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Indepth Arts News:

"The Classicist: Remembering John Zito"
2007-09-16 until 2007-11-25
Slater Memorial Museum
Norwich, CT, USA United States of America

On display beginning Sunday, September 16, with an opening reception from 1 – 3 p.m. that day, an exhibition in Converse Art Gallery will feature the life’s work of Connecticut native John Zito, Jr. The exhibition will offer a sampling of a remarkable 45 years of painting, drawing and sculpture. Born into a family of stone carvers, Zito’s vocation in his father’s monument business in Hartford included drawing and designing elaborate monuments for Connecticut’s notables and restoring historic burial grounds throughout the state. His cartoons for carved granite and other stone include floral and foliate designs, ethereal figures and powerful calligraphy. These delicately classical pieces, which John often carved by hand, are works of art in their own right. His understanding of and consulting on the canon of proportion set in stone by the ancient Greeks and Egyptians, and his passionate adherence to the use of indigenous trees in classical landscaping are what have kept such historic sites as Hartford's Cedar Hill Cemetery in keeping with the intent of their founding architects.

John Zito’s training began as a student of sculpture at the Hartford Art School but it years later his creative passion turned to painting in oil on canvas in the tradition of the old masters. His work reveals a particular love for the paintings of Titian as well as Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Rubens, Picasso and Renoir. Zito’s canvases explore themes inspired by tales of mythology and operatic narratives.

Following their wedding in the early sixties, John and his first wife, Rosemary, took a year-long honeymoon, living and working together drawing, painting and sculpting in Florence. This experience strengthened Zito's foundation in the academic tradition and reinforced the deep respect for antiquity that is evident in his art. A small cross-section of his vast body of work, this exhibition demonstrates the highly personal nature of his imagery in his deeply introspective self-portraits and those of Rosemary and their children. John left behind thousands of drawings, prints and sketchbooks some of which are on display in the gallery.

John Zito, Jr. was the father of three children; John III - the eldest - is carrying on the monument business in Hartford, Antony - a practicing artist working mostly in New York City, and Katie - a proud mother of three living in New Hampshire. The Tuscan-style stone farmhouse that John Zito designed and built by hand in East Granby is occupied by his son, Antony.

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