1902 - 29th November
At three quarters past midnight, Carlo Levi was born. He is the son of Ercole and Annetta Treves, the sister of the socialist leader Claudio and the psychiatrist Marco. On hearing the news of the birth, C. Treves sent the family a postcard depicting Mazzini.
1915

PAINTING

He painted his first picture: his house in the morning.

1917

PAINTING

He painted his first portrait, inspired by “Autoritratto col guanto di Dürer” (cf. catalogue Levi si ferma a Firenze, edited by C.L. Ragghianti, Fratelli Alinari, Florence 1977, p. 28).

LIFE

After attending the Liceo Alfieri he enrolled in the Facoltà di Medicina of the Università di Torino.

1918
November – He met Piero Gobetti. “Energie Nove” began publishing.
1921

POLITICS

Occupation of the Società di Cultura by the Gobettian group. Levi also took part in it, jokingly speaking of a “coup”.

1922

POLITICS

October/November – On a journey with his brother Riccardo, he went to Florence, Rome and Naples. The collaboration began with Gobetti’s “Rivoluzione Liberale”.

1923

PAINTING

He exhibited a portrait of his father at the Quadriennale of Torino. Gobetti publishing house was born. He met Casorati through Gobetti.

1924

LIFE

He graduated with honors in Medicine. He exhibited at the 14th Biennale di Venezia with Arcadia. The “Rivoluzione Liberale” group voted for the communists in the general elections. It has for some time been romantically linked to Maria Marchesini. In the house of Giacomo Debenedetti he met Umberto Saba, whom he would later see in Florence during the Nazi occupation.

1924 - 1928

LIFE

He became the assistant of Professor Micheli at the Medical Clinic of the Università di Torino. He conducted experimental work on hepatopathies and biliary tract diseases. In Paris, he attended the advanced courses of professors Bourguignon, Vidal, Besançon and others.

1925 - 1926

LIFE

He served military service, first in Florence and then in Moncenisio. He frequented the Rosselli family. He witnessed the attack against Salvemini.
1925 First stay in Paris. He stayed in his studio Rue de la Convention.
1st November. “La Rivoluzione Liberale” was forced to close. He met Edoardo Persico, who had moved to Turin that year.
1926, 16th February. Gobetti died. The family bought the villa in Alassio. He published the article “Soffici a Venezia” on “Il Baretti”. He participated in the XV Biennale di Venezia with his brother and sister.

1927

LIFE

Second stay in Paris. He became romantically involved with Vitia Gourevitch. He met M. Andreis and A. Garosci. He attended the meetings of “Il Baretti” in Via Fabro and discussed with Monti, De Rosa, Passerin d’Entrèves, and Brosio. He decided to dedicate himself exclusively to painting.

1928

PAINTING

Third stay in Paris. “Il Baretti” closed.

1929

POLITICS

With Nello Rosselli and Riccardo Bauer he created Lotta politica. He took part in the exhibition “Sei pittori di Torino” with J. Boswell, G. Chessa, N. Galante, F. Menzio and E. Paulucci, that stopped in Turin (January), Genoa (April-May) and Milan (November).
August. The “Giustizia e Libertà” movement was established. Escaped from the Lipari islands of Rosselli brothers. He moved his Parisian studio to Rue du Cotentin.

1929 - 1931

PAINTING

He had the organizational responsibility of the Turin group “Giustizia e Libertà” with M. Andreis. He designed the stamps and the cover of Lussu’s book “La catena” with the symbol of “Giustizia e Libertà”.
1930. He participated in the XVII Biennale di Venezia and in the second Turin exhibition of the “Sei” at the Sala Guglielmi in Turin. With Menzio and Paulucci he exhibited at the Bloomsbury Gallery in London, with a presentation of Lionello Venturi.
25th November-5th December. Collective exhibition “The Italian Novecento” in Buenos Aires. He painted “L’eroe cinese”.
1931 January. He exhibited at the Galleria d’Arte in Rome. He collaborated on the Turin paper “Voci d’officina”, written by R. Poli, M. Andreis, A. Garosci, L. Scala, B. Allason, A. Rho and others. He participated in the drafting of the “Programma rivoluzionario di Giustizia e Libertà” with Rosselli, Lussu, Tarchiani, Salvemini, and Nitti. Many of the members of “Giustizia e Libertà” group collaborated in the “Cultura” of Einaudi. In Rome, together with Paulucci, he became interested in scenography for the Cines film company. He contributed to the realization of the film Patatrac by G. Righelli and Ricordo d’infanzia by M. Soldati. He met Guttuso.
December. Exhibition with Chessa, Menzio, Paulucci and Spazzapan at the Paris gallery Jeune Europe, with presentation in the catalog of L. Venturi.

1931 - 1932

LIFE

In Paris he met Stravinsky and Prokofiev. He got in close contact with Garosci, Ferrata and L. Ferrero, with whom he frequented the Rouget restaurant on Boulevard St. Michel. Meetings with Noventa, Moravia, Chiaromonte, De Chirico, Severini and Tozzi.

PAINTING

1932 June. First personal exhibition in Paris, at the Jeune Europe Gallery. He participated in the XVIII Biennale di Venezia. He published, on “Quaderni di Giustizia e Libertà”, “Seconda lettera dall’Italia” and “Il concetto di autonomia” nel programma di “Giustizia e Libertà”.

1932 - 1933

POLITICS

He acted as an intermediary between Turin and the exiled.

1932 - 1934

LIFE

Almost exclusively living in Paris.
1933 He attended the funeral of his uncle Claudio Treves in Paris. He published in the “Quaderni di Giustizia e Libertà”, “In morte di Claudio Treves e Piero Gobetti” and “La Rivoluzione Liberale”.
March. He moved to No. 6 of Villa Chauvelot, Paris.
June. Personal exhibition at the Bonjean gallery. Contacts with Unafilm.

1933 - 1935

POLITICS

He worked for the organizational center of “Giustizia e Libertà” with Vittorio Foa and Leone Ginzburg.

1934

POLITICS

13th March. He was arrested in Alassio and incarcerated in Turin for suspected involvement in the movement of “Giustizia e Libertà”, following the arrest of S. Segre and the escape of Mario Levi to Ponte Tresa (“Togo affair”).
26th April. “La Libertà” published an appeal by some artists resident in Paris (including Léger, Chagall, Derain) for the liberation of Levi.
9th May. He was released. The Commissione provinciale per l’ammonizione e il confino di polizia orders his admonition for two years. His request for returning the drawings made in prison was turned down. He worked with Soldati for Lux Film, directed by musicologist Gatti.

PAINTING

Participated in a traveling exhibition in the United States.

1934 - 1935

LIFE

Long stays in Alassio, alternating with Turin. Relations with Foa and “La Cultura” (Einaudi, Antonicelli, Pavese, Cajumi etc.), on which review he used to sign with continued, on which he signs with the pseudonym “Tre stelle”, continued.

1935

April. He designed the cover for the book of M. Soldati “America primo amore”.
15th May. He was arrested in Turin.
23rd May. He was questioned by the political police in Turin and then transferred to Regina Coeli prison in Rome.
15th July. The Provincial Commission of Rome for the assignment to the confinement of police sentenced Carlo Levi to three years of confinement, that had to be served in Grassano (Matera).
23rd July. He appealed to the Appeal Committee.
3rd August. He arrived in Grassano. First accommodation at the hotel L. Prisco, then in one of the houses of the Schiavone family. During the period of confinement he painted at least 70 canvases.
20th August. Arrival of Paola Levi (to whom he was now romantically linked), who left the following September 2nd.
30th August. The prefect of Matera proposed to the Ministro degli Interni the transfer of Levi to Aliano, in order to avoid the arrival of luggage and friends who could escape censorship.
17th September. His sister Luisa arrived in Grassano.
18th September. He transferred to Aliano. He stayed at Albergo Moderno.
23rd September. He compiled a list of persons with whom he intended to correspond.
5th October. His sister Luisa left for Turin.
20th October. He stayed in a house owned by the relatives of the archpriest of Aliano.
30th November. He stayed in Grassano for a week, to complete some paintings.

1935 - 1936

LIFE

Drawed up a plan of remediation and anti-malarial prophylaxis for the territory of Aliano.

1936

LIFE

9th February. Letter of protest to the Quaestor of Matera against the prohibition given him to practice medicine.
February-March. He went to Turin for the funeral of his uncle Marco (“the doctor uncle” present in “L’Orologio”, pp. 270-277), whom Carlo was very attached to.

PAINTING

1rst May. Opening of the exhibition of the Società Promotrice di Belle Arti of Turin. There, he presented himself with three paintings of Lucan subjects.

POLITICS

20th May. The Ministro degli Interni ordered the release of political prisoners on the occasion of the proclamation of the Empire.
26th May. He left for Turin, where he resumed political work.

PAINTING

November. Personal exhibition at the Galleria Il Milione in Milan, in which he exhibited works painted in exile.
December. Personal exhibition at the Galleria Genova in Genoa, with presentation of G. Ferrata.

1937

PAINTING

May. Personal exhibition at Galeria La Cometa di Roma, with presentation of S. Solmi.
10th June. Murder of the Rosselli brothers in Bagnoles-sur-l’Orne. He painted a self-portrait in a bloody shirt.
November. Designed and acted as scenographer for the film Pietro Micca in Rome.
December. Exhibited in New York for the Anthology of Contemporary Italian Painting.

1938

LITERATURE

He composed, between Nice and Cannes, some short and intimate lyric elegiac. Spent some long winter evenings in the company of F. Venturi, A. Garosci and P. Vittorelli. He collaborated on the weekly magazine “Giustizia e Libertà”.

1939

POLITICS

September-December. He was forced to flee to France, in La Baule, near St. Nazaire in Brittany. There he drafted, in the company of “Vico and the Bible”, “Paura della libertà”.

1940

LIFE

Stayed mainly between Cannes and Marseille. During this period he refused to go to the United States, although he could benefit from the international visa that Roosevelt offered to persecuted European intellectuals.

1941

POLITICS

He returned to Italy. In Milan he met Ugo La Malfa, in order to agree on terms and methods for the continuation of the clandestine struggle. Joined the “Partito d’Azione”.

1942

LIFE

He published in Prospettive the essay “Paura della pittura” (collected, in 1946, in the Einaudian edition of “Paura della libertà”). He settled in Florence, where he became one of the main animators of the “Partito d’Azione”. He studied in Piazza Donatello. He met Delfini, Montale, Gadda, Bazlen, Q. Martini, Cancogni, Tobino, Antonicelli, Timpanaro sr. and P. Santi.

1943

POLITICS

April. He was arrested and sent to the “Murate” prison, where he remained until 26th July.
September. He was a guest of Montale, when “the days of misfortune” began (Montale welcomed many anti-fascist partisans and members of the CLN).

1943 - 1944

LITERATURE

December-July. In Fiesole and then in Florence, in Piazza Pitti, where he remained clandestine, he composed “Cristo si è fermato a Eboli”. During this time he met Saba and his daughter Linuccia, who will be his partner until the end.
He performed some monotypes on the theme of war, lived or foreseen.

1943 - 1945

LIFE>

He became member of the “Commissione stampa del Chi” and of the “Commissione di architetti e di tecnici per la ricostruzione del centro storico di Firenze”.

1944

POLITICS

After the liberation of Florence (11th August), he participated as a representative of the Toscan’s “Partito d’Azione al Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale”.
September. Assumed the condition of the daily newspaper “La Nazione del Popolo”, organ of the CLN.

1945

LIFE

24th April. He was appointed President of the “ Commissione urbanistica ed edilizia del Comitato per la ricostruzione della provincia di Firenze”.
June. He moved to Rome, where he directed “L’Italia libera”, the national organ of the “Partito d’Azione”, until February 1946.

LITERATURE

Einaudi published “Cristo si è fermato a Eboli”, that was translated into various languages and becomes best-seller in the United States.

1946

POLITICS

The founding manifesto of the Nuova Secessione Artistica Italiana was published, with Birolli, Cassinari, Morlotti, Pizzinato, Santomaso, Vedova, Viani; among the promoters there are also Levi, Guttuso and Mafai and Marini.
April. Personal exhibition at the Galleria del Bosco in Turin.
May. He candidated for the Constituent Assembly on the list of the Alleanza repubblicana, along with Dorso, Fiore and Rossi-Doria, in the Bari-Foggia and Potenza-Matera colleges, where he returned for the first time after confinement. In Basilicata he met Scotellaro. He received 252 preference votes.
December. Personal exhibition at Galleria Lo Zodiaco in Rome, with a catalogue presented by Ragghianti. The collaboration began at “Stampa”. “Paura della libertà” was published.

1947 - 1948

PAINTING

1947 May. First American personal exhibition at Wildenstein Gallery of New York.

POLITICS

December. He went to the founding congress of the Fronte del Mezzogiorno.
He participated in the “Movement for Peace”: he met, among others, Neruda and Curie. He produced a series of satirical drawings for the newspaper “L’Italia socialista” directed by Garosci. 1948 He exhibited at the XXIV Biennale, in a dedicated room. Il Fronte nuovo delle Arti triumphed in Venice.

PAINTING

February. Personal exhibition at Galleria L’Obelisco in Rome.
Ragghianti’s monograph on his pictorial production was published in the U editions of Florence.

1949

POLITICS

He participated in the “Assise del Mezzogiorno” with Amendola, Gatto and Quasimodo.

1950

POLITICS

He participated in the Congresso della Resistenza in Venice.

LITERATURE

He published “L’Orologio”(Einaudi).

1951 - 1952

PAINTING

1951 January. He participated in the “Seconda mostra dell’arte contro la barbarie” at the Galleria di Roma, organized by the realist painters Penelope, Guttuso, Mafai, Trombadori, Socrates, in response to Eisenhower’s visit.

LIFE

He wrote a series of articles on Polesine’s flooding. 1951-1952 He made a trip to Calabria, from Melissa to Sila, accompanied by Scotellaro. He also visited Sicily and Sardinia.

PAINTING

1952 March. Personal exhibition at Galleria La Colonna in Milan.

1953

PAINTING

February-March. At the Galleria Il Pincio in Rome he exhibited two groups of paintings on Calabrian subjects. May-June. The report Contadini di Calabria was published on “Illustrazione Italiana”.

1954

PAINTING

He took part in the XXVII Biennale di Venezia, exhibiting 50 paintings in a personal room, with a presentation of Garosci in the catalogue. He joined the group of neorealist painters. He wrote the prefaces to J. De Castro, “Geografia della fame” (De Donato) and R. Scotellaro, “E fatto giorno” (Mondadori).

1955

PAINTING

March. Personal exhibition with the series “Gli Amanti” at Galleria Il Pincio in Rome, with presentation by Calvino in catalogue. He participated in the conference of Matera on Scotellaro. He made a trip to the USSR, and his third trip to Sicily. He exhibited, at the 7th Quadriennale in Rome, “Lamento for Rocco Scotellaro”. He took part of a Ministerial Commission for the defense of the Via Appia Antica.

LITERATURE

He published “Le parole sono pietre” (Tre giornate in Sicilia) (Einaudi). Preface to “Uva puttanella” (Laterza) by R. Scotellaro.

1956 - 1957

LITERATURE

1956 January. Journey to India. 3rd December. He published in “Il Punto” a Letter to Soviet writers. “Il futuro ha un cuore antico” (Einaudi), with which he wins the Premio Viareggio, was published. Published a series of essays on figurative criticism on the “Illustrazione Italiana”. 1957 Commemoration of Di Vittorio, Dorso and Salvemini. 17th November. Speech on unemployment at the Teatro Politeama of Palermo. He collaborated with the Bpr Group on the realization of the masonry tomb of R. Scotellaro. Preface to C. De Brosses, “Viaggio in Italia”. “Lettere familiari” (Parenti).

1958

POLITICS

May. In the general election he candidated as senator on the PSI lists for the College of Acireale. Foreword to L. Sterne, “La vita e le opinioni di Tristram Shandy, gentiluomo” (Einaudi). Trip to Germany.

1959

LITERATURE

Trip to China. He published “La doppia notte dei tigli” (Einaudi).

1960

PAINTING

January. Collective exhibition at the Galleria Chiurazzi in Rome. According to critics, the seven paintings he exhibited mark a turning point in his artistic journey.
May.

LITERATURE

Address on “Occupazione e sviluppo nel Mezzogiorno” (“Lavoro e sviluppo nel Mezzogiorno” of Palma di Montechiaro).
July. Services in the section “Parole chiare” of ABC on the insurrectional days of Genoa, Reggio Emilia and other parts of the country.
6th August. Speech in Piazza della Libertà in Reggio Emilia on occasion of the thirtieth year from the day in which five anti-fascist activists died (then put as a preface to R. Nicolai, Reggio Emilia, 7th July 1960, Editori Riuniti). Preface to “Stendhal, Rome Naples and Florence” (Parenti). Published “Un volto che ci somiglia” (Ritratto dell’Italia) (Einaudi).

1961

PAINTING

May. He realized a large oil panel of 18.50 x 3.20m for the Padiglione della Lucania at the Italian exhibition Italia 61- Mostra dell’Unità d’Italia.

LITERATURE

Preface to P.P. Pasolini, “Accattone” (Rome, FM). Preface to the catalogue of Guttuso’s exhibition in Moscow.

1962

POLITICS

He signed the “Appello dei 12”, calling for Italy’s involvement in the atomic war.

PAINTING

April-May. Personal exhibition at Galleria La Nuova Pesa in Rome (works realized between 1929 and 1934), with presentation in the catalogue of A. Del Guercio.
Second trip to Sardinia. Preface to “Autobiografia del fascismo”, curated by E. Nizza (La Pietra). Preface to M. Pantaleone, “Mafia e politica” (Einaudi).

1963
Letters to Alicata and Khrushchev.
28th April. He was elected senator in the college of Civitavecchia as an independent in the lists of the PCI and joined the mixed group. Joined the “Commissione istruzione pubblica e belle arti”.
21st December. First speech to the Senate on the Moro government. Personal exhibition of drawings and monotypes at the Galleria La Cavourrina in Turin. Preface to I. Buttitta, “La peddi nova” (Feltrinelli). Preface to “Notte sull’Europa”, edited by F. Etnasi and R. Forti (Rome).
1964
He joined the “Commissione d’indagine per la tutela e la valorizzazione del patrimonio storico, archeologico, artistico e del paesaggio”(Commissione Franceschini). He coordinated with Mr Vedovato the Second “Gruppo di studi”, responsible for investigating medieval, modern and contemporary historical and artistic heritage, and drew up the report on contemporary art (published in the first volume of the “Atti della Commissione”, p. 381).
14th April. Address to the Senate on cultural heritage.
1st August. Speech to the Senate on confidence in the second Moro government. “Tutto il miele è finito” was published by Einaudi.
1965
He participated in several commemorative exhibitions for the Resistance.
September-October. He presented 48 works at the historical exhibition “I Sei” in Turin, organized by the Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna in Turin.
1966
26th October. Speech to the Senate on building speculation in Agrigento. 11th November. Speech to the Senate on the flooding in Florence. Personal exhibition at the Galleria Piemonte Artistico e Culturale of Turin. Exhibition of 90 landscapes of Alassio. He wrote the preface to the catalogue of Guttuso’s exhibition in East Berlin.
1967
May. Personal exhibition at the Circolo culturale Rinascita di Matera. Exhibited 71 works from 1935 to 1967 on meridional topic.
June. Personal exhibition at the Pro-Loco of Nereto (Teramo).
27th June. Speech to the Senate on the law for police.
He founded, together with P. Cinanni and others, the Filef (Federazione Italiana Lavoratori Emigrati e Famiglie). A special issue of the magazine “Galleria”, dedicated to him, was published (XVII, 3-6, May-December), with numerous interventions and testimonies. It also collected some unpublished texts. Preface to U. Saba, “L’amicizia” (Mondadori).
1968
Personal exhibition at Galleria La Nuova Pesa in Rome, Carlo Levi, “Paesaggi di Alassio”.
19th May. He was re-elected senator in Velletri’s constituency on the PCI – Psiup list. He joined the parliamentary group of the independent left. Joined the “Commissione esteri”.
1969
May. Personal exhibitions at Galleria La Barcaccia in Rome (where he would exhibit many times in the following years) and Montecatini.
11th August. Speech to the Senate on the crisis of the center-left.
1970
7th April. Speech to the Senate on Rumor government.
September. A large anthological exhibition with works related to the south, was organized by M. De Micheli in Lorica (Sila), as part of the second edition of the “Incontri Silani”.
1971
January. Retrospective exhibition at the Galleria La Gradiva in Florence.
October. Personal exhibition at Galleria La Noce in Rome, with some graphic works.
1973
28th January. He was affected by retinal detachment, following which he underwent two surgeries at the Hospital San Domenico di Roma. In a state of temporary blindness he made 140 drawings, and wrote, using a special frame, that would posthumously be called “Quaderno a cancelli” (Einaudi).
1974
March. With Cagli and Guttuso, he was commissioned by General Beolchini to perform three works to commemorate the massacre of the Fosse Ardeatine. Cagli illustrated the oppression, Guttuso the massacre and Levi the liberation. The works were then donated to the monumental complex on 25th March.
September. Personal exhibition at the Mantua’s Palazzo del Tè. It was the first major retrospective, with about 200 works from 1922 to 1974, and aroused wide critical and public interest. At the end of the exhibition, in November, was held a workshop with the participation of U. Attardi, Pasolini, Soldati and Del Guercio on the theme “Influenze letterarie e impegno civile nell’itinerario pittorico di C. Levi”.
He took part in a debate on the “murals” dedicated to Di Vittorio. He wrote the presentation to the lithograph folder of Augusto Murer, published posthumously with the title Le mani dei braccianti. He created some drawings inspired by Baudelaire’s “Les fleurs du mal”, posthumously published in a portfolio edited by G.P. Berto, “Mille acqueforti, omaggio a Carlo Levi”. He painted the billboard for the next Filef Convention.
7th-10th December. He made his last visit to Basilicata, presenting a portfolio of seven lithographs inspired by Christ, engraved by the publisher Esposito of Turin and realized a mural in San Costantino Albanese (PZ), with the charcoal from a brazier and chalks, which reproduced three young people with Albanian costumes.
Preface to R. Scotellaro, “Uno si distrae al bivio” (Laterza). Preface to P. Cinanni, “Emigrazione e unità operaia” (Feltrinelli).
23rd December. He was admitted to the Policlinico Gemelli in Rome.
1975
4th January. He died after a few days of coma. He was buried in Aliano. La Galleria Persiana of Palermo exhibited his latest work, Apollo e Dafne, performed on a tambourine covered with goat leather the day before hospitalization.
Posthumously was published Coraggio dei miti (“Scritti contemporanei 1922-1974”), an anthology of writings, also including some unpublished works, edited by G. De Donato (De Donato Editore).

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