Barbara Ghisi - Artist - Her works

Barbara Ghisi - Artist - Her works


Barbara Ghisi, the works


«The seabed, a representation of submerged and unknown worlds, represent the places of the soul. Each work is an introspective journey in search of one's self ».Title: Aquarius
Technique: Oil painting on canvas
Dimensions: 100 x 120 cm
Year: 2011


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Who was Barbara Hepworth

Barbara Hepworth was an English artist famous above all for her sculptures, considered among the first abstract works in the history of English art. Today Barbara Hepworth is celebrated by Google with a doodle because on August 25, 1939, eighty-one years ago, she moved to St. Ives, a small town on the south coast of England, where she built her own studio and stayed for the rest of her life. career.

Barbara Hepworth was born in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, in 1903. Her father was an engineer and allowed her to study and obtain a scholarship to the Leeds School of Art first and then to the Royal College of Art in London. At that time Barbara Hepworth learned a new technique for her time: directly sculpting the chosen material, without building preparatory models. In 1924 she married the artist John Skeaping, to whom she remained linked until 1931. In 1932 she began a relationship with the painter Ben Nicholson, with whom she made several trips around Europe, during which she came into contact with art by Mondrian, Braques, Picasso and Brancusi.

Corinthos, work by Barbara Hepworth exhibited at the Tate in Liverpool, 1954-1955 (Wikimedia Commons)

Hepworth drew inspiration from these artists and in the 1930s he began to focus on abstract forms, earning some international fame: in 1950 he represented his nation at the Venice Biennale, in 1959 he won first prize at the San Paolo Biennale and in 1965 there was a retrospective of his work at the Kröller-Müller Museum in the Netherlands.

Despite being able to play an important role in a world dominated by men, Barbara Hepworth was never a feminist militant, nor did she investigate gender roles in her works. She simply asked, during her artistic life, to be treated as a "sculptor" and not as a "sculptor". The website of the Tate Modern in London summarizes the meaning of his artistic production as follows: «Even if it has to do with forms and abstraction, Hepworth's art is primarily about relationships: not only between two forms put the side by side, but between the human figure and the surrounding landscape, between color and composition, and above all between people at an individual and social level ».


Zanini Arte is pleased to invite you at the next Vernissage of the PERSONAL EXHIBITION of ROBERTA DIAZZI, CRYSTAL DREAMS edited by BARBARA GHISI. The event will be held SATURDAY 18 NOVEMBER at 6.00 pm at the Galleria di VIA VIRGILIO 7 a SAN BENEDETTO PO (MN), with the patronage of the Municipality of San Benedetto Po.

Galleria Zanini Arte has the pleasure and honor of hosting in its halls the exhibition "Crystal Dreams" by Roberta Diazzi, fresh winner of the "Leone d'oro" award at the grand gala of Arte Cinema e Impresa by Fondazione Mazzoleni as an emerging artist 2017. Roberta's artistic poetics has always been based on the two-way relationship between object and concept, initially close to the language of American Pop Art, it is subsequently transformed through the use of certified Swarovski crystals, with different diameters to give energy and power to the composition. A long research on materials and their infinite possibilities led the artist to develop an original, expressive and synthetic language, through which he gives life and form to thought and reflection. In Roberta Diazzi's works, everything is gracefully considered and precious. It is a preciousness played in the union between an ancient action based on a manufacturing far from the hectic times of the present world, and the works themselves. Works that appear as a visible testimony of a vital passion, carefully processed in every embossing imparted by the crystal, every superficial variation that occupies a precise place in creating a harmonious overall score. Passing through the hands of the artist, the rigidity of the Swarvoski stone comes alive, takes shape, converts to the soft warmth of curves, of sinuous spirals that shape figures of the animal world, or images that speak of lived lives. A soul of suggestive and intense glows that the works show when hit by the light, as a revelation of a hidden vitality, hidden and ready to explode with the chromatic force of a supernatural appearance. Painting with crystals is for Roberta Diazzi to support a continuous and uninterrupted creative flow: a reflection stands out on the transparency of the plexiglass, as an unexpected image, thus reminding us to let ourselves be pushed by the air of the imagination.

The elegance and refinement of the work of art.

The artistic and exhibition path that Roberta Diazzi has made in a few years is surprising. But even more surprising are the goals that the Modenese artist has achieved through meritocracy with his own resources. Remarkable is the consistency with which he has pursued a personal style over time, while varying the materials and themes of the subjects depicted. Some critics affirm that the history of art is made up of the succession of movements and languages, from which the solitary experiences of innovative artists emerge. These contribute to the original contribution of new techniques and styles, which, however, not being easily interpretable or achievable, remain unique in terms of innovation and quality achieved. This is the case of Roberta Diazzi! His works, which at first glance may seem simple, are instead the result of a search for precious and expensive materials not easily available to everyone, and for this reason also sought after by the most wealthy and demanding customers. To compensate for that restless and contemporary spirit of a society that always imposes new desires, and increasingly amplified dreams. Their elegant and difficult arrangement in the work then derives from a long experience, enriched and refined step by step. Swarovski crystals of different sizes and colors are the absolute protagonists of his prestigious works. From 2011 onwards these precious faceted and reflective materials make up his creations entirely. With measures ranging between 4 and half a millimeter in diameter, to be able to cover even the smallest spaces of the processed surface, they break down and reflect lights and colors, giving the subjects vibration and liveliness. Each work is also accompanied by a certificate of authenticity of the Swarovski crystals. Light is necessary for the enjoyment of the work. If direct or tangent it creates reflections or shadows that modify the vision, accentuating the mobility and dynamism of the forms. The image is then integrated and completed by personal sensitivity and perception. Her works live through different passages: the photographic image that the artist breaks down to draw drawings to which she herself attributes plays of light and dark, strong colors and soft colors, plays of shadows and light. The drawings are then transferred with the soft freehand pencil on the support. Even the surface on which the crystals are applied is the result of a long search for materials, to enhance their preciousness to the nth degree. This is the black plexiglass. Glossy boards that increase the luminous and tonal refraction to the point of recreating a second reflected work. A soul hidden between darkness and light that emerges based on the observer's position. Overlapping and multi-sensory meanings therefore, for works that in addition to being seen, can also be touched. And through touch, like light, enter the soul of the viewer. Research, elegance and professionalism therefore distinguish the work of this artist, humble and simple in his being, but tenacious and persevering in his goals. Starting from the solid foundations of specialization in graphic techniques, achieved at the "Venturi" Art Institute of her city, she was able to use the communicative immediacy of the sign through the Pop Art technique. elegance of the images, whether in color or in shades of gray between white and black. The pleasure of the aesthetic vision that blends with the immediacy of the subject represented, maintaining the exclusive character of the unique work of art. It is no coincidence that people of the caliber of Luciano Pavarotti or members of the Ferrari family wanted a portrait of his hand. And the portraits of this artist go beyond psychological data and give us human and realistic images subordinated to the need for form. The illustrious Princess Caroline of Monaco recognized and rewarded the refinement of Diazzi's works, keeping one of her works for herself. But not only! The prestige of this artist has also been recognized overseas, so much so that the Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan wanted a portrait of her entirely elaborated with 4800 Swarovski crystals. Following national and international art fairs have seen her protagonist. To crown this important commitment, in September 2017 in Venice she was awarded the "Golden Lion as an emerging artist 2017" by the Mazzoleni foundation. Therefore, if at first sight Roberta Diazzi may appear to be a simply decorative artist, as evidence of the contrary there is the depth of a path that has its roots in the experience of a contemporary, intelligent and sensitive creative spirit, destined to renew itself to continually research in art the maximum expressive charge.

The artist

Roberta Diazzi is a Modenese artist, she graduated from the A. Venturi Art Institute with a graphic background in advertising. He counts countless collaborations with important galleries, both Italian and foreign, present in the Monegasque territory and in nearby Lugano. He has participated in various fairs in Europe, in the Asian territory: Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore and in America: Miami and New York, St. Petersburg. His oil painting is characterized by a sign which makes his works exclusive, but his artistic peculiarity lies in the use of hundreds of thousands of certified Swarovski crystals of different diameters applied to usually black supports, essential for enhancing the brilliance, light and colors of the crystals. Not paintings but mosaics of calibrated and cut light to give energy and power to the figures. The artist is inspired by postmodern art, attributable to that original stylistic revision derived from the comic by Roy Lichtenstein and Pop-Art by Andy Warhol who imposed the "must" of his portraits on the VIPs of his time. The painter has received important commissions from illustrious Italian families, including the Ferrari family, the Montezemolo family and Luciano Pavarotti himself. For several years, his art has also been considerably sought abroad: in the Principality of Monaco, Princess Caroline exhibits the work "l'œvre pop de Monaco" in her royal studio. Last in chronological order but not of importance we remember the portrait of Peng Liyuan, cataloged among the most important works in the private collection of the Chinese First Lady. Today Diazzi alongside the well-known faces of worldly life is flanked by important stars who risk dangerously being forgotten. We can define her as an "animal painter", her portraits, in fact, reproduce ferocious, regal, wild animals that look towards the distracted viewer. Prisoners of the frames, they point, walk and fly towards us who are watching as we erase them from their world. Art is a need and Roberta Diazzi's need is to bring their roar into our consciences.


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From paste-up to feminism: who is Barbara Kruger and what she has done for women's rights

On the occasion of the world day against violence against women, we reread the story of the American artist: today still a point of reference for art deployed in favor of civil rights

The New York Times recently elected Barbara Kruger among The Greats of the year, inserting it between five most influential characters of 2020 - along with FKA Twigs, Dawoud Bey, Angela Davis and Sigourney Weaver. When we think of Barbara Krugeryours immediately comes to mind Opera more famous: "Untitled (your body is a batterground)". It was 1989 and the world was walking under the gaze of one woman whose face, halfway between reality and its own polarization, dominated the Washington landscape. The women marched through the streets of the capital of the United States of America against anti-abortion legislation, which saw Roe versus Wade lined up in a political duel. Meanwhile, the red stripes on that Kruger face said: "Your body / is a / battleground".

Revolutionary and eternal with his own posters Barbara Krueger he transformed the walls of New York into blackboards of active communication. After all, "the walls are not only what they are. They are also what we would like them to be: support of hopes, protection of the present" - to put it in Sottsass. In the same years, the city they began to collect a visionary cry: a New YorkThanks to the help of her students at the Whitney Museum of American Art's Independent Study Program, Barbara Kruger papered the city with her manifesto a few months later, the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State University commissioned her to make a larger version. . Her poster iconographically it was so associated with the pro-abortion struggle that, within 12 hours, an opposing group hung up another one in response, depicting an eight-week-old fetus. Already at the beginning of the Nineties, Barbara Kruger had become theartist-icon of women's rights. And it never stopped being. Because even in the fairly recent past, Kruger has signed a cover of the New York Magazine on the occasion of the election of the former President of the United States: we are in 2016 and the face of Donald Trump on the front page sports the irreverent words "loser" - protest against the numerous misogynistic statements issued by the US tycoon.

Over the past twenty years, theKruger's work it has grown to the point of enveloping visitors in entire rooms of galleries and museums, through (also) immersive, interactive exhibitions of his works. Today, "being faced with its disturbing durability means being disarmed in the face of differences in power and wealth (.) And helps to reflect on a certain recurrence of the themes in history" writes Megan 'O Grady on New York Times. For example, in June of this year, the works made in Los Angeles a few months earlier accompanied the protests in the name of George Floyd. Thus, the words "Who buys the scam?" were the backdrop for lines of people handcuffed to a wall along Sunset Boulevard. Every kind of injustice has given rise to works of denunciation, but it is there woman to have conquered the main role in his artistic discourse. Starting from debasement of the beauty of stereotyped female canons to reveal the psychological pressures that women often suffer - forms of violence contemporary, even and at times, invisible - Kruger has tried to unravel the traditional messages of adv talking (and talking) to passers-by in public spaces. No to the ethereal, perfect woman and yes to free choice. Feminist? Yes, but without extremes. It has stripped marriage of its social pressure: it is possible to live a life out of the box mother-wife-housewife it is possible to upholster a city with revolutionary thoughts it is possible to have inspirations it is possible not to be at the service of virility, possessiveness, supremacy and power.

Beyond all the themes - now well known - of the Barbara we like, we must ask ourselves why a conceptual artist, pillar of analogue graphics, who translated the paste-up of paper and glue into a work of art, is so current even in the digital age. "It seems that everything and nothing has changed since the 1990s," said journalist Megan 'O Grady. Instead, in twenty years, there has been a technological revolution, but the truth is that Barbara Kruger, in addition to having anticipated the times and created the first memes in history, has given life to the short message - not for advertising purposes but for civic sentiment. The brevity, perhaps dictated by the continuous lack of time, is today the challenge of communication: tweets of 280 characters, titles ready to dissolve in the Internet, broken and fast language. Kruger's concise but intense message has respected and respects all the canons of contemporary narration. For this reason, many have considered his work to be a form of marketing without a brand - if not his own. The artist told feminists that talking about feminism without the power of images is almost useless: it is necessary to give another form of beauty or unhinge the canonized one to tell the other face of femininity. His communication was a weapon he tried to nullify dominance - and it is still relevant today.

Today Kruger teaches at California University - she protects her privacy and works without assistants, practically the US art mine. When reporter Megan 'O Grady tried to interview her for The New York Times Great's Issue, Kruger became increasingly reticent as the day of the interview approached. And what an embarrassment to ask for a portrait to illustrate a piece to someone who, for twenty years or more, has worked and still works for disassemble the clichés of the image! Barbara Kruger's artistic production gave birth to stories and essays like the one on masculine look by Laura Mulvey, Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema (1975) - probably inspired by the female bust carved in stone entitled "Untitled (your gaze hits the side of my face)", signed Kruger work dating back to 1981.

"All violence stereotype", "The innocent. Have nothing to fear", "Who does she think she is?" and again "We don't need another hero", "Is this my only purpose?", "Adorn your prison" - we need, again and again, new slogans to regulate the social, political and economic balance. For this reason Barbara Kruger does not stop creating works that tell the other side of the (female) coin.

GHISI, Theodore

GHISI, Theodore. - He was born in Mantua in 1536, where that same year his father Ludovico, a merchant originally from Parma, had been "invested" by the Spedale with the possession of a house in the Cigno district, then reconfirmed to G. in 1576 and in 1590 (D ' Arco, II, pp. 138 ff., 267).

In the decisive years of its formation, Mantua was a city which, in the shadow of the Gonzaga patronage of Cardinal Ercole and Duke Guglielmo, still had many cultural debts towards Giulio Romano, who died in 1546: some masters, who in varying degrees had collaborated with him, or who in any case had grown up in direct contact with his works, they perpetuated styles and models, thereby nourishing the taste of the ducal court. In translating and mediating topoi giulieschi, the workshop of Ippolito Costa had a certain importance, in which the apprenticeship of G. had to be completed, next to the same age, and son of Ippolito, Lorenzo, and not with the latter, as they leave understand the sources (ibid., I, pp. 78 s.). Thus, G. learned to use a lexicon permeated with mannerist instances observed in the results achieved by the pictorial site of the cathedral, opened in 1552, later integrated with the Roman innovations brought to Mantua by Lorenzo Costa himself, who between December 1561 and 'October 1564 he collaborated with Federico Zuccari on the decoration of the casino of Pius IV as well as deepened through the experiences, gained during the stays in Rome, in Fontainebleau and in Flanders, of his brother Giorgio, older than sixteen and still active in the art of engraving. The collaboration that led G. to provide inventions graphically translated by his brother is due to a relationship of mutual influence. This is what happened for the engraving depicting Angelica and Medoro, perhaps from a missing painting by G., but once kept in a private collection in Amsterdam (Thieme - Becker, p. 565) or, for the one with Venus and Adonis, that Giorgio derived from an original by G., lost but documented in the Gonzaga collections until 1627 (Luzio, 1913, pp. 95 ff.) and known through an anonymous copy kept in the Musée des beaux-arts in Nantes. A drawing attributed to G., relating to the detail of the putto with rabbit, is preserved in Chatsworth.

To confirm the close relations with the Mantuan environment, and with Costa in particular, it is not only the Holy Family with s. Giovannino of the church of S. Maria di Castello di Viadana, homage to the Julian prototypes, referable to the end of the seventh decade or at the latest to the beginning of the eighth, but above all the altarpiece with the Baptism of Christ, for which two payments by 1572, for the altar of S. Giovanni Battista in the palatine church of S. Barbara (Gozzi, 1974, p. 91).

Built by the will of Duke Guglielmo over a decade, starting from the end of 1562, the church was an important construction site where artists worked under the direction of G.B. Bertani, architect of the factory and responsible for the decoration of the altars, perhaps even in the supply of models to the painters. The painting by G., one of his first public works, was therefore placed within a homogeneous cycle from a compositional and even stylistic point of view, whose "Roman" declinations were partly due to the local presence of tapestries with the Acts of the Apostles derived from Raphaelesque cartoons and donated by Guglielmo to the palatine basilica in 1569.

If with the Baptism of Christ G. adhered to the mannerist painting of Roman ancestry, in representing a parrot with extreme minuteness he showed himself attentive to the rendering of naturalistic detail. In those same years he portrayed, among other things, in two color drawings, the parrots present in the residence of the Duchess Eleonora of Habsburg, at the request of Ulisse Aldrovandi, who described the eclectic museum owned by G. and set up in a small room in the Te building. Here he was salaried as a "guardian" (Belluzzi, p. 69) and, since 1574, he had a room to paint (The engravings…, p. 20).

In 1872 the Mantuan oratory of S. Antonio was suppressed and destroyed. Among its furnishings there were two paintings made by G., the Trinity between ss. Rocco and Sebastiano, now found in a painting preserved in the Castelvecchio Museum in Verona, signed and dated 1577, and the Meeting of Joachim and Anna, found in the collections of the ducal palace of Mantua. It is in particular in the composition of the latter that, in addition to the usual Julian formulas, strong Nordic ancestry is recorded, undoubtedly due to the close contact with his brother and his graphic production. If paternity is confirmed, the Preaching of the Baptist for the Mantuan church of Ognissanti could also date back to this period.

Around 1579 the G. was active in Carpi: on this date his name appears in the registers of the Confraternity of Mercy. Of the paintings made in Carpi mentioned by Campori (pp. 243 ff.), The Assumption of the Virgin for the church of S. Giovanni Battista, the Madonna and Child with ss. Nicola and Lorenzo, for the oratory of S. Nicola, is now in the church of S. Rocco. In the cathedral there is the Visitation, performed for Luca Paoletti, of which the coat of arms and initials appear in good evidence at the bottom center: it is a work that can be dated, like the other Carpi's, to the end of the seventies, also because it is very close, in terms of executive technique and the compositional structure itself, to the paintings of 1577 and, in particular, to the Meeting of Joachim and Anna.

The Crucifixion and Saints were brought back to the early 1980s, now in the church of S. Martino di Treviglio, but from Mantua. The solid plasticity of the figures is flanked here, especially in the detail of the landscape in the background, a descriptive vein which, rendered with a particular chromatic note of a miniaturistic type, seems to derive from the activity conducted by G. in the field of illustration of the character book. both scientific - his are the miniatures of the De omnium animalium naturis atque formis by Pier Candido Decembrio preserved in the Vatican Apostolic Library - and religious, with the nine surviving miniatures of the liturgical books of the palatine basilica of St. Barbara.

Painter paid by the court (who also turned to him for advice on the ducal collections), G. participated, together with other artists, in the undertaking desired by the lords of Mantua, making copies of portraits of family characters in the early 1980s. the collection set up by Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Tyrol, brother of Duchess Eleonora, formerly kept in the Ambras castle and today at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. His activity as a copyist, encouraged by the numerous Gonzaga commissions, especially in the 1990s, led him to make copies for the Capilupi family, now dispersed, from the series of emperors painted by Titian for Federico Gonzaga. better identified (Tellini Perina, 1979, p. 243), and in May 1590 again a series of emperors (Bertolotti).

The reorganization promoted by Duke Guglielmo of the places of power must be placed within an overall political program: in addition to the ducal palace, the castle of Goito, which was destroyed in the eighteenth century. The "most famous and excellent painters who hogi retreat" (A description…, p. 272) participated in the decoration of the rooms. G., who together with Ippolito Andreasi prepared the cartoons in Palazzo Te, is documented in the Victory room of Guglielmo's apartment, where he created some paintings of dynastic historical subjects that have been recognized in the large canvases of the castle of Opočno, not far away. from Prague: the Oath of Luigi Gonzaga, the Combat between the brothers Ludovico and Carlo Gonzaga, and, with more dubious attribution (Berzaghi, 1985, p. 53), a Fact of the Gonzaga house. Placing the action mainly on the foreground crowded with small figures, G. certainly complied with the demands of a dynastic celebration program, but without considering the closest and most illustrious precedent, consisting of the canvases made by Tintoretto for the new rooms desired by Guglielmo in the ducal palace.

At the end of 1587 the G. was called to Graz, to the Archduke Charles II of Styria, brother of the Duchess Eleonora, as an artist paid by the court. The first important commission saw G. engaged in executing the Symbolum apostolorum, signed and dated 1588, and preserved in the Landesmuseum Joanneum in Graz.

In conceiving it as an illustrated page (side squares, some allegorical, others with Stories of Christ, coping with the Glory and central panel with the Creation of Eve), G. demonstrates all its characteristics: a painter attentive to naturalistic data in the rendering of animals always faithful to his Raphaelesque classicist origin, from which derive most of the schemes used in the minor panels of easy miniaturistic vein careful to collect Flemish influences skilled narrator. The adoption of the scheme of the "mysteries" of the Rosary facilitated the declared didactic intent of the painting, thus agreeing with the requests of the archduke, engaged in a work of Catholic restoration within his State.

The painting had to respond to the expectations of the client, so much so that in the same year 1588 the G. worked, as also recalled by an inscription painted on the vault, in the sumptuous mausoleum built by the Archduke Charles for himself and for his wife Maria di Baviera, annexed to the basilica of Seckau. The decoration as a whole is owed to G., although he had help, where all the suggestions of Raphaelesque and even Corresque matrix are reduced to grammatical formulas, to codified rhetorical topoi.

The paintings of the two cross vaults constituting the ceiling with the Assumption of the Virgin and the Triumph of the Church are due to G., the altarpiece with the Transfiguration flanked by pillars in which the Four Evangelists are depicted the large panel on the side wall above the cenotaph with the episode of Sinite parvulos. A real family portrait, for which an archaic but effective paratactic scheme was used, it represents a subject also taken up in a canvas preserved in the Joanneum in Graz and executed by G. at the same time, although with greater compositional freedom. However, one of the compositional characteristics of the G. remains constant, namely the cancellation of the intermediate levels that creates a gap between the horizon and the planes immediately close to the observer.

Still for the court, G. painted in 1587 the portraits of the archdukes, now lost, and the frescoes of the court chapel in Graz which Morpurgo (p. 54 and pl. LXXXIX) no longer remembered on site. Although Charles II had granted him an annuity of 100 florins a year in 1589, G. was back in Mantua in 1590. However, contacts with Graz did not cease, if in 1599 the Duke of Mantua Vincenzo interceded with G. to copy for the Archduchess Maria a painting by Luca Longhi she had seen in the abbey of S. Benedetto di Polirone (Luzio, 1913 , p. 95).

Some undocumented paintings, but referable to him, and to a moment immediately following his return to Mantua, are strongly affected by the experiences matured by G. in Styria, and above all by a certain archaism of the representation. La Maddalena della chiesa di S. Martino conferma le sue singolari doti coloristiche, come pure il Salvator Mundi della chiesa di S. Barnaba, dove lo sfondo di rovine può essere messo in relazione con i quadri realizzati in Stiria, ma anche con alcune stampe del fratello. Una tale sensibilità verso il rovinismo compare anche nella Madonna con Bambino del capitolo della cattedrale mantovana, ancora riferibile al G. e alla fine del nono decennio. A una fase più avanzata dovrebbero invece risalire due dipinti in collezioni private mantovane, l' Estasi della beata Osanna e il Gesù e le Marie (Tellini Perina, 1979, pp. 265-268).

All'inizio degli anni Novanta il G. lavorò nel duomo di Mantova insieme con Ippolito Andreasi. Condotta su iniziativa di Francesco Gonzaga, vescovo di Mantova, dal 1593 profondamente impegnato nella riforma della diocesi, l'impresa si estese alla decorazione ad affresco della cappella dell'Incoronata, del transetto e della cupola, nonché alla fornitura di cartoni per gli arazzi donati alla chiesa dal vescovo nel 1599.

Gli affreschi della cappella, con la Pentecoste e la Morte della Vergine sulle pareti e l' Assunzione nella volta, sono caratterizzati da un impianto di ampio respiro, e da una monumentalità senza fasto che si ritrova nei riquadri delle pareti del transetto, dove sono dipinti, in un intento ancora dichiaratamente dinastico, gli episodi più illustri della Chiesa mantovana. Esiti "neo-feudali" (ibid., p. 258) sono più evidenti qui che non nel resto della decorazione del transetto, negli ovali e ottagoni della volta con i fatti degli Ordini domenicano e francescano, o nella cupola, dove è rappresentato il Paradiso con i cori angelici .

Sottoposta a un programma dettagliato, questa parte della decorazione del duomo mostra una omogeneità stilistica tale da rendere poco agevole l'individuazione delle pertinenze specifiche del G., qui attivo fino alla morte. L'opera sarebbe stata proseguita dal solo Andreasi.

Già malato di gotta, il G. morì a Mantova nel 1601 e fu sepolto nella chiesa di S. Marco nella tomba da lui stesso fatta costruire. Lasciava Caterina, sua moglie, e il figlio Ludovico (D'Arco, II, p. 267).


1. Tomás Saraceno è un artista, architetto e performer, considerato uno dei più importanti artisti contemporanei del Sud America. Nasce a San Miguel de Tucuma in Argentina nel 1973, ma trascorre alcuni anni dell’infanzia in Italia, per poi far ritorno in Argentina e studiare architettura e arte a Buenos Aires.

Nel 2001 torna in Europa e si iscrive alla Städelshule di Francoforte (una scuola di arti applicate molto selettiva) allora diretta da Daniel Birnbaum, mentre nel 2003 frequenta il corso di Progettazione e Produzione delle Arti Visive allo Iuav di Venezia tenuto da Hans Ulrich Obrist and Olafur Eliasson.

2. La formazione di Saraceno si è sempre contraddistinta per essere a cavallo tra architettura, arte e scienza. Infatti al di là degli studi artistici, nel 2009 raffina gli studi presso l’International Space Studies Program della Nasa nella Silicon Valley.

Nel 2012 è stato il primo artista residente al Center for Art, Science and Technology (CAST) al prestigioso Massachusetts Institute of Technology (comunemente chiamato MIT), mentre nel 2014 ha fatto una residenza al Centre National d’Études Spatiales (2014–2015) a Parigi.

3. La prima partecipazione di Saraceno ad un’esposizione internazionale avviene alla Biennale Architettura a Venezia nel 2002 (a cura di Deyan Sudjic).

Da quel momento nascerà un rapporto particolare con la Biennale di Venezia (sia quella di Arte che di Architettura) che culminerà con numerose partecipazioni, sempre apprezzate: nel 2003 (Biennale arte a cura di Francesco Bonami), nel 2009 (Biennale Arte a cura di Daniel Birnbaum), nel 2014 (Biennale Architettura a cura di Rem Koolhaas ) e nel 2019 (Biennale Arte a cura di Ralph Rugoff ).

4. Una delle più grandi fonti di ispirazione di Tomás Saraceno sono i ragni e le ragnatele. È stato il primo infatti ad utilizzare uno strumento in grado di misurare, scansionare e digitalizzare in 3d una ragnatela.

Nel 2010 alla Bonniers Konsthall di Stoccolma presenta 14 Billions un’installazione in cui per la prima volta nella storia viene presentata la scansione tridimensionale di una ragnatela, di una vedova nera. Le sue ricerche sui ragni proseguono tuttora nel suo Arachnid Research Lab.

5. Un’installazione di grande impatto dedicata alla ragnatela è In Orbit presentata nel 2013 nella piazza Ständehaus di Düsseldorf, o per essere più precisi sulla piazza. Perché In Orbit è una grande ragnatela contenente delle sfere di 2.500 mq suddivisa in tre livelli, sospesa a più di 25 metri dal suolo completamente abitabile.

I (coraggiosi) visitatori potevano salirci e vedere la piazza dall’alto come se volassero. Come per le ragnatele, ogni visitatore che saliva, modificando la tensione dei fili generava una vibrazione percepita da tutti i presenti. L’idea di Saraceno era proprio riuscire a dare agli spettatori una percezione dello spazio tramite la vibrazione della struttura, come accade per i ragni.

6. Un’installazione dal concetto simile, On Time Space Foam(il titolo è preso da un’espressione usata dal fisico Paul Davies riferita alla teoria dei quanti) è stata presentata nello stesso anno all’hangar Bicocca di Milano, a cura di Andrea Lissoni.

Si tratta di un’installazione praticabile fatta di membrane poste a 20 metri dal suolo, in cui gruppi limitati di visitatori potevano tuffarsi e muoversi come se fosse un enorme dirigibile/nuvola. L’effetto di chi osservava dal suolo era quello di una grande membrana organica i cui movimenti dei fruitori rendevano viva.

7. Lo spazio e la gravità sono altri temi ricorrenti in Saraceno. Il suo progetto Cloud Citypresentato nel 2011 all’ Hamburger Bahnhof di Berlino era ispirato a cupole geodetiche di Buckminster Fuller e ai fantastici giardini sospesi di Alex Raynold.

L’installazione consisteva in Diverse sfere, simili a gigantesche bolle di sapone con all’interno piante e piccoli giardini. Alcune erano sufficientemente grandi da permettere al fruitore di entrare e vivere un’esperienza di sospensione.

8. Cloud Cities è parte di un progetto più ampio in cui Saraceno immagina di poter ricreare una città transnazionale ed ecosostenibile tra le nuvole ispirandosi a bolle di sapone e ragnatele.

Un’ispirazione che si avvicina molto alla progettazione utopica di studi di architettura come gli Archigram, gruppo di avanguardia che negli anni ’60 ipotizzavamo strutture visionarie ed utopiche che dovevano influire sullo stile di vita degli abitanti. Non è un caso che nella sua formazione alla Städelshule di Francoforte Saraceno abbia studiato anche con Peter Cook tra i fondatori degli Archigram.

9. Il cielo rientra anche nel grande progetto di Tomás Saraceno dal titolo Aerocene, presentato durante la Conferenza sui Cambiamenti Climatici al Gran Palais di Parigi nel 2015. Si tratta di un progetto che fa alzare in volo e fluttuare in cielo sculture volanti ad emissioni zero. Tutto avviene grazie al calore del sole e alle radiazioni infrarosse emanate dalla Terra. Il progetto è tuttora attivo ed in continua evoluzione.

Nel gennaio 2020 Aerocene Pacha ha fatto decollare e riportare a terra una persona con un viaggio in una mongolfiera a totale emissione zero.

10. l progetto Aerocene mira a sensibilizzare la gente ad immaginare un mondo ecologista e senza emissioni, creando una comunità open-source con cui collaborare e immaginare nuove pratiche. Sul sito ufficiale del progetto è possibile entrare a far parte della community.

La mostra

“Tomás Saraceno – Aria”
Al Palazzo Strozzi di Firenze
fino all’1 novembre 2020

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