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Carlo Zinelli was  born on July 2


Outsider art: To have a better understanding of Outsider art,
go to our Dubuffet page
Carlo Zinelli  (1916-1974),an Italian painter, is recognized as an important figure of the  Outsider Art. Zinelli produced some 2,000 paintings, during the last 15 years  of his life, when he was interned at the psychiatric hospital for  schizophrenia.


After  his military service, in 1938, he enlisted in a battalion of Alpine hunters,  Zinelli went to fight  in the Spanish war. He returned only two months later,  rather shaken by the experience. He remained two years in convalescence before  being reformed at the end of 1941

From  1941 to 1947, Carlo alternated periods of work and lucidity with crises of  aggression and anxiety that periodically lead him to a psychiatric hospital  where he underwent electroshock and insulin treatments. But, as of April 9,  1947, he will be  definitely interned for paranoid schizophrenia. Carlo will  then sink into an isolation where his very language will become  incomprehensible.

For  years, his creativity is limited to, scratching drawings in the pavement  or  graffiti on  walls, using small stones.  In 1957, he was given the opportunity  to express himself and develop his talents, thanks to the opening in the  hospital, of a workshop of free expression initiated by the sculptor Michael  Noble. From there, Carlo spent nearly eight hours a day painting. His violence  and aggressiveness disappearing.

Very  quickly exhibitions of the works made at the workshop are organized. Zinelli was  the only Italian painter present at the Kunsthalle in Bern in 1963. Shortly  afterwards, Jean Dubuffet discovered his works and acquired a considerable  number of them, which he included in his collection of Art Brut.

From  1969, Carlo's production slowed, following his transfer to a new hospital, but  he painted until 1973, before dying of pneumonia on 27 January 1974 at the  Chievo hospital , In Verona.
The  paintings of Zinelli are recognizable by their human or animal silhouettes  pierced with holes or stars, standing out on a plain background. They inevitably  remind us of children's drawings by their apparent naivety, perspectives and  details.

Zinelli  on You Tube


Find  other pictures of Carlo Zinelli here:




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Last update: April 11  2018

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