- Also known as
primary name: Lega, Achille
- individual; printmaker; Italian; Male
- Life dates
- Text from Martin Hopkinson, 'Italian Prints 1875-1975', BMP, 2007
Born at Brisighella in the province of Ravenna, Lega moved to Florence with his family, where he received his first artistic training from the landscape painter, Ludovico Tommasi, who taught him to etch. Lega also attended the Accademia di Belle Arti and the Scuola Libera d'Incisione, where the influence of Fattori was still strong. There, he encountered Celestino Celestini, who was to be his more significant second master. Lega learnt woodcut in his mother's home town of Pistoia, probably from Alberto Calignani, and it was there, in 1915, that he exhibited two woodcuts. The following year, he published a woodcut in the Pistoian journal, 'La Tempra', on which Giovanni Costetti, Arturo Checchi, and Giovanni Michelucci also collaborated. Lega had met Ottone Rosai in Florence at the Scuola Libera, and his early prints are similar in style to the work of Rosai. Like many of his Italian contemporaries, he was much interested in the work of Cézanne. Lega's woodcuts have a hint of the more expressionist work of Lorenzo Viani. Miniature match-sticklike figures populate his soft - ground etchings of Tuscan townscapes, in which the buildings totter, as if to convey their antiquity. The possibility of Lega's interest in the early etchings of Casorati is raised by his 'I Renaioli' of 1916.
In Florence, he frequented the Caffè delle Giubbe Rosse, and became a close friend of Primo Conti. Lega went through a brief period of attachment to futurism between 1917 and 1919. He was one of the 40 artists, who exhibited in the 1919 exhibition organised by Marinetti at the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte di Palazzo Cova in Milan. However, Lega soon returned to his previous style. In the early 1920s, he took up art criticism, writing reviews of the work of such artists as Soffici, Carrà, De Chirico, and Giovanni Costetti in 'La rivista della Domenica', 'In nuovo Paese', and 'Il Corriere di Firenze'. He was one of the earliest critics to support Morandi. Lega also contributed prints, drawings, and criticism to Mino Maccari's 'Il Selvaggio', and exhibited with the Gruppo del Selvaggio. He took up drypoint in 1925, and made two lithographs in 1930, but the majority of his intaglio prints were in pure etching. Lega's later etchings of Tuscan farm buildings and hilly landscapes were devoid of figures. He was a friend of Carrà, whose style he approached in his 1927 'Castiglioncello e Fornace'. Lega also made a few portrait etchings. After his unexpected early death from a fever in Florence, a retrospective was mounted there at the Galleria dell'Accademia, in the catalogue for which, another close friend, Soffici, wrote the introductory essay.
- S.Bartolini, 'AL, l'opera incisa', Reggio Emilia 1980 (c.30 numbers)