Other Modern: An Introductory Survey of the Work of Carlo Donati

Regrettably, I can dig up little in the way of information about the ecclesiastical painter Carlo Donati. What I can tell you is that he was actively engaged in various ecclesiastical projects in the period spanning from around 1911 until around the time of the beginning of the Second World Word. What I also can tell our readers is that he presents a characteristic example of what we call "Other Modern" -- and to repeat what that is for our readers who have never come across this term before, it represents a style of modernity in art that, while modern, is yet still strongly rooted in the classical tradition. In other words, it is non-rupturist style of modernism. 

Carlo Donati's work certainly falls into this genre, containing elements of both Art Nouveau (considered by many to be the first 'modern' style, active between the 1890's until around 1915) and, arguably, Art Deco (itself active from around 1910 until the 1940's.). In short, the two styles overlap so it likely should come as little surprise we might see their respective influences overlap as well.  The difference between the two can be summed up as follows: Art Nouveau contains much more in the way of organic, curvilinear forms (to put it into more popular terms, think of the settings that were created for the elves in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films) while Art Deco tends more toward angular lines and the recognizable influence of the machine age. Overall, I would suggest Donati's work is more strongly characterized by Art Nouveau than it is by Art Deco, but one can certainly find elements of the latter in his work.

At any rate,  our purpose today is not to dive into any one specific project but rather the just give you a general sense of his style and some of the different projects he worked on. Enjoy.



1911-1913 - Ss. Peter and Paul


1924 - St. Charles Borromeo

1924 - St. Cecilia

1930 - St. Joseph

1911-1913 - Stations of the Cross

1924-25 - Stations of the Cross


1931 - Baptism of Christ




1928 - The prophet Isaiah



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