Carlo Zinelli

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Carlo Zinelli (Italian, 1916–1974)
Photo credit: Courtesy Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York.

Born in the rural Italian countryside near Verona, Carlo Zinelli worked as a farm laborer and a butcher's apprentice until he was conscripted into the Italian army in 1936. It was during his military service that he first began showing symptoms of mental illness and was eventually discharged in 1941 after attacking his captain. After the war, Zinelli's mental condition worsened, and in 1947 his family committed him to the San Giacomo psychiatric hospital in Verona. He drew graffiti on the walls of the hospital, and in 1957 a studio for artistic expression was established in the hospital. Zinelli painted in the studio every day for fourteen years. His works, often double-sided, are filled with boldly painted human and animal figures that bear no apparent spatial relation to one another. Letters and words fill the com­position as well, but they do not have any meaning. After the hospital closed in 1971, Zinelli was transferred to another facility, but his creative activity all but stopped.

Source: Andera, Margaret, and Lisa Stone. "Accidental Genius: Art from the Anthony Petullo Collection". (Milwaukee, WI: Milwaukee Art Museum, 2012), page 215.

Collection Search: Zinelli, Carlo

  • Carlo Zinelli (Italian, 1916–1974)
  • Untitled, n.d.
  • Carlo Zinelli (Italian, 1916–1974)
  • Untitled, 1966
  • Carlo Zinelli (Italian, 1916–1974)
  • Untitled, 1967
  • Carlo Zinelli (Italian, 1916–1974)
  • Untitled, 1970
  • Carlo Zinelli (Italian, 1916–1974)
  • Untitled, 1971
  • Carlo Zinelli (Italian, 1916–1974)
  • Untitled, n.d.
  • Carlo Zinelli (Italian, 1916–1974)
  • Untitled, n.d.