Zinelli, Carlo

Background: Father is carpenter; mother dies when Carlo is 2 years old.
Education: until Carlo is 9 years old; farm hand; military service.
Profession/occupation: abattoir worker.
Art form/medium: gouache painting, drawing, music.
Start artwork: paints murals in his lodging in 1934; in hospital workshop since 1957.
Relevant info: in the army from 1938-1939; sent home for medical reasons.
(Solo-) exhibitions: 2003-04: Sète, Les Sables d’Olonne, Villeneuve d’Ascq.
Monograph: Gregorczyk, Audrey (red.); Carlo Zinelli (1916-1974), Paris 2003; exhibition catalogue Les Sables d’Olonne, Sète, Villeneuve d’Ascq, 2003-2004..
References: Bader, Alfred & Leo Navratil; Zwischen Wahn und Wirklichkeit. Kunst-Psychose-Kreativität, Luzern/Frankfurt, 1976, pp. 231-233; Outsider Art Source Book, p. 169; Carlano, Annie (ed.); Vernacular Visionaries. International Outsider Art, exhibition catalogue of the Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, 2003-2004, pp. 130-151.

In his tempera drawings Carlo uses a thin paintbrush like a pencil. He draws outlines and mostly fills these silhouette-like shapes with colour in parallel strokes. He draws plants, animals, boats, military vessels and human figures. His men and women only sometimes wear clothes except hats and shoes. They haven’t got naturalist features, the faces always painted in side-view. Peculiar for Carlo become the rhythmic rows of similar schematic items or persons. Time and again we find the same motifs, birds, boats, etc. The masses of people are fully isolated, without interrelation. He fills the entire format up to its margins. The drawings have a very graphic look.

Carlo Zinelli
1916 San Giovanni Lupatoto, Italy - 1974 Chievo, Italy