The Masséna museum in Nice is offering its summer exhibition until September 17, 2023 on the theme: "Seeing the Riviera in painting, and beyond". This highlights the works of the painter Emmanuel Costa (1833-1921), known for his large painted decorations, sacred and profane.
The exhibition invites us to go back in time through a hundred 19th century Nice landscapes, between sea and mountains… and beyond! Emmanuel Costa was not only inspired by his native Riviera, from Estérel to Liguria, but also by other places such as Lyon, Paris, Lons-le-Saunier and even Madrid and Warsaw.
Born in 1833 in Menton, he experienced the years of the change of sovereignty of Nice, which became French in 1860. Like many of his contemporaries, he was torn between ancestral feelings for the house of Savoy, a keen interest in the unity Italian and the desire to live within the French State.
With his three sons, Emmanuel Costa has multiplied the interior decorations of several hotels in Nice and Monaco, of most of the performance halls of Nice such as the former Municipal Casino of Place Masséna, the Cercle international de Nice, the Grand Hôtel de Nice, the Hotel de Paris in Monte-Carlo, etc. Of these immense decorations, we still have today the ceiling of the Opéra de Nice, typical of this academic art which is completely in keeping with the eclectic style of 19th century resort architecture.
Even more than by his religious and decorative works, the notoriety of Emmanuel Costa was first built around the landscapes of Nice and the coast that he never stopped painting in oil and especially in watercolor. . It is part of a long tradition of landscape painters-travellers who have worked on site and made the country of Nice known through original works and their reproductions in prints.
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