Francesco Congiu Pes

Francesco Congiu Pes

The figure of Francesco Congiu Pes, along with many other exponents of the Nuoro’sBelle Époque, was passed on to posterity by Salvatore Satta’s literary transfiguration in his capital workIl giorno del giudizio (1977). In this work, the artist, that was named “Conzu Mandrone” (lazy Congiu)by his fellow citizens, was described as a "down-and-out half-painterwith unknown livelihoods”. Nothing further from the truth;"Cossu Boi" was a painter–despite being self-taught– and was undoubtedly not lazier thanthe majority of Nuoro’s people (he was, actually, since painting was considered a "sloth" by the society of his time). Furthermore, his livelihoods were not so mysterious, as he used to exchange his paintings – in asystem with no cash and no customers–with foodand, morerarely, with an economic equivalent. Only in 1995, the municipality of Nuoro dedicated the first retrospective exhibition to this singular but significant figure that lived between the 19th and the 20th century in Nuoro (for many years, his house was in Corso Garibaldi over the old Cinema Il Pidocchietto– where he was not happy to receive guests while he was painting landscapes and scenes of Sardinian life) and died in solitude. Today, five of his works –including the tender Ritratto di bambina– are part of the permanent collection of the MAN Museum, whereas the most of his works are jealously kept by collectors. One of his paintings is placed behind the altar of the Church Nostra Signora del Carmelo, in the private Chapel of theGuiso-Gallisay family, built in the early nineteenth century where the old Chiesa di San Leonardo was located.

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