Although Vito Campanella started to paint at the age of 14 in his native Monopoli, his love for visual arts began much earlier. He was born in 1932 and endured the sorrow, agony and shortage that surrounded World War II. In the aftermath of the armed conflict, daily life in Southern Italy changed forever. Allied planes crisscrossing the sky and ceaseless bombings left indelible memories he later translated into works of art.
As a child, Campanella used to attend both primary and art schools, where his painting gift thrived and ripened. His early calling soon turned into a sound career. In 1948 the young artist was selected to create a mural to adorn the local church and earned the Pintura delle Regioni Award in Naples.
Shortly after, Campanella was invited to show his paintings in Bari, where he was awarded at the age of 20. Later he moved to Florence where he enthusiastically participated in its rich cultural activities and continued to paint. Always on the move and eager to expand his aesthetic potential, he tried many different styles, including Pop art, abstraction and geometry before discovering in Surrealism his true field.
The sculptor G. Rossi introduced him to the great master Giorgio De Chirico and the ensuing friendship was a crucial experience for Campanella. Thanks to it he gained access to a philosophic realm in which painting had extraordinarily flourished and along whose paths Campanella was already strolling.
In Rome he met the renowned Salvador Dalí and their relationship was very important for the young painter.
While in Milan, he studied anatomy - the balance and symmetry of the human body - at the Academy of Brera Fine Arts School. Some years later he decided to join his family in Argentina. He promptly embraced Argentine and Latin American art movements yet never forgot his European links, as the exhibition of his works at the French Metamorphosis Salon could attest. From 1962 on, Campanella devoted his entire life to painting.
In his country of adoption he launched several celebrated series such as "Unicorns", "Alchemy", teeming with esoteric meanings or the acclaimed "Cosmic Musicians". His works were shown at the Joan Miró IX International Drawing Exhibition (Spain), XII International Painting Exhibition (French Riviera), Salon d’Autumme (Paris), II IAG International Painting Exhibition (Athens) and Argentine Surrealist Painters Show (Buenos Aires). In 1976 he earned the Golden Palm Award from the International Exhibition (Monte Carlo) and some years later, a Contemporary Art Award (Lyon).
A stint in the vast pampas inspired a series about a cherished poem, the "Martín Fierro", translated into wonderful works and shown in several Patagonian cities and the Malvinas Islands. Around that time the Argentine Postal Service issued a stamp bearing a Campanella’s drawing.
Vito Campanella is an Honorary Member of the International Arts Guild and Active Member of the Centre de Liaison des Artistes Peintres de France.
Other remarkable series followed, including "Greek Mythology” (Buenos Aires) and "Egg" (São Paulo), as well as astonishing works exhibited in Paris and Athens. The Holy Land was beautifully depicted on his "Biblical" paintings. The "Centaurs" series was created in Paris, where Campanella was nominated Honorary Member by the French Artists Association. The 80s were busy years. He showed his paintings in Montevideo, earned the Deloye Prize in Paris and was ordered Knight of the Italian Republic.
Campanella’s reputation continued to grow and his works were shown at the Tokyo’s Contemporary Art Museum and Jerusalem’s Freud Salon. His "Homage to Leonardo da Vinci" - painted in Europe - was acclaimed in Rome and Sao Paulo. About that time he created the "Woman…Women" series. He has illustrated a UNICEF post card.
"Cent Signatures", a book by art critic Charles André Rousseau, included Campanella among the top 100 artists. His works have been shown at Bologna’s Artefiera and his "Centuries Recollection" series, dedicated to the great masters, was praised in Buenos Aires, São Paulo and Rome alike. Campanella’s celebrity knew no boundaries. His paintings reached the Arts for Humanity Exhibition in Baghdad and he was nominated Fine Arts Academic Member by the Ligurian Studies Academy (Genoa) and Commander of St. George and St. Rose of America by the International Parliament for Safety and Peace.
The prominent Florentine Galleria degli Uffizzi acquired and exhibited a Campanella’s self-portrait. His works have been appreciated in Arte Roma (Rome), Art Expo NY (New York City) and New Masters (Miami, Florida) shows, the Breton Surrealism Salon (Lyon), Mitsokoshi Gallery (Tokyo) and exhibitions in Aspen (Colorado), Boca Raton (Florida) and Monte Carlo. His Surrealist jewels have corroborated his gift as skilled goldsmith.
More recently, the Municipal Fine Arts Museum of La Plata (Buenos Aires province) has assembled an important retrospective and the Argentine government has awarded his art achievements. He participated in an homage paid to The Beatles and Eva Peron in Buenos Aires. He has earned the Lawrence the Magnificent Prize from the Florence’s Modern Art Biennial and nominated Honorary Member by the Florentine Artists Association. By the turn of the century, he exhibited his works at the Gallerie de la Cathedrale (Monaco). His paintings have been shown at ArteBA (Buenos Aires), Art Expo NY (New York City), Art Chicago (Chicago, Illinois), Sacred Art Salon (Syracuse, Italy) and Luxembourg, where he has painted an imposing mural.
He has also been Buenos Aires’ Arteclasica Guest of Honor. In 2005, the Argentine Senate deservedly awarded Campanella’s cultural achievements. One year later, the artist became a Life Member of the Union of American Condors. In 2006, the Cultural House of São Paulo (Brazil) assembled an important retrospective exhibition and Campanella became a Distinguished Member of the Brazilian Academy for Art, Culture and History.
In 2007, Campanella received the Order of Merit as Commander bestowed by the Italian Republic and nominated Painter of the Year by the Buenos Aires Borgesean Association’s Proa magazine. In 2008, Campanella’s works were shown in an exclusive Stockholm art gallery, and in São Paulo (Brazil).
After more than 50 years devoted to painting Vito Campanella is a universal artist, a renowned painter called Master by the prestigious Swiss dictionary "Art Leaders of the World".
He was awarded with several distinctions:
- Second Prize "International Contemporary Arts Salon" Lyon 1973.
- First Prize "International Contemporary Painting Contest", Punta del Este, 1975.
- Great Prize “Golden Palm”, Montecarlo, 1978.
- "Deloye" Prize, Biennial Fine Arts Salon, Paris, 1982.
- "Lorenzo II Magnifico" Prize, Biennial International Contemporary Arts Salon, Florence 1999.
- Order of Merit, with the grade of Knight of the Italian Republic. Academic Of Honour, conferred by The "Ligure Academy of Genoa".
- Order of Saint George, with the grade of Knight Commander, conferred by "The International Parliament of Safety and Peace" USA .
- In 1995, in the Argentinean Government Palace, he received an Appreciation to his Artistic Career from the President of the Nation.
- In 2005, The Honourable National Senate of Argentina paid him homage when he reached 50 years with the Argentinean Painting.
- He is Honorary Member of The French Plastic Artists Association and The Florentine Painters Association. The cities of Punta del Este and La Plata have declared him Illustrious Guest.
- In 2007 The Italian Republic, honoured him with the Great Grade of Knight Commander.
Anche se Campanella Vito ha iniziato a dipingere all'età di 14 anni nella sua nativa Monopoli, (Puglia, Italia) il suo amore per le arti visive cominciò molto prima. E' nato nel 1932 e subito, dolore ed agonia circondavano la seconda guerra mondiale.
A seguito del conflitto armato, la vita quotidiana nel Sud Italia cambia per sempre.
Aerei alleati attraversano il cielo ed i bombardamenti incessanti lasciano ricordi indelebili, in seguito tradotte in opere d'arte.
Nel 1948 il giovane artista fu selezionato per creare un murales per abbellire la chiesa locale e si guadagnò il premio Pintura delle Regioni a Napoli.
Trasferitosi a Firenze, partecipò alle sue ricche attività culturali. Ha sperimentato molti stili diversi, tra cui la Pop art, l'astrazione e la geometria prima di scoprire in Surrealismo.
Lo scultore G. Rossi lo ha introdotto al maestro Giorgio De Chirico e la conseguente l'amicizia è stata un'esperienza fondamentale per Campanella. A Roma incontrò Salvador Dalí e, anche se il loro rapporto è stato davvero importante per il giovane pittore, fu abbastanza saggio da rimanere fedele solo a se stesso.
Ha studiato l'anatomia, l'equilibrio e la simmetria del corpo umano presso l'Accademia di Brera od Scuola Arti del Fuoco. Alcuni anni più tardi ha deciso di raggiungere la sua famiglia in Argentina.
In Argentina ha prontamente abbracciato i movimenti artistici latino-americani anche se non dimenticò mai i suoi legami europei, come la mostra delle sue opere presso il "Metamorfosi Salon" attesta. Dal 1962 in poi, Campanella ha dedicato tutta la sua vita alla pittura.