno a sera) is very beautiful, with light from the fire forming reflections on the people’s bodies, conferring a sort of three-dimensional effect.

Lately he had a great artistic re-awakening, struck by the daily anguish of present times: children who take drugs, nuclear wars and pollution. So he went back to painting life with the sadness that he sees around him. Let’s go on to other things, what Coladonato wants to do for Torricella. When he heard of our Association, he became a member straight away and became involved in the debate to hand.

“I heard in the Assembly that Torricella lacks plants, right! There are 200 members, let’s each buy one plant, we can each dig a hole and plant our plants.” Then he threw in : “The outcome of whatever undertaking the Association promotes should be finalised in terms of another undertaking. If we sell a lithograph, the money obtained must go to a named child in a particular hospital. With this method, anyone who buys, anyone taking part, knows that his money will not be wasted on something that doesn’t interest him, but on something that’s important for him too.”

The idea which most interests Coladonato, however, without a doubt is the creation for Torricella of a MONUMENT TO PEACE.

Mayor Martinelli spoke to him about this a while ago and he immediately started to plan it, speaking about  it to artist colleagues. Unfortunately this initiative is very onerous and for now it is still “in the drawer” (on hold). “If it is created, however, it will be really beautiful,” he says, “so the Association would benefit from getting it organized.

This type of monument will be something that nobody will ever be able to cancel”.

But how much will it cost?

“To find out its cost one must first make a model to be shown to everyone. Then, once a decision has been made, we would go on to discuss its economic feasibility. There are many ways of gathering the money required, amongst which is that of making not less than 200 copies of a lithograph, as many as the number of members, to obtain a useful sum, which, together with the funding from the Town Hall, will permit the go-ahead for construction. So then every person buying and participating in this initiative will be able to say that they too have contributed to the building of this monument.”

Translator's Note:

[1] Lager – concentration camp; gulag; in Nazi Germany these were concentration camps for prisoners of war or political prisoners; forced labour camps; extermination camps; a place where inhuman forms of segregation and maltreatment were carried out.


See a Biography of Guglielmo Coladonato

Translation courtesy of Dr. Marion Apley Porreca           

© Amici di Torricella         Year II        No 1  April 1990  page 12