Divisionist painters working outside Milan employed landscapes and scenes of rural life as a means to convey spiritual themes. They believed that the particular use of colour and light in these works could have a transformative effect on the viewer. One of the earliest proponents of Divisionism, Giovanni Segantini, drew mystical nourishment from the wild, awe-inspiring scenery of the Swiss Alps. His large-scale paintings depict unspoiled nature and peasant life in the crystal clear light of the mountains.
Giuseppe Pellizza often depicted scenes in his hometown of Volpedo in Piedmont that fused ‘the thing seen with the ting felt’, as the Milanese writer Neera (Anna Zuccari) described. A note of melancholy and abandon in Angelo Morbelli’s landscapes, made during summer in Piedmont, reveals the artist’s symbolic interpretation of the natural world. In the latter part of his career Emilio Longoni emulated his friend Segantini, retreating to the mountains and moving towards more emotive and religious subjects.