Roberto Melli

Roberto Melli (Ferrara 1885 – Roma 1958) spent time in the studio of the the Ferrara sculptor Arrigo Minerbi, (1881–1960) where he made his first plaster casts. In 1902 he went to Genoa to be an apprentice carver and woodcutter, and he worked with the magazine EBE

In 1911, he moved to Rome where he took part in exhibitions of the Roman Secession. He worked primarily in sculpture until 1911. 

During 1918, together with Mario Broglio, he founded the magazine and movement Valori Plastici, and focused exclusively on painting; in 1933, with Giuseppe Capogrossi and Emanuele Cavalli, he signed the “Plastic Primordialism Manifesto.”

In 1936, he had his first solo exhibition at the Cometa gallery where he was introduced by Libero de Libero.

Two years later he suffered under the restrictions of the anti-Jewish racial laws.

After the war he returned to teaching at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome and showing his works including in painting and sculpture exhibition at the Galleria del Secolo (1947).

Roberto Melli also had a personal room at the 15th and 17th Venice Biennales.

In addition to being an artist, he was an astute critic who appreciated the most important trends of his era. 

He also dabbled in poetry. In 1957, he published the collection Lunga Favolosa Notte [Long Fabulous Night], which gathered the poems he had written since 1935.