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Catania, Island of Sicily (Italy)

Catania, Island of Sicily (Italy)

Picturesque and noisy Catania is a city of a volcano. Dark, closed Etna, like a recalcitrant deity, looks at the revival that reigns in the city streets and serves as an eloquent symbol of the inherent quality of the inhabitants of Catania: their hard work. It was this quality that allowed the people to be repeatedly reborn from the ashes, like a newly appeared phoenix bird, without caring about earthquakes or wars. Therefore, the symbol of their city is so suitable for the inhabitants of Catania – an elephant, a strong and kind animal, and their patron saint – Agatha, a virgin and martyr, who was able to stop even the fury of Etna with the supernatural power of her veil.

According to ESHAOXING.INFO, Catania is a dark city built of black volcanic stone, and at the same time unusually sunny and bright, because the sun shines here 2528 hours a year: more than anywhere else in Italy. This is an ancient city that arose in the pre-Greek era, which, however, is sometimes almost indifferent to its history. So, the Greek theater looks almost forgotten at the end of a small street.

The city of Catania was founded in 729 BC. e.. Its name meant “hill”, and indeed, an acropolis was built on the hill where today the large Benedicite monastery is located. Over the years, temples, a hippodrome, a gymnasium, a mint and an odeon arose around the latter.

The history of the city was also determined by the whims of Etna, which brings life, but at the same time – death and destruction. So, in 1169, as a result of a strong earthquake, 15,000 people died, in 1669 lava reached the port and rushed into the sea, leaving behind only despair, in 1693 the entire city was swept off the face of the earth by an earthquake. Under the rubble, 16,000 people died. However, this last event had not only tragic consequences. The end of the 17th century was marked by the ardor of rapid restoration, the wonderful fruits of which still today are the pride of the city.


The Fountain of the Elephant, located in the center of the Piazza Duomo, is the work of Giovan Battista Vaccarini. It consists of a figure of an elephant made of volcanic stone from the ancient Roman era and an Egyptian granite stele with hieroglyphic inscriptions relating to the cult of the goddess Isis.

The cathedral, built at the turn of the 17th century, is the main architectural monument. Its Gothic façade, dating back to the early 20th century, was designed by Giovan Battista Basile. The interior of the cathedral consists of three naves and is decorated with frescoes by Giuseppe Schuti and Pietro Paolo Vasta.

The Cathedral of St. Agatha, built in 1078-1093 on the site of the Achilles Baths, retained three apses and a high transept from the era of construction.

In the castle of Ursino, built in 1239-1250. at the behest of Frederick II of Sweve, it currently houses the City Museum. This castle, once surrounded by the sea, was the residence of the Aragonese kings in the 16th century. In the 16th century, it was rebuilt in the Renaissance style, and at the time of the volcanic eruption in 1669, it was surrounded by lava, and therefore today it is on land.

The Roman theater had a diameter of about 87 m and could accommodate more than 7,000 spectators. It was built on the hillside where the Greek acropolis was located, and it is possible that it was originally built by the Greeks. The orchestra with a diameter of 29 meters with a floor is flooded by the waters of the Amenano River. Under today’s amphitheater there are traces of other spectator seats, but they all belong to the period of the Roman Empire.

The Odeon, recently opened to the public, was intended for choir rehearsals and competitions, and could accommodate 1,300 spectators. The space between the spectator seats and the outer wall was divided into 17 rooms, of which 16 have survived today. up to the modern Penninello street. The amphitheater could accommodate 16,000 spectators and had a height of 31 m.

The Bellini Theater, built by architects A. Skala and C. Sada in the classical style in the 2nd half of the 19th century, is dedicated to the great composer born in Catania. The interior of the theater is striking in its magnificence.

Catania, Island of Sicily (Italy)

Italy Figures and Facts

Italy Figures and Facts

Official name: Italian Republic

State structure: republic. Head of State – President

Capital: Rome

Territory: 301.2 thousand square meters km

Geographical position: The country is located in the south of Europe. It occupies the Apennine Peninsula, the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, as well as many small islands. It borders: with France – in the west, with Austria and Switzerland – in the north, with Slovakia – in the northeast. It is washed by the waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea – in the west, the Adriatic – in the east, the Mediterranean – in the south. See Countryvv for labor market in Italy.

The main rivers are the Po and the Tiber. Italy is predominantly a mountainous country: its north is occupied by the southern slopes of the Alps, where the highest peak in Europe Mont Blanc (4807 m) is located; to the south – the Padana plain, on the peninsula – the mountains of the Apennines (the highest point of the city of Korno is 2914 m).

There are two tiny states in Italy : the Vatican and the Republic of San Marino.

Climate: There are three climatic zones in Italy. In the mountainous regions (Alps and Apennines), winters are cold and summers are not hot. In the vicinity of Milan, the climate is moderately warm. In the rest of Italy, winters are quite mild, dry and hot summers are softened by a light sea breeze (its influence is most noticeable on the coast of the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian Seas). In the south, in the mainland and on the islands, including Sicily, the climate is subtropical.

Population: 58050 thousand people (as of 1998)

Ethnic composition of the population: Italians – 98%, Friuli – 1.9%. In addition, 300,000 Austrians, 120,000 Albanians, 100,000 Slovenes, 90,000 French, 50,000 Jews, and others live in the country. The vast majority of the population professes Catholicism.

Official language: Italian. In hotels, restaurants, tourist centers, as a rule, you can explain yourself in English and French. German is understood in ski resorts and in the resorts of the northern Adriatic. Any, even the most awkward, attempts to communicate in Italian will be met with enthusiasm.

Official holidays: January 1 – New Year, January 6 – Epiphany, April 25 – Liberation Day from fascism, May 1 – Labor Day, the first Sunday of June – Republic Proclamation Day, August 15 – Assumption, November 1 – All Saints Day, November 4 – National Unity Day, December 8 – Immaculate Conception, December 25 – Christmas, December 26 – St. Stephen’s Day. Holiday with variable date – Easter Monday.

Monetary unit: euro. Currency exchange can be done in banks, in a hotel (the exchange rate is not very favorable), at the airport. Easy to use credit cards.

Geographical position

Italy is located in southern Europe in the central Mediterranean. In the north, Italy borders on Switzerland and Austria, in the east – on Slovenia, in the northwest – on France and is washed by the waters of four seas – the Adriatic in the east, in the south – the Ionian, in the west – the Tyrrhenian and Ligurian. Italy owns the islands – Sicily, Sardinia, Elba and several small islands. The territory of the country stretches from north to south for more than 1100 km and consists of 23% of valleys (river and coastal), 35% of mountains (Alps and Apennines) and 42% of hills of various heights.

Two independent states are also located on the territory of the Apennine Peninsula: the Vatican and San Marino.

About 57.3 million people live in Italy; hence the population density of 195 people per sq. km. The most densely populated areas are Lombardy, Campania, Lazio, Sicily, Piedmont and Veneto.

History of Italy

1000 BC e. – Tribes of Ligurians, Etruscans, Italics, Latins, Sabines lived on the territory of the country.

754 BC e. – Founding of the city of Rome by the Latins.

290 BC e. – Rome subjugated the territory of Central Italy.

265 BC e. – victory over the Greek commander Pyrrhus (“Pyrrhic victory”) and the conquest of southern Italy by Rome.

264-241 BC e. – I Punic War with Carthage. Rome received the islands of Sicily, Corsica and Sardinia.

216 BC e. – During the II Punic War, the Carthaginian commander Hannibal crossed the Alps and inflicted a crushing defeat on the Romans at the Battle of Cannae.

202 BC e. – Hannibal’s army was defeated by the Roman commander Scipio in the battle of Zama. Rome received the territory of Spain.

168 BC e. The Romans conquered the Balkan Peninsula.

158 BC e. – the expansion of the power of Rome to Asia Minor and Syria.

149-146 BC e. – III Punic War, which ended with the complete destruction of Carthage.

88-79 years BC e. Sulla’s dictatorship.

73-71 years BC e. – slave uprising led by Spartacus.

58-51 years BC. – Julius Caesar’s conquest of Gaul (modern France).

49-45 years BC e. – civil war and the victory of Julius Caesar. The decisive battle with Pompey was won at Pharsalae in 48 BC. e.

44 BC e. – the murder in Rome of J. Caesar.

31 BC e. – the defeat of the fleet of Antony and Cleopatra by Octavian at Cape Actions.

30 BC e – accession to Rome of Egypt. Octavian becomes Emperor Augustus and Rome becomes an empire.

Beginning of the 1st century – Roman conquest of Palestine and Judea.

43 – The Romans captured Britain.

106 – Rome subjugated the Dacians (modern Romania).

395 – division of the Roman Empire into Western and Eastern (Byzantium).

410 – for the first time, the barbarians took and sacked Rome (the Visigoths, led by King Alaric).

455 – sack of Rome by vandals, destruction of many works of art.

476 – the leader of the Germanic tribes Odoacer overthrew the last emperor of the Western Roman Empire, Romulus Augustulus. Rome ceases to be the capital of the world.

488 – The Ostrogoths invaded Italy and founded their kingdom here.

554 – Byzantium established its rule in Italy.

774 – Italy is conquered by the Frankish emperor Charlemagne.

962 – campaigns in Italy of the German king Otto I. Formation of the Holy Roman Empire.

12th century – The Normans captured southern Italy and Sicily, forming the Kingdom of Sicily.

1559 – The Spaniards took possession of Sardinia and northern Italy.

1714 – the territory of northern Italy came under the rule of Austria.

1720 – formation of the Italian Kingdom of Sardinia (Piedmont).

1796-1814 – Napoleon’s reign over Italy.

1799 – Suvorov’s Italian campaign.

1860 – J. Garibaldi’s expedition to the south of the country and the liberation of Sicily from the Austrians.

1861 – Formation of a unified Italian kingdom under the scepter of the King of Piedmont, Victor Emmanuel II.

1866 expulsion of the Austrians from Venice.

1915 entry into World War I on the side of the Entente.

1919 – under a peace treaty, Italy received South Tyrol and Istria with the city of Trieste. The beginning of the fascist movement B. Mussolini.

1922 – “march on Rome” of the Italian fascists. Mussolini becomes prime minister (actually dictator of Italy).

1929 – Lateran agreements with the pope on the formation in the territory of Rome of the papal state of the Vatican.

1939 – “Steel Pact” about an alliance with Nazi Germany. Intervention of Italian troops in Albania.

1940 – Italy’s entry into World War II.

1943 – landing of Anglo-American troops in Sicily. Italy withdraws from the war by signing an armistice agreement. Entry into the country of German troops.

1945 – Mussolini’s execution and the end of the war in Italy.

1947 – As a result of a referendum, Italy is proclaimed a republic. Under the peace treaty, the country lost all colonies and territories in the Balkans. The city of Trieste is allocated to the free zone of the OO N.

1949 – Italy joins NATO.

1964 – reunification of the city of Trieste with the Italian Republic.

1983-1986 – active actions of the Italian government against the “Red Brigades” and the mafia.

Italy Figures and Facts

The Dead End of Italian Life Part 3

The Dead End of Italian Life Part 3

There is still a feudal nobility, partly of ancient origin, especially in the south, even more of recent origin, for the purchase of fiefdoms, for princely diplomas, especially in northern and central Italy. It is a Spanish nobility, sumptuous, all taken by the desire to excel in public even if in private it feels the pang of misery, far from offices or from the care of heritage and from any interest, “asleep in the pleasures of a happy life”, as the Vico. By now it also withdraws from the militia and loses what had been its main function. All in all, a class that is running out and crumbling: debts, partial alienation of the fiefdoms and therefore splitting of the fiefdoms themselves, ruinous judicial disputes between the feudatories with the communities or with the royal or ducal or grand-ducal chamber, confiscation of fiefdoms, etc. Always continued to manufacture some of this feudal nobility; but the more it grows in number, the more it is devalued in terms of quality. Next to, or further down, there is an urban patriciate, born from the mercantile activities, professions, legates, etc., of free or more recently formed cities. Although there were patricians invested with fiefdoms and feudatories admitted to the patriciate and ambitious to enter it by virtue of the authority it procured in city affairs, both classes also kept themselves distinct and in a position of antagonism. The aristocracy, large and small, prevailed in court offices and in the administration of communities: indeed it almost monopolized the administrations, and constituted a closed circle, with a tendency to die out like all closed circles. The bourgeoisie of business, commerce, of the bank, of the textile or metallurgical industries. Elsewhere it is argued, albeit with a more restricted Italian or regional market.

According to Thefreegeography, urban life has lost its old fervor everywhere. There are no more wars between city and city: but everywhere, the bell tower is standing more than ever: rivalry, pride of precedence, the effort of the minor ones to adapt to the major ones in terms of titles, quarrels for the distribution of the tax globally assigned to the province or to the kingdom, for military quarters, etc. And sometimes it seems that the ambition of cities is exhausted in obtaining a distinction, which is as a title of nobility for private families. And like the cities, so the minor constituted bodies, the merchant and artisan guilds, the brotherhoods, etc. The tendency of all organisms and groups to close in on themselves is always alive: indeed, in the stagnation of so many activities, of the vital lymphs, it manifests itself more visibly. Every city, feudal or royal, it has or wants to have its own physiognomy, by virtue of privileges solicited for itself. The common dependence almost seems to be an incentive to particularism. The 100 baronies are also strangers to each other. The few bourgeoisie is divided into hostile groups, even within the same city, divided and subdivided into a myriad of guilds competing with each other in the mercantile and productive classes. Between aristocracy and bourgeoisie, the bridges are almost broken, with great contempt for this and its activities. Between aristocracy and bourgeoisie on one side, plebs on the other, a very deep well. And even the plebs, in the very sphere of the same state, do not have equally connections and awareness of unity. The rural one is divided, as divided the fiefdoms. There is nothing in common between the rural plebs and those of the cities that have a favorable regime: and the economy of the former is not a little subordinated to the needs of the latter, that is, to the need for cheap bread. A compact mass of plebs is only in Naples, which came here from every part of the Kingdom but soon unified in its Neapolitan character and well identified and detached from the very province from which it came. In short, a fragmentary society, more perhaps than before, due to the action of governments who prefer to dissolve rather than strengthen the organic nuclei, and financially speculate on the love of distinguishing titles, due to the weaker pace of Italian life , of the diminished wealth, of the diminished work, of the immobilization of many capitals in luxury works, of the deviation towards purely feneratized investments, poor in social effects, sterile or almost from a political point of view.

In short, the signs of stagnation, more visible and certain than those of progress. The bad effects of all those events that have greatly changed the face of Europe since the end of the 15th century are fully felt: discovery of new countries outside the circle of action of Italian cities and states, displacement of old traffic routes , the formation of new centers of economic life in competition with the previous ones, foreign domination and, moreover, of a nation in decline. And let us also think, if we like, of a relaxation of the old energies and the old spirit of initiative, which once gave half of Italy a fast pace of life, a rapid circulation of social elements, their unity despite the heated contrasts. Or rather: those external circumstances had produced,

However, it can be admitted that the Italian of the seventeenth century, the Italian of the Spanish domination and of the Counter-Reformation, the average Italian living in Italy, has less of this energy and spirit of initiative, less creative force. This is also visible in the whole of intellectual activity, as well as in political and economic activity. The great poetry and the great art and the vigorous speculation of the previous age have fallen. Political thought and historiography have not kept the promises of the time of the politicians and historians of the ‘100. In the physical and natural sciences themselves, the first impetus was followed by a certain languor, the tendency to limit oneself to mere experimentalism and pure observation, cataloging, collection of scientific facts and materials. This gives us reason for the lesser appreciation that began to be made, outside of Italy, of Italian science and culture, although the influence of Italian physical and natural studies in Europe is considerable, there is a great echo of the studies and discoveries in the field of physiology and medicine and astronomy even between the 17th and 18th centuries. The homage he continued to give to Italy was more to its past than to its present. The Italian abroad had, after all, a shorter stature than in the previous age, although the intelligence and dexterity and versatility typical of his lineage continued to manifest in him, which reached a high degree in the Renaissance age. Of course, the judgment on Italians tends to get worse abroad. We speak of Italy as the country of Machiavellianism, in the interpretation that Machiavelli gave especially the Protestant countries, but also Catholic countries where they wanted to react to influences of Italian culture. The Italy of brigandage also appears, the Italy of dolce far niente, Italy all pomp and festivals and carnival. This negative judgment is undue, who looks at so many serious manifestations of Italian life even then, who looks at the substance of Italian life itself. And Milton, having returned to England after a few months’ residence in Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice (1638), proclaimed to his fellow citizens that he had always believed on his own, but now having known from direct experience, that Italy was not already, as they believed, an asylum for troublemakers but a hotel of humanity and civil knowledge. But that negative judgment on the Italy of knowledge and on moral Italy reflected, albeit distorting them either by too superficial observation and intelligence of Italian things, or by a nationalistic spirit.

The Dead End of Italian Life 3

The Dead End of Italian Life Part 2

The Dead End of Italian Life Part 2

In short, almost all those states and even those dynasties, from the most to the least, are in decline, both absolutely and with regard to the times and the path made by others; also those who, in the phase of the first formation, had carried out a serious and beneficial action of government, fulfilled the necessary tasks, perfected the administration, etc. are also in decline. Everywhere, relaxation of activity and energy. And everyone knows how in this time vigilance and resistance in the face of the Church and her prerogatives were not a little relaxed; in the face of the endless phalanx of religious orders, monasteries, brotherhoods, people dedicated to real or fictitious clerical life, all claiming “freedom”, that is, exemption from any burden; in front of the big dead man reconstituted as perhaps not even in the 9th and 10th centuries, even though the reasons which at the time had allowed her to carry out a social action that were not infertile had almost disappeared. Everyone knows that, disarmed of the big political functions, the barony, where it was still powerful and treacherous, as in the kingdom of Naples, then lacked almost every ability to restrain the spirit of oppression and robbery towards the vassals, prune the forest of minute privileges which were the consideration for fidelity, to bring the cities and lands they still held back into the direct administration of the state. Indeed, just as the custom of selling offices, titles, privileges spread, so did fiefdoms of cities and lands. In the mid-1600s, almost all the cities of the South were in fiefdoms. Everyone knows that the fiscal system of the principles worsened more or less everywhere, in relation to the growing needs of a policy which was often imposed by extrinsic circumstances, and to the increase of privileged groups and relative decrease in taxable income, and to the disruption of the assets of princely families, to the pomp of the courts. The irregularity and arbitrariness of the fiscal burdens also increased, even though the prince’s advantage did not increase due to the very imperfect methods of collection, to be almost all duties and gabelles contracted out or granted as a guarantee to creditors: what made the tribute. Finally, everyone knows how the communities were ruined, impoverished by redemptions, often stripped of public goods by the barons, scarce of fiscal resources for the exemptions of the richest, laden with debts, deserted by the inhabitants; how brigandage flourished or flourished in the State of the Church, in certain parts of Tuscany, in Abruzzo, in Campania, in Calabria. The awareness of these evils in governments was not always lacking. And not even any good intentions to cure them: ferocious justice against bandits, laws to protect communities from baronial usurpations, and to restore self-administration to them, etc. But who took care of its observance? Governments were once again entangled in the web of special interests: a net which they themselves disrupted with one hand, reconstituted with the other, as an expedient of government. The tasks or interference and interventions of the state have grown more than the tools of action have been perfected: hence the arbitrary, oppressive nature of the action itself and, at the same time, its scarce effectiveness. It can also be added: those Italian states increasingly inadequate to the times, by default organic or created every day more by the new state life of Europe. Or, because they were too small and prevented from growing, they morally collapsed and became corrupted by necessity; or, being, like the dominion of Spain, the dominion of a decaying nation and foreign dominion, they too were aimed, like the papal one, more outside than inside, they too were solicitous of interests that too transcended the provinces Italians subject to them. And it is doubtful that we can identify or, at least, the Neapolitans and Sicilians could and were willing to identify the defense of the Spanish monarchy, the defense of the dynastic interests of the Habsburgs, with the defense of their possessions and honor and freedom. Hence the failure of any moral foundation of that government in Italy; the concrete awareness that it was foreign to Italy.

According to Remzfamily, those states were also resentful of the general conditions of the Italian economy. Which was going through a phase that here is of real and definitive decline, there it is stagnation with more or less temporary characteristics, elsewhere it presents itself as a tiring crisis of transformation, as an effort to adapt the economy to new and less favorable general conditions . The ocean trade had not just supplanted the Mediterranean trade. Italian traders and industrialists felt the impoverishment of the Turkish market: without counting the competition of others, since Greeks, Levantines, Jews of Spanish origin, transplanted to the Levant, had become very active. The wars of religion, especially of the Thirty Years, were impoverishing Germany, which was responsible for not a small part of the trade of northern Italy, with the damage especially of Venice which saw its position deteriorate even further compared to Genoa, closer to the new traffic routes and to the towns of the new wealth. Different circumstances, but equal in effect: the industrial progress of England and that of France, which entered, after the beginning of the century. XV and after the restoration of the monarchical force, in the mercantile phase, with encouragement of all kinds to the old and new peasant industries. Thus a large part of the French clientele, and also of other countries close to France and of the peninsula itself, was taken away from the Lombard and Venetian industries. The Italian colonies in the Netherlands are in full decline, indeed dissolving, and only the various activities of individuals remain certain. Lyon, Marseille, Paris are no longer Italian banking centers. The Genoese themselves are withdrawing from Spain and many of them prefer investments in the Italian mountains or public debts, especially in Rome. Also in Italy, a banking crisis, which between the 16th and 17th centuries sent a huge number of credit institutions to the air in Florence, Venice, Genoa and elsewhere. Therefore, dispersion of capital, mistrust, tendency to hoard, stagnation rather than lack of money, very difficult credit conditions, usury. Therefore, the more sluggish life of the bourgeoisie, the slower rise of social elements to take the place of those who have disappeared, the lowering of the credit and prestige and self-awareness of the bourgeoisie, the trading activity not worthy of the noble man, the classes tending to accentuate detachment and isolation from each other.

The Dead End of Italian Life 2

The Dead End of Italian Life Part 1

The Dead End of Italian Life Part 1

We are at a standstill, in the history of the Italian states, like a river that stagnates in the middle of its course. The Spanish monarchy is worn out as a great world empire and as an Italian power, despite the props it still had in Italy. Those in Italy who abhorred wars, those who saw in the great king essentially the Catholic king, bulwark of religion, stood for the preservation of Spain. The tiny surviving states that felt threatened by the larger ones, the opponents of the Savoy, relied on Spain. The nobility, in general, Spanishized. Even the Neapolitan and Sicilian plebs invoked the protection of the distant king, on whose lands the sun never set. Those who feared the French, for the “volubility, insatiability, lightness of that nation”, as Pope Urban VIII himself said, who also solidarized with the French against the Habsburgs, was attached to the Spaniards. Indeed, the reborn French invasion in the first half of the century revived some branches of the Spanish crown in Italy: Venice itself approached it after the 1930s. But these were static supports, without development and without tomorrow. They were old conservation interests, they were aspirations to quiet do not move . Anyway, not Spain’s own strength. This decline of Spain, as military and financial resources, as prestige and credit, did not escape the contemporary Italians, who drew fears or hopes from it. The wars of Piedmont had deeply wounded it, even without major defeats and losses. The great Spanish machine was deteriorating, the disproportion between the financial resources diminishing, and the great politics to which Spain felt obliged by its traditions of power and prestige, resulted in increasing taxation and exploitation of the subjects, without the consideration. useful features. In short, that government had become a bad government, oppressive and, at the same time, slothful and impotent.

Like Spain, according to Mysteryaround, the independent states of the peninsula were in various crises. Not only the small states of the Po valley, the Farnese one of Parma and Piacenza, the Este one of Modena, the Gonzaga one of Mantua and Monferrato, living every day more of anachronistic life, in the clash of large states, they tiny states, without their own weapons , now without money to hire, without authority to make good use of the mercenaries, with no concrete goals on which to really bet. Not only, I say, the small states; but also the relatively large ones. The duchy of Piedmont, ruled by a woman, torn by dynastic discord and civil war, mastered by the French almost like a century before, stopped on the path of civil progress and Italian reputation on which Emanuele Filiberto had put it and Carlo Emanuele. The republic of Venice is better and worse. Yes, he defends his last Levant possessions with his nails and teeth; in this defense he shows energy, pride, patriotism and military vigor. And it is known how, in the long war in Candia, his admirals found their old aggressive spirit almost in front of Constantinople. However, this activity was maintained with increasing effort and inadequacy for the purposes it aimed at: therefore little less than sterile. All of Europe began to appear on those seas and there was no reason to keep those distant possessions, born and raised for the purposes of trade and navigation. In any case, tired in the East, Venice was no longer able to follow the events of the peninsula,

Worse is for the Grand Duchy of Tuscany which with Francesco I has already lost not a little of what it had gained with Cosimo I, and with Cosimo II what it had gained a little with the energetic Ferdinando I. Ferdinando II (1626-70) he tried to restore some order: but he sold the warships to the king of France and canceled the navy, that is, any possibility of making any policy in the Mediterranean. Worse with the State of the Church, which has, yes, confiscated Ferrara and then Urbino, but every day sees its organic defects worsen, due to its character as a mere instrument or of family interests or universal and transcendent interests that it had assumed. . The administration also lacks that energy that some great popes had explained in the 1500s under the assault of either Venetian or French or Spanish threats or in the ardor of the Counter-Reformation. The papacy as such is again falling from that high position it had enjoyed then. Once the Protestant danger has been curbed, many lost positions have been regained, that sense of mortal threat which had tightened so much of catholicity around its head, with a renewed spirit of dedication, and almost given birth to a new medieval theocracy, we are now at the beginning. of a new descent. With the advance of the seventeenth century, that kind of political-religious internationality of the Catholic world – and also of the Protestant one – which was formed in the midst of the religious wars and of which the pope was the natural leader, ends. Now, Political cadres distinct from religious cadres are reconstituted, believers return citizens and subjects, absolutism is strengthened at the expense of the Church and the papacy as well. The values ​​of the faith take second place or are clearly distinguished from the others, when we see not only a Richelieu and a Mazarin, but also an Urban VIII, who also in their states fought the Huguenots and pursued heretics, allied with Lutherans or indulged politically to them. We can see the passage to another age that will be of purely political and economic struggles, as already the century. XV and XVI, the religious parenthesis closed. Now, all this has a negative effect on the moral position of the papacy; and the moral position of the papacy is reflected in the efficiency of the temporal prince and on the state of the Church. Of which, already at the end of the 16th century, the Venetian speaker Paruta had sketched a very obscure picture. In the seventeenth century, it worsened in terms of internal order, economic prosperity and military capacity. Rome is always a great political center: but of intrigue rather than of conclusive industriousness. Agents of Italian and foreign princes who seek kinship with papal families, trustees of Neapolitan barons, secret informants of every large and small court, adventurers, smoke sellers, etc., are based in Rome.

The Dead End of Italian Life 1

Italy Romanesque and Gothic Arts Part 8

Italy Romanesque and Gothic Arts Part 8

According to Iamhigher, Pietro Cavallini from Rome achieved heroic grace and objective beauty with the relief due to a refined chiaroscuro, with a broad and dignified gesture, with the composition no longer merely frontal. Cimabue, Florentine, more daring, more dramatic, impressed the human passion more deeply: the  Crucifixion that he painted in Assisi looks like a struggle of giants, carried by a wind of despair. And he was intolerant of any linear scheme: his face of St. Francis has broken lines and planes, no longer obedient to a tradition, pervaded by impressionism. Even when in his Madonnas he is in search of grace, the monumental and the heroic prevail. Younger, Duccio di Buoninsegna from Siena is closer to Byzantine art, less popular, more refined, and possesses all the charms of color. Inspired by the sky, the images of him arise like lilies, delicate, harmonious, created with the ingenuity of a child, even when they are enveloped in all the riches of the East. With the contrast of tones he manages to create very solid volumes in the images; yet their grace is so great that it makes them appear ghosts.

Beyond the individual personalities, one feels in the painting of the late thirteenth century a greatness, a detachment from the earth, a language that seems of God, an accent of the absolute, for which the concept of the sublime becomes necessary. So that when Giotto appears immediately after, we feel that he is more ours, richer in artistic possibilities, more varied, but, at the same time, that the first greatness has disappeared, like a lost paradise. No more radiant lights, but few colors, sober richness more chiaroscuro, more relief, more form; one sees less, and since everything is limited, precise, solid, one understands more. No longer shy, aware of its central function in the world, the human figure attracts all the artist’s attention, finds a new architecture in itself, builds the scene itself. His poetry is no longer that of a liturgical hymn: is Dante’s poetry. As in Dante, the ideal power of the past is preserved in Giotto, while the doors are opened in search of reality. He is a conscious integrator of idealism and realism: his idealism allows him to feel reality with an immediacy that is not found later; and his realism allows him to bring God to earth, and to make him walk among men, instead of confining him to the top of the apses, as he used to before. Its shape is not only plastic, but also all accentuated by constructive lines; its color is new, bold, intense, but it has value above all as a way of accentuating the shape. Of his pupils, the only one who has carried out the tendencies of the master to free himself from formal limits is Maso, who paints by hints with surprising magic.

In Siena, while Giotto was making such an upheaval, people continued to dream. We abandoned ourselves to color, to wavy lines, to objective graces, to the magnificence of the oriental courts. But the color became more lively than before, the wavy lines more varied and moving, the more human graces, the more probable magnificences; and if, as in Petrarch, Simone Martini’s Lauras are in paradise, in that paradise one is softly reclining, and to get there one has not traveled the harsh path of Giotto.

Ambrogio Lorenzetti starts from the Sienese tradition of refined color, beautiful lines, a youthful feminine image, and reaches a new plastic power and a suggestion of luministic color agreement. Even in his dramatic compositions, the sense of objective beauty is so full that it becomes a calming catharsis. More impulsive, Pietro Lorenzetti possesses the qualities of his brother Ambrogio, except for the height of the dream, and reaches an intensity of dramatic expression, unknown to all, except Giovanni Pisano. The relationship between painting and feeling was then so immediate that even Simone Martini’s idyllic line could become an exceptional instrument of drama, under Barna’s brush. Then the world gets smaller. The Sienese continue to dream through colors that have become bright by habit, within lines more and more beautiful in their undulation, but sometimes calligraphic. The Rimini people, who were the first, outside of Tuscany, to feel Giotto’s art, try to infuse Byzantine warmth into Giotto’s schemes. The Modenese, the Bolognese, the Milanese, the Padovani always find new and ingenious agreements between the Florentine and Sienese traditions. The Venetians, more loyal to the Byzantine tradition, attempted a solution of the relationship between the Byzantine and the Gothic tastes, without Sienese influence, and yet in a way somewhat parallel to that of Siena. In Florence, Andrea Orcagna and, following Florence, in Pisa, Antonio Veneziano and Francesco Traini are interested in reality with that unscrupulousness that is Boccaccio’s. Divinity has already disappeared from their psychological content, and nevertheless remains in the ideal of form,

In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the miniature flourished, which in Bologna boasted the work of Oderisi da Gubbio and Franco Bolognese; the wood carving with the Sienese statues of the Annunciation, and the ivory one with Giovanni Pisano and the Embriaci in Venice. In the goldsmith’s art, Siena, mother of elegance, counts Ugolino di Vieri, famous author of the corporal of Orvieto; Pistoia remembers Leonardo di ser Giovanni, who had a capital part in the altar robbed of the statuettes by Vanni Fucci in the “sacristy of beautiful furnishings”, and then began the dossal of San Giovanni in Florence. In the art of iron, Siena gave admirable essays, among others those of Conte di Lello in the gates or grates of Orvieto. In the enamels, Venice imitated the Byzantines, especially in the Pala d’oro, and Assisi applied them to the stained glass windows of San Francesco, laughing like flowery meadows, and he glazed the terracotta heads on a blue background, within a row of rhombuses, in the gallery of the lower church, near the Circles monument. The silk drapes were woven, in imitation of those of the East, in the Palermo workshops set up by Ruggiero II.

The bronze was fused in the seals, of which a large collection of matrices is in Rome, in the Palazzo di Venezia, and the gold in the coins, of which the Augustals of Frederick II were examples, worthy of ancient times, and, at the end of the fourteenth century, the half shield of the Carraresi Francesco I and Francesco Novello, who in Padua, the first seat of Humanism, renewed the Roman imperial coins of Commodus and Septimius Severus.

Italy Romanesque and Gothic Arts 8

Italy Romanesque and Gothic Arts Part 7

Italy Romanesque and Gothic Arts Part 7

According to Holidaysort, Arnolfo had in Rome a numerous series of admirers in the Cosmati, who slavishly repeated the learned forms. Instead, in Pisa itself, in Florence and Siena, the art of Giovanni Pisano found free continuation.

Andrea Pisano, the first obscure goldsmith, who soon became famous for the commission he had in 1330 of the first door of the Baptistery of Florence, when he was already old, shows in the bronze bas-reliefs of the door, representing the history of the Baptist, that he had fully assimilated the Gothic style, to be the master of the movement; and it tends to make the story simpler and clearer, reducing the crowd, which filled Giovanni’s bas-reliefs, to a few clearly defined groups, taking care, more than its predecessors, the unity, the connection between the scenes. The proportion of the figures, within the spaces closed by jagged frames of lobes and angles, is correct, in perfect balance; the shapes, elegant and refined in modeling, are turned with goldsmith’s art despite their size: San Giovannino child in the desert, Salomè, with short curly hair and flowing tunic like that of Fra Angelico’s angels, they remain among the most exquisite examples of grace in fourteenth-century sculpture. No sculptor preceded Andrea Pisano in this fundamental reform of the composition; but a painter, Giotto. Proof of this is the beginning of marble bas-reliefs that Giotto himself made for the bell tower of S. Maria del Fiore in Florence, among which theThe art of navigation , with figures of boatmen bent over the oars, eyes fixed on the expanse of the waters, the  Theatrica  with the charioteer studied by the ancient and with panting horses, Agriculture  with the effort of the men who guide the plow and oxen pulling with great force on the hard earth.

It was therefore Andrea Pisano who said the new word in sculpture after that of Giovanni. And he was continued by Andrea Orcagna of Florence (1328-1368), architect, sculptor, painter, poet, who made Andrea’s fomie graver, more constructive, deeper, in the tabernacle of Orsanmichele in Florence (1359), where the realism of the following century is already present. He does not pile up the figures, on the contrary he seems to be afraid of pressing them into the narrow spaces; affirms his tendency to simplify the compositions, to amplify the forms, giving fullness to the faces, breadth to the mantles. The mimicry of the figures is more lively than that of Andrea Pisano: the lips and hands become speaking in the relief with the announcement of death to the Virgin ; the look of the  Solertia, who points his finger to his lips as a sign of silence, is open and lively in contrast to the deep, humble, fearful one of  Virginity . Orcagna is not a restless spirit who always tries new things; he is a hardworking, practical and hardworking teacher. In representing a solemn scene, such as that of the Assumption, he remembered that he was not only a sculptor, but also a mosaicist, to obtain the most vivid and dazzling effects with the background of blue enamel scattered with stars. And with the virtue of an architect he arranged bas-reliefs and mosaics in the tabernacle, admirable for the harmony of the parts, for the noble elegance of the whole, for the majesty assumed by the Gothic style. The angels venerate Mary, playing, singing in ecstasy; and above the pillars of the lantern, along the friezes, on the cusps, the prophets, the patriarchs and the blessed sing praises. Between the glitter of the mosaics, the brightness of the marbles and the splendor of the gold the sacred song rises. The stars twinkle along the twisted columns, in the brocades, in the stoles, in the fringes; the firmament shines on the canopy.

Outside of Florence, Gothicism continues to reign in sculpture, intent on refining the typical forms of Giovanni Pisano. Nino, son of Andrea, limits himself to studying the graceful smile of his Madonnas. He is the main auctioneer of the Pisan style in sculpture, for the diffusion that his statuettes of the Madonna had and also for the construction, in Venice, of the monument to Doge Marco Cornaro.

Giovanni di Balduccio, another Pisan, brought models to the masters of Campione and Como with the monuments of Sarzana and Genoa, and with the ark of Sant’Eustorgio in Milan, from which the other of Sant’Agostino in Pavia derives.

While Giovanni’s Pisan followers conquered the north, his Sienese followers conquered the south of Italy. Tino di Camaino senese works in Pisa, Siena, Florence, Naples, finding his best expression in the bas-reliefs with the life of St. Catherine in St. Clare of this city, where the naive grace of the recommendation makes one forget the superficial structure plastic; Lorenzo Maitani, among the subtle embroidery of the circumvented clusters of vine leaves, carries fragile bas-reliefs from the Old and New Testaments on the front of the Orvieto cathedral; Goro di Gregorio in Messina, Agostino and Agnolo di Ventura, Gano and many others spread the Pisan style throughout Italy when it was already reformed in Florence.

Through the work of Veronese marble workers, and above all of the Venetians Iacobello and Pier Paolo delle Masegne, the second half of the fourteenth century reveals a new, rough and uncomfortable activity, but a sincere researcher of reality; and in Lombardy, through the work of Giovannino de ‘Grassi, painter and illuminator, rather than sculptor, sculpture also intensifies the realistic character, and tends to lead the tortuosity of Gothic ornamentation to paroxysm. Many works dating back to the beginning of the fifteenth century are linked to these fourteenth-century forms, in S. Petronio in Bologna, in the Doge’s Palace in Venice, in the cathedral of Milan, in Naples with the Baboccio, in Florence itself with the retards.

A little later than architecture and sculpture, since the first half of the thirteenth century, Italian painting, which was popular and not courtly painting, presents itself to us with a particular grandeur. The  S. _ Francis by Bonaventura Berlinghieri, who dates back to 1235, has its own perfection. Rigid, hieratic, tormented by asceticism, the image towers over the cases of the saint’s life, painted on the sides: thus the divine overhangs the relativity of human life. And it is no coincidence that what is perhaps the oldest pictorial masterpiece in Italy speaks in the name of St. Francis. Religious life in Italy reached a creative height in the thirteenth century that has never returned. The names of St. Francis and St. Thomas, the very participation of St. Dominic in Italian life, are the most obvious indicators of that religiosity. We felt God, we thought God, we acted in the name of God. God participated in every economic, political, moral, intellectual, artistic act of the life of Italy. The passions, so intense as to leave us astonished, seemed inspired by God, whether they led to battles or directed the brushes. The models might have been Byzantine, but those works that looked like copies, full of a new content of popular religiosity, were independent of the models as works of art. Each one found, beyond the models, his own God.

Italy Romanesque and Gothic Arts 7

Italy Romanesque and Gothic Arts Part 6

Italy Romanesque and Gothic Arts Part 6

In sculpture, Pisa reigns. While the Pisan Baptistery is garlanded with statues and jagged marble cusps, the Camposanto welcomes the remains of men into the land transported from Calvary, the cathedral raises its superb forehead near the bows tower. The sculptors run from Pisa to Lucca to decorate the beautiful San Martino; they run to Perugia to sculpt the fountain where the voices of virtues, liberal arts, the Bible and history resound among the jets; the prophets, the sibyls, Plato and Aristotle rush to Siena to erect the prophets, the sibyls, Plato, and Aristotle, who, in ecstasy or in the fury of inspiration, announce the coming of the Word or the eternal truth to the faithful. Italy was conquered with chisels by Nicola d’Apulia and his school.

According to Globalsciencellc, Nicola (born in the early 1200s and died around 1280) marks the transition period between the Romanesque and the modern ages. Educated by the artists who worked for Frederick II in Puglia, he brings to Tuscany, Lucca, Prato, Pisa, Siena, Umbria, Perugia, the great classical art of the Apulian ambois and castles, and applies it to depict entire cycles of traditional Christian scenes. The pulpit of Pisa, more than all the other works, in which the collaboration of the followers takes over, gives us the knowledge of the art of Nicola d’Apulia, Roman for amplitude of forms, for classic drapery, for the great quiet of the orderly and massive compositions, still subject, like Romanesque sculpture, to the slavery of architecture. The forms, with their imposing structure,

In the art of Nicola’s son, Giovanni (circa 1250-circa 1320), the effects of movement succeed those of august composure; sculpture emancipates itself from the slavery of architectural plans; the gothic whirlwind overwhelms the agitated crowd of statues. Not Nicola d’Apulia, but Giovanni opens the new era of Italian sculpture. Already in Nicola the tendency to enrich the sculptural effect is announced progressively. In the pulpit of the cathedral of Pisa, the decoration is entirely subordinate to the architectural structure: the reliefs in leveled masses, despite the powerful construction of the form, are inserted in a methodical order within the rectangular mirrors of the polygonal parapet, and bundles of columns, three to three, they strengthen each vertex; the imperatorial figures of virtues reinforce the pillars of the arches, and the trefoil arches retain the full center. The first appearance of the pointed arch is in the pulpit of Siena, where Giovanni works for the first time next to his father, performing three bas-reliefs: the Crucifixion , the  Elected , the  Reprobate, in which new life erupts with sudden rebellion. The angels of John, in a corner of the pulpit, stormy, with cheeks swollen like those of the winds, launch the blasts of an advent of new art in the Gothic temple. Profound difference between the art of the two masters, which appears even more evident in the spring of Perugia, where from the polygonal compact and smooth tub, strengthened at the top by heavy bundles of columns, marked, in its massive grandeur, in the style of Nicola, lever the second, agile and broken; and from the second, with a faster leap, the bronze basin: smooth flower corolla into which the magnificent knot of nymphs and griffins plunges; nothing more than the art of Nicola, in this living flower born from the ardent imagination of Giovanni.

The Gothic triumphs with the pulpit of Pistoia in the lanceolate acuteness of the arches, in the cry of the statues, which no longer sit in the chair on the capitals of the columns, nor do they slowly recline within the corner of the pendentives, but give the idea of ​​agitation from below. Faci for the enthusiasm of the movements, the rapid volute of the heads raised above the bodies, gathered in long tunics with sliding bundles of folds. Finally, in the pulpit of Pisa, destroyed by a fire, now rebuilt in the cathedral, the sculptural vegetation rises and descends along the increasingly broken walls, tightening, suffocating, hiding the skeleton of the building. A people of statues form the pedestals of the pulpit; the lions roar out among those forests of convulsive, frail figures, dominated by nerves, burned with fever: the double crowns of leaves on the capitals rotate in the wind in convulsions of flame; and the images of the bas-reliefs, dry, restless, passionate, erupt from the parapet, free in space, overwhelming the architecture; Nicola’s smooth and compact rock creaks, crumbles, breaks down into fantastic shapes. The sculptural forms free themselves from architectural slavery; they conquer space, reflecting, in the painful and feverish contortions, the fatigue of the struggle that led them to liberation.

The concept of independence of sculpture from architecture, greater in Giovanni’s Gothic than in French Gothic, informs the free sculptural vegetation that nestles between the edges of the facade of the cathedral of Siena: lions and dragons, and trampling horses, pushed out of the marble walls, cutting the wind that upsets the bristly manes. Next to that people of unleashed monsters, a people of seers – prophets, sibyls, ancient philosophers – dominate the crowd, shouting to the wind the truths of science and faith.

Not only Giovanni belonged to Nicola’s school. In addition to the mediocre Fra Guglielmo da Pisa, executor of part of the ark of S. Domenico in Bologna and of a pulpit in Pistoia, the noble spreader of the art of Nicola in Rome, Perugia, Florence, Arnolfo di Cambio ( 1232-1301), more faithful than Giovanni to the master, further away from Gothic impulses, tending to refine the forms of Nicola d’Apulia with Tuscan grace. He enriches his works with mosaic decoration, used in Rome by the Cosmati; it brings to art a profoundly Tuscan sense of measure, crystalline regularity of form in full Gothic period, virtuosity of marble processing, love of minute and subtle proportions, of marble sharpness. In the ciborium of Santa Cecilia in Rome, the Italian tendency to regulate the impetus of vertical lines by means of the brake of horizontal dividers, the Italian tendency to squaring, which characterizes our Gothic style in the face of the Gothic style of France, finds its full expression. Giovanni’s feverish life stops in the statuettes that adorn Arnolfo’s food and sepulchres, small and precious, with thinly stretched drapes, inert, almost fossilized bodies. Abstract, petrified and vague are the physiognomies of Arnolfian faces, with silent protruding eyes, without gaze; outlined with rare elegance the thin paper folds of the garments; stares at her small, ribbon-like hands. Refined marble worker, Arnolfo does not care to transfuse life into sculptures, satisfied with formal elegance, with the nobility of frozen forms, of subtle and profound measure.

Italy Romanesque and Gothic Arts 6

Italy Romanesque and Gothic Arts Part 5

Italy Romanesque and Gothic Arts Part 5

The Cistercian monks brought their Burgundian-Gothic style to the abbeys of Fossanova (1197-1208), of Casamari (1217), of S. Galgano (1218-1310), of S. Martino near Viterbo (from 1215), of S. Maria d’Arborea (founded in 1208), of the three Chiaravalle, near Milan, Piacenza and Iesi. Examples of Gothic architecture from Île-deFrance can be found in Sant’Andrea di Vercelli, and in the buildings of Frederick II in Puglia and Sicily, while examples of architecture from southern France were imported by Charles I of Anjou in his kingdom of the two Sicilies, in Lucera, Naples, etc.

Gothic architecture, imported into Italy, fails to dispel the habits of Romanesque construction even when, as in the century. XIV, the fashion of the Gothic line had also invaded sculpture and painting. More measured than the French Gothic, which finds its expression in the daring of the vertical line, in the mystical upward rush, in the cry to God of the spiers pinned to the sky, the Italian Gothic avoids the extreme lightness obtained by the predominance of voids, the unrelated rows of spiers: the indigenous tendency to squaring maintains dominance, so that, more than in the architectural framework, the impulse of Gothic art on Italian art is expressed in the fantastic richness of the decoration.

According to Localtimezone, the facade of the cathedral of Siena, covered by a sumptuous heavy carpet of marble lace, with the pediment flanked by cusps like burning candelabra at the sides of an altar, with the arches and open galleries, remembrance of Romanesque churches, maintains, in the clear organism , prototype at the cathedral of Orvieto, Tuscany, Italian physiognomy. And while in the French cathedrals, the statues, stretched within the thin sheath of the garments, are channeled along the architectural profiles, with rigorous order intended to increase the hieratic impression of verticality, in the cathedral of Siena they rush with impetus out of the frames, animating the he building with the beloved Italic game of shadows created by the paroxysm of movements, free like those of the foliage that twists and licks the edges of the frames with flames. Disappears, this freedom typical of Giovanni Pisano’s art, in the cathedral of Orvieto, where the great lines of the Sienese prototype are preserved, but the surface, extended and flat, is covered, for Lorenzo Maitani, with a light sculptural embroidery, almost miniaturistic, which it does not give accents to the architecture; the pinnacles, perdu or the chiaroscuro play of multiple niches, stretch out, thin and united, as formed by superimposed bundles of rods. Arnolf’s tendency to surface turning, to marble smoothness, seems here timidly to introduce itself alongside the shapes of the Sienese cathedral. And, as always in our architecture, the gothic impetus of the pinnacles, the rise of the lines, is curbed by the intervention of the horizontal. When, in Pisa, S. Maria della Spina was adorned, an exception in Tuscan art, of a rich series of cusps elevated on the high pediments, they are not, like the Gothic spiers, true quills, but small cibori, lace canopies that four short columns hold suspended above the heads of the Virgin and the saints. And those spiers are laboriously grafted onto the always classic frame of the building.

The classic character in Arnolfian buildings is even more pronounced, despite the pointed arches and Gothic points, due to the crystalline structure that derives from the perfect sense of proportion, the marble smoothness of the surface, the logical order in which the statues are distributed in the their thin shells, from the geometry of the Cosmatesque ornament. In the cathedral of Florence, Arnolfo, to accentuate the national character of Italian Gothic architecture, plans to raise the dome, the grand crown of the building, a symbol of majesty and power, a link between Romanesque and Renaissance architecture. divine that dominates men from above, the resonant center of the temple. The elegant, marble Arnolfo, at the beginning of the fourteenth century, is already, in many respects, the man of the Renaissance:

On the other hand, the cathedral of Milan is of a completely foreign style, and precisely Germanic, a stylistic and chronological exception, since it began at the end of the century. XIV, just when Renaissance architecture was about to rise in Tuscany.

Gothic, in the decorations of the windows and doors, but of a purely Italian character, is the construction of the various municipal buildings in the major Italian centers, such as the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, the Palazzo della Signoria in Siena, the Palazzo Ducale in Venice, the Loggia dei Mercanti in Verona. The habit of decorating civil constructions with gothic spirals that were completely square, that is, far from the fundamental mystical spirit of gothic art, continued and developed above all in Venice, until towards the end of the fifteenth century, and produced a special development of the gothic style. flowery, which still constitutes the greatest architectural attraction of that city: the masterpiece of this lagoon architecture is the so-called Cà d’Oro.

Italy Romanesque and Gothic Arts 4

Italy Romanesque and Gothic Arts Part 4

Italy Romanesque and Gothic Arts Part 4

Simple, without echoes, the side door, which repeats the contrast between the pediment of the median arch and the reduced proportions of the intercolumns, is drawn with rare nobility by the taut sparkling belts, where white ribbons and rings mark the mosaic work, with sovereign calm of rhythm.

Among the most beautiful creations of the Roman marble workers are the square bell towers of the churches, regular compositions of overlapping dice, adorned with modillions in white marble, saw bricks, sometimes with majolica, vivid and happy polychrome outline with geometric shapes. With these cheerful frames, like the white teeth of brick red, and with the repeated echo of the arches from nut to nut, the Cosmati took away from the bell towers of Rome, which most of the time survived the renovated churches, like antennas of vanished ships, the impression of an overwhelming and gloomy empire, not rare in Romanesque bell towers.

As always, the art of the Cosmati takes care of the links between the members by multiplying the vivid frames: beyond the simple framing of white modillions and minute brick saws, they can be seen in the bell towers of S. Francesca Romana and Ss. Giovanni e Paolo , marble columns with protruding capitals like a hanger, as in the cloister of S. Lorenzo outside the walls, and discs, and marble crosses, even majolica bowls, always arranged according to the methodical order proper to the art of the Cosmati, which draws the its strength not from the Lombard imagination, creator of complex movements of mass, light and shadow, not from the lavish lavishness of color of the Arab-Normans, but, like our Renaissance art, from the balance, from the regularity of the constructions .

From the Cosmati derive the Umbrian marble workers, who, lacking glass tiles and fine marbles, come to paint the stone fragments, to devise combinations of white and purple stones, as we see in the mother church of S. Francesco d’Assisi: poor monotonous, they create their masterpiece in the Palazzo dei rectors of Perugia, where they meet with Pietro Cavallini, Nicola d’Apulia and Giovanni Pisano.

As in Rome, so in southern Italy and Sicily, according to Itypeauto, the study of the ancient is the foundation for new forms: the art of Campania inspires the masters of Campania; the Apulian Italo-Greek vases are an example to the great Apulian masters, and Greek art to those of Sicily. An example of the peaks of the art of the Apulian masters is the clear architecture of Castel del Monte, a multifaceted mass with powerful towers at each corner, a door studied by the reduction of a triumphal arch, and, in the keys of the vaults, rose windows and masks worthy of the classical art, sculptures where you can see the origin of Nicola d’Apulia. Equally pure forms, but at times inclined, due to the archaic fixity of the features and the pomp of the precious garments, to the art of Byzantium, can be seen in the Campania region, in the admirable pulpit of San Pantaleone in Ravello, for example, where the bust reigns from Mater Ecclesia , idol covered with heavy stoles and diadems. Life is more lively in the other bust of  Mater Ecclesia coming from Scala to the Berlin Museum: the shoulders erupt from the gulf of the mantle; under the light diadem of leaves, their frizzy hair in the wind quiver, and their open eyes bloom turgid in the sun. The great archaism, the august impassivity of the Ravello bust yield to a passionate breath of life; the new art looks from the big bright eyes of the bust of Scala. In the dazzling mosaic decoration of the ambos of Ravello, of Sessa Aurunca and of Salerno, as in the intertwined cloisters of Amalfi, the art of Campania is fascinated by the pomp of Saracen art, which dominates, with the Byzantine, in Sicily, and forms an architecture shining with oriental lights and polychrome Arabian fabrics, enriched by a pomp of color, by the fretwork of the marble lace, by an inexhaustible variety of ornaments,

Cosmatesque art, which has its full evolution in the thirteenth century, always shy from the Gothic, finally finds the dominator in Arnolfo di Cambio, in the Tuscan master who, while surrendering to the Gothic forms, brings indigenous voices into the choir, high-sounding. And it is then, when in the choir the voices of the Cosmati are added, Duce Arnolfo, to exalt the Italian traditions, that they find echoes in the art of Giotto and, for him, in all Italian painting.

Gothic architecture (v. Gothic, art), originated from three fundamental elements, from the ribs supporting the cross vaults, from the arched buttress, from the pointed arch, had the first of these elements in Lombard Romanesque architecture; on the contrary, the Lombards first understood how the way to lighten a cross vault, separating its weight and thrust, consisted in weighing each segment of vault on two crossed arches, resting on the bundled pillars, as shown in the construction of Sant’Ambrogio a Milan. But the Lombards did not draw all they could out of this ingenious discovery; they did not develop the sketched motif, so their work remained more developed than in Romanesque art in the rest of Europe, and less so than in Gothic art.

Italy Romanesque and Gothic Arts 5

Italy Romanesque and Gothic Arts Part 3

Italy Romanesque and Gothic Arts Part 3

In Tuscany a whole series of marble architects seem to have inherited and kept intact over the centuries the classicism of forms, manifested in the Florentine Baptistery, in the cathedrals of San Miniato al Monte, of Empoli, of Fiesole, with triangular pediments and geometric marble coverings; classrooms divided into a triple nave by full-center arches, columns surmounted by Corinthian capitals, domination, in the architectural structure, of horizontal and vertical planes; floor decoration translated according to the classical order, in the still ancient technique of opus sectile .

In the Romanesque age the spirit of Rome was opposed first to Lombardism, then to Gothicism. To the multiple effects of light and shadow, implemented through the complicated arrangement of masses in the Romanesque cathedrals of northern Italy, Rome opposed its classical tradition. The color, the sparkle of gems and gold, a passion of the Middle Ages, continues to fascinate the Roman marble workers: the marbles shine with stars and roses; cathedrals appear vivid mosaic carpets that the south of Italy had learned to weave from the ruling Arabs. But both the mosaic decoration, rich and dazzling, as the sculptural decoration, where the classical motifs intertwine with the Romanesque motifs, are an integral part of the architecture, underlining its shapes, perfecting its meter. The tiles make up geometric ornaments, the colors are reduced to a few repeated notes: porphyry and serpentir10 are recessed, cut into discs and squares, within the mosaic carpet. Sumptuous apparators, the Cosmati are first and foremost builders: they subtly balance the masses of their buildings, they use the ornamentation to complete the effect of the architectural lines. In the cloister of S. Giovanni in Laterano, the point of arrival of the Prearnolfian cosmatesque art, the twenty-five arches,  divided into five orders on each side of the quadriporticus, make up, resting on a high stylobate, adorned with transenna; the bands and creasing of the arches, the thin striae of the arches, preludate Renaissance forms. leaning on a high stylobate, it adorns a barrier; the bands and creasing of the arches, the thin striae of the arches, preluding to forms of the Renaissance. leaning on a high stylobate, it adorns a barrier; the bands and creasing of the arches, the thin striae of the arches, preludate Renaissance forms.

According to Elaineqho, the door of the church of S. Tommaso in Formis, between the wide and extended cornices, is drawn with grandiloquent Roman amplitude, and on the frame the ashlars, arranged in halo rays within the arch, form only august ornament. More complex shapes appear in the portal of S. Antonio in Rome, where the system of columns and pillars, supporting the large concentric arches, divided into strips, limited by sharp cornices, creates events of intense and distinct lights and shadows. A second system of small columns and short pillars supported by the Egyptian sphinx, a motif repeated by the Cosmati, for example, in S. Giovanni in Laterano, repeats the chiaroscuro events above, breaking the edges of the smooth front of the arch: the entablature has for only a frieze is written, as in the noblest buildings of the Tuscan Renaissance.

Pietro and Nicolò di Rainerio placed their signatures above the door and the window of the church of S. Maria di Castello in Tarquinia, one of the oldest and at one time one of the most classic constructions of this medieval Roman art, which loves metric pauses, the regular ornaments, the flat drafting of the frames. In large areas, these extend around the fine golden door from the lunette, expanding its proportions, giving it an appearance of solemn and peaceful majesty, of sober splendor.

A search for grandeur – more rare than is believed in this classical art of spirit, balanced, preferring flat surfaces, on which to spread the shining notes of the mosaic – is evident in the sublime triumphal arch, which rises from the low portico of the cathedral of Civita Castellana, extended in width, closed between the wide base of degrees and the entablature adorned with a fine geometric border of rectangles and mosaic discs, a favorite of Roman wall paintings, a jeweled belt that accentuates the Cosmatesque modesty of proportions of the Ionic loggia, in comparison with the arch supported by pillars and crowned by a classic pediment.

A splendid example of mosaic decoration applied to Cosmatesque architecture are the two doors in the atrium of the cathedral of Civita Castellana, the work of the marble workers Lorenzo and Iacopo. The main door opens, jeweled with shining areas, under a regal halo of arches, which, starting from pillars and columns, draw a vast halo in degrees around the sparkling lunette of colored stones. Soft flowery mosaic belts border the jambs: wider, they spread a polychrome carpet along the pulvini, to descend, between ribbons of white marble, on the frames of the entablature, and thus tie the door, thin, refined with shapes, to the degrees of its expanses frames, to the sovereign majesty of the arches. And the domination of the surrounding gray enlivens the splendor of the polychrome tesserae and the white ribbons that trace along the jambs, on the dense varied fabric of the backgrounds, large geometric designs of rectangles and discs. Radiant center of the halo that surrounds the door, the half rose introduces a new element of a rare color in Cosmatesque art: the fretwork.

Italy Romanesque and Gothic Arts 3

Italy Romanesque and Gothic Arts Part 2

Italy Romanesque and Gothic Arts Part 2

The two masters spread their art in Emilia, Lombardy and Veneto: in Nonantola, in the door of the abbey church, in Ferrara and in Cremona, in the cathedral; in Piacenza, and in San Benedetto Po San Benedetto di Polirone, in the large church founded by the Countess Matilde; in Parma, in the porch of the cathedral; in Verona, in the cathedral and in San Zeno, Nicolò carrying out the primitive composite images with ever greater fire and momentum, culminating in the vital tangles of the capitals of San Zeno.

After the two master promoters of the great Romanesque movement in northern Italy, a guild of architects and stonecutters rises, which goes to Trentino and establishes itself in the cathedral of Trento and in Dalmatia in the cathedral of Traù. Frequent exchanges are noted between this Romanesque art and the flourishing art in Provence during the century. XII, so that a homogeneous current – but not devoid of very evident special characteristics – joins northern Italy to the south of France, reaching Dalmatia to the east and reaching Tuscany, Lucca, Volterra, Massa Marittima.

According to Aceinland, the development of Lombard-Romanesque art, creator of pictorial effects through complex distribution of shadows and lights, accelerated towards the middle of the thirteenth century, when the Veronese quarries were exercised. Then came Antelami, crown of the Lombard movement (1178-1233). A few years after the strong sculptor of the wharf of the cathedral of Modena had cut his acrobatic caryatids in the marble, with powerful plastic synthesis, Antelami appears to us for the first time in a bas-relief of the cathedral of Parma, the Crucifixion, distinguishing himself from the massifs Lombard precursors for the elongated figurines, rigid stems within garments with filiform folds: a fine illuminator seems to succeed the grandiose models. But his art explains its faculties only later, in the Baptistery of Parma, a clear octagonal construction, where the color effect is obtained with a graduated succession of shadows and lights in regular uniform areas; the massive gravity of the Romanesque piers is attenuated in the slender columns that support the thin entablatures; the Romanesque arches under the cornice are designed with the grace of lace; and the French-style pinnacle bell towers add momentum to the corners of the building. The regular fretwork succeeds the fantastic combinations of light and shadow: the spirit of Gothic art begins to be felt in the growing subtlety of the shapes and in the dominion given to the principle of verticality. More severe than ever is the slavery of antelamic statuary to architectural forms; and the same refined virtuosity that the sculptor explains by working, in the frieze of an overdoor, the light robes of Salome, it is found in the drapes with concentric folds falling from the capitals, under sinuous abacuses. Refined, elegant in the slender figures of the friezes, an easy popular narrator of biblical legends, Antelami dresses the angels encased in niches above the main door, wooden and powerful like the prophets outside the cathedral of Fidenza as priestly majesty. The sculptor gives classical nobility to the forms of the queen of Sheba, transparent by soft veils, to the archangels inside the baptistery, a fire of attitudes and gaze. The poem of human redemption is explained in the building guarded by solemn angels and clairvoyant prophets. Let the infernal dragon open his throat, let the beasts, the errors, the vices around the source of grace: they will be dispelled by the God who subdued every power of evil; inside the Baptistery is the washing of the soul, regeneration, salvation: the dragon that threatened the root of the tree of life is defeated, pierced by the angels who circle the sacred place like heavenly guards. With the last work of Antelami, the statue of Oldrado da Tresseno in Milan, reappears in a Palazzo del Popolo, on the front of a public square – after many centuries from the monument of Theodoric in Ravenna – the equestrian statue, the heroic monument for excellence, transfigured by the thinness of timid and gentle forms, by the silky rustle of clothes.

While Antelami, in Parma, in Fidenza, in Vercelli, in Milan, spreads its delicate and slender sculptures, often dressed in fine polychrome, the Venetians, who first tried to recall the Christian forms of the early days (columns of the ciborium of San Marco, sarcophagi of the cloister of the Saint in Padua), create the great arch of the months and the angels in the cruise of San Marco, combining the antelamic forms with the refinement of the Byzantines. Romanesque art then adorned the doors of the cathedral dressed in oriental gold with a magnificence never seen before. Not the minute and poor leaves of Antelami, not geometric divisions, but an intertwining of luxuriant foliage, animals, human figures, a complex of knots, vital in every curve, in every winding of line, forms a sculptural frame to them: Byzantine embroidery lends its sumptuous fabric to the images reinforced by the Romanesque structure. Large marble lyres, composed of branches and rolled leaves, adorned with clusters of grapes, with heavy and magnificent pendants, close in the melodic curves episodes of animal fights: and leaves, trunks, beasts, are worked with the finesse proper to marble inlay more than marble sculpture. Elsewhere there are children playing at chasing each other in labyrinths of intertwined trunks, and various scenes within circles: life engulfs itself in a luxuriant vegetation of leaves and branches. Modeled with exquisite refinement of lines are the figures of the months, now intent on work, like the beautiful fowler from whose hands the birds escape in throbbing clusters, now seated in golden thrones, like August sleeping in the heat of the sun. Torpid volutes of stork’s necks around precious amphorae, coils of entwined branches, twisted calligraphic folds, finesse of chiseled features, make the monumental arch, like the priestly angels of the cruise, the sculptural masterpieces of the Venetian cathedral. Venice, which by imitating the refined works of Byzantium aimed at the decorative splendor, composed, around the time of Nicholas of Apulia, with the reliefs of the portal of St. Mark, almost a preface to a book of hours or missal, reminding the people of God lord of time and life.

Italy Romanesque and Gothic Arts 1

Italy Romanesque and Gothic Arts Part 1

Italy Romanesque and Gothic Arts Part 1

Since the century XI began the new art, which is called Romanesque, and among us it can be properly called Italian.

The Romance arts reigned wherever the eagle of the legions flew in ancient times. It seemed then that the yeast of memories moved the earth, from Campania to Lombardy, from the banks of the Rhine to those of the Danube; sprouts sprouted from the old Roman trunks everywhere; the unity of our people was felt in the unity of the art resurrected from Aosta to Monreale. Towers rose from the valleys to protect human nests, castles rose, cities were surrounded by crenellated walls; and between the towers and castles rose the cathedral, a bulwark of religion and of the country.

According to Itypetravel, there were few sounds that were being determined in the words; and the words seemed to come out interrupted, as if in sobs. The tools that sought the expression of life were still crude, unhardened; but they were refined in the work, breaking the stones, the marbles of the torn quarries of Luni and Lombardy, of Veronese and Istria. There were still few models that taught the virtue of the ancient indigenous art, but outside the ruins the ancient statues appeared, no longer as nefarious idols, beautiful in their nakedness; and in Etruria the Arezzo vases seemed to have come down from heaven at Ristoro d’Arezzo; in Emilia, Wiligelmo and Nicolò drew the decorations of the cathedrals from Roman sarcophagi and Greek archaic marbles; in Puglia, on the Italo-Greek vases, which reappeared outside the furrows of the earth, the beautiful style was fashioned which Nicolò made eternal. Exultet , opening his arms to the light.

Romanesque art in the century. XII was already born in Italy with original local characters; and certainly not suddenly, because reasons and news reconnect it with the Ravenna forms of the century. YOU. And not in particular, such as the intertwined sculptural decoration or the construction of the cross vault on the beam pillar, can one find the first explanation of a phenomenon as complex as Romanesque art.

The first and most intimate manifestation of the Christian spirit in art was the subordination of all artistic elements to the effects of light, materially obtained from the beginning with luminous glass, with precious metals, with gems, which Byzantium and the East supplied to the ports of call. maritime city; but the internal regions, Lombardy for example, had neither wealth nor suitable ways to continue the Byzantine chromatic splendor. Before any other internal region, by natural force, Lombardy organizes the Commune, like the Romanesque cathedral. From Campione, Como, Mendrisio, the stonecutters and master masons descend in ranks, and search in the overlapping of stones and bricks, in archings for example, those same effects of light previously obtained with precious materials of metals and glass. They had to realize that their effect was more art than the previous one, because more naive, more spirit and less matter; and when, after a thousand attempts, they reached Sant’Ambrogio in Milan, they had obtained the absorption of color and light in the architectural and sculptural technique, with incalculable effects. Suffice it to say that in this way they achieved the fusion of the longitudinal system with the central one in the cross basilica, solving the problem that had remained unsolved from the century. IV onwards; and they obtained the effects of light not only inside, as had happened in the art of the early days, but also outside, by means of infinite fantasies of projections and recesses.

The work carried out between the century. VI and XI, in the regions where Byzantine action was less felt, it was not in vain for art. It was a slow, hidden, continuous work, as if within the bowels of our earth, along heaps of debris from the ancient world, through the slag of volcanoes; but the cavern opened to art, which in the darkness, in the silence, had become spiritualized, freed also from gemmale matter, reduced entirely to an artifice of lights. Thus modern art was founded in the Romanesque cathedral.

There was a lack of construction materials, and here is the people, who wanted to centralize their life in the cathedrals and palaces of the Municipality, to resort to ancient monuments to build new ones. The cathedral of Modena was then covered with marbles collected on Via dei Sepolcri, the work of the architect Lanfranco, assisted by the sculptors Wiligelmo and Nicolò, the first rude, violent, incomplete; the second creator of clear reliefs embedded in space with an almost medalistic measure, fervent inventor of weaves, coils, scrolls in the friezes of foliage and animals. Wiligelmo’s primitive, wild and heavy work alternates in incessant contrast with Nicolò’s most refined work. Next to the monsters that weave hair and tails in wild tangles on the capitals, creatures that came out of the darkness of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance seems to open the way to memories of the ancient in the rough funeral genes with reversed faces, and above all in the well-known bas-reliefs at the top of pilasters, a sculptural masterpiece of this primitive Romanesque art, sometimes close to examples of the purest Greek archaism. Wiligelmo, Nicolò and their collaborators gathered on the doors and capitals of the cathedral of Modena sacred legends, biblical and chivalric stories, lives of saints and romance songs, together with diabolical visions of monsters and vices, all the tangled knowledge of the people that in the church he wanted to see himself portrayed and exalted. While Wiligelmo adorns the facade of his sculptures erupting with brute and grandiose force from the frames, Nicolò orders his schematic and agile compositions, his elegant arabesques of human figures.

Italy Romanesque and Gothic Arts 1

Italy Literature Part IV

Italy Literature Part IV

As for the “young” writers, they all appear intended – in their acute need for objectivity, detachment, perspective, which does not exclude, indeed presupposes the minutiae of investigation – to the establishment of a new narrative time and language. Generation, therefore, essentially of storytellers, in which the acquisitions of previous generations are combined, not without fruit, with experiences of other literatures, especially the American and Russian, sometimes assimilated through a direct work of translation. And the banner under which this narrative is collected is that of realism: a realism, moreover, far from the nineteenth-century one, as an expression of a non-historiographical taste – even if it presents itself with social demands or with still “provincial” features – but evocative and memorialistic, which in some respects is its antithesis, aiming not so much at historical reality, at the truth, as at a reality dreamed of and made magical by memory, teeming with mysterious links between man, nature and things, all ebbs and flows between the ‘today and yesterday, between the apparent and the occult, between thought and meaning (indeed sex), between the nightmare of the limit, which is the moral law, and the levity of gambling, of gambling. A realism, in short, “surreal” (which does not necessarily mean surrealistic): which often corresponds to a strenuously analytical or psychoanalytic narrative; a narrative, sometimes, from a memorial or from a report;  but always deeply committed to tightening and portraying in characters and situations that “unconscious”, that ineffable “, which is her muse and her torment.

According to Countryvv, there are various trends and ways in which this realism has been mottled in recent years. There are writers for whom that memory is, in Proustian terms, a search for “lost time”, and narrating a retracing backwards, with the aid of Freud (and sometimes of Sade), images, dreams, memories, up to the ancestral mystery of blood . Tendency that goes from the idyllic moralizing of Alessandro Bonsanti and from the casuistic one, with sudden openings of the landscape, by Guido Piovene (Letters of a novice, 1941; Pietà contro pietà, 1946), to the tale between crepuscular and Kafkaesque by Dino Buzzati (The desert dei Tartari, 1940) or Ennio Flaiano; and which has a wide following among writers, as the one that best lends itself – with its interior monologues, its epistolary forms, its anxious evocativeness – to the need, precisely female, of introversions, confessions, fantasies. And from Paola Masino to Margherita Cattaneo, from Maria Chiappelli to Anna Maria Ortese, from Elsa Morante to Orsola Nemi to Pia d’Alessandria, the results are often very happy. (Apart from Anna Banti and Maria Bellonci in a field of research or critical-lyrical contamination). And there are writers in whom that moral or moralistic motif, which is accompanied – sometimes with a lucid, almost eighteenth-century pleasure of the intelligence – to all the new fiction, loves to be transposed into humorous ways, of satire or parody of bourgeois costume: with mimicry, spectacular, as in Vitaliano Brancati (Don Giovanni in Sicily, 1941), or surrealist, as in Tommaso Landolfi (Le due zittelle, 1946). And then there is the growing family of “neorealist” storytellers, where the interest in the external world, the environment, society, although strictly related to that for the inner life, conscious and subconscious, nevertheless makes itself felt more than in other writers: and therefore their area of ​​excavation it is, apparently, closer to the so-called everyday reality. It is the tendency that, at its extremes, Elio vittorini and Alberto Moravia have: one representative of a narrative which, due to its own ties or sympathies for the “prose of art” and for the “poetic aura” of the evocative ones, it retains even in the most crude forms (or where it most seems to trace the Americans) a tone of lyrical memory; the other represents a «sliricata» narrative, of a «prosaprosa», which tends towards art above all by virtue of intimate design and architecture. And with vittorini, whose Conversation in Sicily (1941) remains one of the salient books of these years, it should be remembered – in a very varied range of sensibilities and expressions – Cesare Pavese (Your Countries, 1941), PA Quarantotti-Gambini (L’onda dell ‘ cruiser, 1948), Giuseppe Dessì (San Silvano, 1939), Romano Bilenchi (The drought, 1941), Vasco Pratolini (Family chronicle, 1947). With Moravia, who gave us his most harmonious, most beautiful story in Agostino (1944), we will remember Francesco Jovine (The buried pastor, 1945), Ignazio Silone, Carlo Bernari, Arrigo Benedetti and Giuseppe Berto (The sky is red, 1947). And it is on this second branch of neorealism that the Marxist or populist tendency, born of the war (especially partisan), and using a language that is hardly differentiated from the news, has recently come to be grafted onto it; and that which is affected by French existentialism in certain harsh and foul-mouthed sexual accentuations. But so far – precisely due to the prevalence of the thesis or the manner – they have given to art; and from the literature of the Resistance the most poetic book remains, between story and essay, the Christ stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi.

But common to both neorealists, and a little, in general, to all new storytellers, is the intent to articulate the characters better and better than the landscape, the atmosphere or the chorus that still surround them; to ensure that the action, the “drama” is born from the fickle web of sensations and introversions, and that the dialogue resurrects and flows from the indirect narrative and the interior monologue. That dialogue through which only the character can acquire, whatever his proportions, his individuality, his voice, his “duration”. The problem of problems, for the young fiction, is here. (And to it goes in a certain sense also that of the rebirth of a theater which – after the dissolution of the old forms of bourgeois comedy, operated by Pirandello and Pirandellismo – give an adequate stage language to the new spiritual instances. Today the only true poet in this field is Ugo Betti). In any case, the young fiction, in the complex of its tendencies and, more importantly, of the works, constitutes – together with poetry – the newest and certainly the richest aspect of the future of the contemporary literary panorama.

Italy Literature 04

Italy Literature Part III

Italy Literature Part III

But there are, in this generation, the storytellers, the novelists: indeed they are among the most distinguished of today’s literature. However, their narrative, aiming to replace the objectivity of the realist or bourgeois one, against which it arose at the time, a subjectivity entirely imbued with critical and lyrical ferments, is a narrative that cares more for the individual pages or episodes than the whole, composition in a formal sense rather than in a structural sense; a narrative, in short, for the most part not yet “written”. And here too it is necessary to make a distinction between those narrators who remain, albeit with new spirits, on a more or less traditional line, such as Bruno Cicognani, Marino Moretti and Riccardo Bacchelli himself (who even refers to the historical novel, but to transpose it – and the Mill of the Po, 1938-40, he is the highest example of this – his pietas of every human work); and other narrators, such as Aldo Palazzeschi, Enrico Pea, Massimo Bontempelli, who deviate from it to make room for irrational, fantastic and similar tendencies, and who therefore, feeling in a very similar way to that of poets, the need for an expressive renewal, have exerted a singular influence on younger writers and storytellers. Thus, p. eg, Gente nel tempo (1937) or Giro del sole (1941) by Bontempelli, and the Cuccoli brothers (1948) by Palazzeschi, constitute, in the direction of a “magical realism” – understood not as mere poetry, but as effective magic of speech – goals, in their diversity, very remarkable.

Other tastes, other tendencies are those of the “middle” writers, who, having established themselves in the decade following the First World War, in the wake of the experiences of the Ronda, found in the “journey”, in the “evocative” prose, in the “idyll”, in the story with a descriptive background, in “landscapes with figures”, and the like, their appropriate forms. Forms that already marked a development with respect to the Vocian “fragment”, the Rondesque “essay” and the corresponding narrative, since on the one hand, by describing people and countries (especially Italy), one began to re-establish that contact with the ” real “, with the” object “, which the previous generation, in the dominant solipsism, had eluded; and on the other hand, by evoking, transposed into “poetic auras” or vaguely allegorized in “earthly adventures”, the spiritual ambages, anxiety or boredom of nothingness, they gave rise to those anxious themes and modes of “memory” which, mixed with Freudian elements, had a great following among younger writers. Above all, that describing and evoking was a way of narrating oneself and of narrating oneself, objectifying oneself. And over the years, in fact, these forms have taken on an increasingly narrative accent: Even in writers who naturally incline to poetic or evocative prose, such as GB Angioletti (and not only in Donata, 1941, but in the same “journeys” happy, of Old Continent, 1942) and Giovanni Comisso, who has given us new proofs of his ability to transfigure the life of the senses into luminous adventures of the imagination. Or such as Giorgio Vigolo, whose ideal autobiography tends more and more to the architectural composition of a beautiful Roman Baroque; and Gianna Manzini, with his “tales to tell”, sustained, almost “sudden” musical, by a pure inventive rhythm. According to Allcountrylist, Corrado Alvaro, on the other hand, is one of those writers who would most like to escape the lyrical enchantment, that monologizing dialogue (which in part derives from Verga), affecting his stories and novels more in a realistic substance: but in Incontri d ‘ love (1941) and in The Short Age (1946) his greatest gift still remains that choral animation of the landscape and things around astonished, ecstatic characters, almost speaking in a dream. And, in his anxious angelism, Nicola Lisi also makes the figures of his own “fables” or tales speak in a dream, however, silhouetted in a vivid light; while Luigi Bartolini translates his love for “reality” and nature into lively portraits of women and animals, in vague sylvan idylls poetically (or polemically) contrasted with murky city visions. Bonaventura Tecchi has made a great journey along the path of fiction, refining his faculties even more, in one of psychological analysis and representative synthesis. And if the ideal measure of his narration remains the idyll between light and shadow, between realism and elegism (Idilli moravi, 1939; L’isola passionate, 1945; The presence of evil, 1948), the autobiographical motifs always appear better in tune with objectivity . Rather than the novel, the “long story” is better suited to the concentrated qualities of excavation by Giani Stuparich: the felicissima Isola (1942), as proof, with respect to Returning (1941); while Bino Sanminiatelli has advantageously grafted a certain lyrical imaginism into the Tuscan background of his fiction. Veins of an irrationalism and surrealism that do not disdain reality, however, feed both the lexical (a little Dossi-like) and “macaronic” humor of CE Gadda, as well as the lyrical and larval humor of Cesare Zavattini; Achille Campanile, on the other hand, seemed to accentuate the melancholy or crepuscular expressions of his laughter. (And from him and above all from Zavattini derive, with their own tones, some of the most recent humorists, such as Giovanni Mosca and Nino Guareschi).

Italy Literature 03

Italy Literature Part II

Italy Literature Part II

Between Ungaretti and Montale, although they cannot really be said to be followers, there are some of the most valid poets of today, such as Salvatore Quasimodo, who carried out that fruitful reconciliation on his behalf, in an assiduous work of translator, especially from Greek poets. with the classics; Adriano Grande, intended to always better harmonize discourse and melody; and – younger – Leonardo Sinisgalli, happy above all in his hastily elegiac forms and tones; Alfonso Gatto, whom the most rigorous hermeticism sometimes manages to reconcile with that singing vein, with those echoes of Di Giacomo, connatural to him; Libero de Libero, which is to be preferred where, on an epigram rhythm, the fable of childhood turns into hallucinated landscapes; and again: Sandro Penna, Mario Luzi, Vittorio Sereni, Giorgio Bassani, Margherita Guidacci. Apart from, although they too relate to the experiences of pure poetry, Sibilla Aleramo must be remembered, who certainly her native D’Annunzio often manages to redeem in an almost magical amazement of moods and musical chords; Girolamo Comi, who from the anthroposophical forms of a hermeticism to Onofri has reached the clarity of a Christian vision of life, giving ever more harmonious expression to his world full of secret germinations; and Carlo Betocchi, who certain air of popular song, of an affable realism, elegiacally transposes in ineffable superrealities of dreams.

But hermeticism understood in this way, if it is a phenomenon of such importance that it also affects poets of different origins and backgrounds (like a Betti), or even opposing it (like a Cardarelli); however, it cannot be identified with all the poetry of today. Umberto Saba stands out among these poets who, with the definitive edition of the Canzoniere (1945), offered us his poetic autobiography, dominated by an expiatory sense of pain, by a biblical fatality, and yet so fervently mixed with aspects and events of his Trieste, so solicitous to the illusions or invitations of love. Poetry of medium tone, almost “spoken”, and still faithful, in metrics and vocabulary, to tradition: but its lyrical power is such as to often elevate one and renew the others.

As for dialect poetry, always flourishing in Italy, it should be noted how pure poetry has made its influence felt even on its new authors. Once all historical or folkloric interest has fallen, they appear as “minor” lyrics, which use the dialect for a subtle, ironic counterpoint to certain sentimental motifs (such as Virgilio Giotti from Trieste); or rather for a precious underlining or mixture of verbal values, according to a taste that could be defined as “macaronic” (like the Roman Mario Dell’Arco). Poetry in dialect, therefore, more than dialectal poetry: and of the tradition that comes from Belli to Pascarella (whose posthumous and unfinished Storia nostra has disappointed), the last descendant remains, with free and witty spirits, Trilussa.

According to Topschoolsintheusa, the panorama of prose is much more complex: unlike that of poetry, which is quite unitary in tendencies, as young people find themselves grappling with the same expressive problems as the elderly, it is varied not only in tendencies, but also in terms of trends. genres, of forms, of ways. Which is also the diversity of literary generations, since writers trained in a given period, in the same spiritual and cultural climate, cannot fail to appear united – above the individuality of temperaments – by certain preferences of taste, by certain consonances of poetics and attitudes.

Thus the writers who, moving from fragmentism (see App. I, p. 618), matured between the first pre-war and the post-war period, between La Voce and La Ronda, and who by now – with the disappearance of Panzini, Pirandello, Deledda – constitute the generation ” elderly “, remained faithful, for the most part, to the” prose of art “, the” essay “, the” elzeviro “, mixed in invention and reflection, lyrical inspiration and critical conscience. If anything, some of them, such as Emilio Cecchi, Bruno Barilli, Alberto Savinio, have come to accentuate their original metaphysical disposition in a magical or surreal sense. And it is no coincidence that they are also expert writers in other arts, either for critical knowledge or for direct practice. Of those arts – music, painting – in which those irrational yeasts appear to operate no less, and perhaps more, than in literature. Cecchi especially gave us, in America amara (1939) and in the last Corse al trotto (1941), new, admirable examples of his visual and analogical faculty, fueled, together, by a very refined culture and by a fabulous feeling of nature, of the unprecedented, of the primitive, which is almost an escape from it. Other writers, such as Antonio Baldini and Vincenzo Cardarelli, have instead more adhered to the “classic” lesson of the Ronda: even if the increasingly malicious classicism of a Baldini is strictly related to his love for form, plastically and sensually understood. Finally, others, such as Soffici and Papini, have rather distorted than developed their youthful impressionism, especially the latter.

Italy Literature 02

Italy Literature Part I

Italy Literature Part I

Whoever, in today’s Italian literature, hopes to find the signs of a clear detachment, of a “decisive turning point” produced by what has recently happened in the world and particularly in Italy, could perhaps be disappointed. Not that those signs are lacking at all (and just look at the more recent fiction), and this literature has estranged itself into Arcadian lazes; but being only moments or aspects of a process of renewal already underway for many years, such signs have very little of the abrupt evidence or immediacy that that researcher might perhaps expect.

Moreover, According to Usaers, Fascism itself had little effect on that process: and because the new literature, all folded in on itself to listen to the secret heartbeat of sensations, or abducted far from reality in the enchanted domains of memory, seemed to offer little grip to the dominant rhetoric. ; and because the latter, if it formulated some rough concordances between “art and life”, little was then taken care of whether they were respected. And in fact the political declamations on healthy optimism, on the primacy of race, on Romanism and the like, corresponded, in literature, to a “hermetic” poem, a narrative of unrealistic and “indifferent”, a celebrating theater, in the footsteps of Pirandello, the disintegration of the self. Not to mention the criticism, oscillating between Crocianism and hermeticism (see criticism, in this App.). Of course, in this unbridled irrationalism, that the thought, the will, the moral world overwhelms or cancels in the sense, it is also possible to recognize a common root with those psychological and political attitudes that led to the dictatorship. But it is also true that that irrationalism, which in art is called “decadentism”, was a European phenomenon long before it was Italian: and its phases, its developments – which in part still last – have been reconciled very well, in others countries, starting with France, with the freedom of institutions. In Italy that decadentism passed to politics through D’Annunzio degenerated into Futurism, that is, through a literature that became – by mechanical deterioration of the word into sound, into onomatopoeia – an action itself. But this passing happened just when the new literature, coming out of that long anti-Annunzian labor that reaches the Ronda from the Voce, he brought back the word to its lyrical essentiality. In short, fascism inherited, serving it up to the extreme consequences, that poor D’Annunzio that literature had repudiated, indeed expelled from itself to rely if ever on a completely different D’Annunzio: the “pure” and perennial one of Alcyone and nocturnal and secret prose. Fascism and new literature thus found themselves, at a given point, and with very few exceptions (such as certain “extrapaesanismo” of the early days, which was however a way), on opposite sides, speaking two different languages.

Now, if we want to make a fair assessment of the last decade, the signs mentioned must be grasped in depth, in the intimate events of that development which, in thirty years and more of tests, researches, experiences, carried out in contact with the currents more alive than European culture, it has led Italian literature to renew its taste and its expressive ways.

Therefore it is not surprising if, in poetry, the prevailing climate today is still that of pure or hermetic lyricism, being hermeticism (see in this App.), In its historically positive meaning, one of the culminating moments of that development, indeed, compared to the courtly tradition of Italian poetry, one of its most “revolutionary” manifestations. Naturally, in recent years this hermeticism has in turn evolved. The initial anti-classical trend subsided, thanks to a re-approach to the great lyrics of the past (Leopardi above all, and Petrarch: albeit read through the poetics of Poe, Baudelaire or Valéry), from the original clumps of sensations and images gradually released a certain poetic “discourse”, still elliptical and allusive, but with its own ideal continuity; just as from the dazzling alliteration of those lines and verses, rare on the white of the page, the “song” arose – with a “regular” metric, but preciously lightened and shattered: strongly paused again, but singing. And the autobiographical instances have become increasingly transposed into landscapes, hours, seasons, struck by an astonished light: which (with certain motifs of stylized mythology: swans, nymphs, sirens; Lede, Apolli, Narcisi…) are like the emblems or the allegories of those anxieties for the unknown, those nostalgia for childhood, those strenuous searches for “lost time”, in which contemporary humanity tries to elude the anguish of existence, the slavery of instincts and blood.

A mirror, in large part, of this evolution of hermeticism is the work of Giuseppe Ungaretti: in which the lyrics of The Pain (1947) mark a new moment, after those of the Joy and Sentiment of time. To a more direct and profound thrill of his “pain”, of feeling himself a “passing image” but “taken in an immortal turn”, corresponds a wider articulation of the word and of the rhythm. The Hungarian soliloquy-colloquy, that “unanimous cry” which in the Sentiment had often become hymn and prayer, here aims to resolve the heated verticality of the time in an ever-fervent horizontality, but more sinuous and, in its own way, effused: even if, of course, this involves its risks. Eugenio Montale represents, of the hermetic taste, a more acute, more difficult phase, but also more sensitive to those needs of elaborate design, of syntactic and strophic architecture, which are typical of younger poets. Ungaretti remains, so to speak, the poet of pure “subjectivity”. Montale, on the other hand, is an “objective” poet, who of the reality of things, of the external world, of the aspects of nature – observed with a critical, corrosive gaze – makes as many “occasions” to symbolize his painful sense of existence, almost of bitterness. undertow or drift. In passing from Ossi di seppia, in fact, to Le Occasions (1939) and to the more recent lyrics, he has at times exasperated his expressive travail, made his analogism even more intense; but he also knew how to draw arcane incandescences from that arid fervor of his, and give a much deeper vibration to those forms of his which hold, together, the epigrammatic and the descriptive, the motet and the poem.

Italy Literature 01

Italy Arts Part 5

Italy Arts Part 5

In its new quantitative extension, almost programmed in an ambiguous leveling, monochord seems instead the most conspicuous spirit of the moment, inclined to favor formulas that, when properly managed, can obtain a widespread consensus that is certainly not incentive but pathological as it is subject to the most negative mechanisms and outcomes of mass communication, of which the ” artistic ” product would be only one among the many goods at the service of the market that has become an important factor and direct client. Moreover, the market itself cannot be demonized in a moralistic refusal nor abandoned to the ideological arbitrariness of occasional subjects. It must be totally restructured, if ever possible, and channeled, through a critical problematicism, on more stable and pertinent theoretical norms, certainly not dogmatic, aimed not at surreptitiously granting ” cultural ” licenses or at describing only the power of images or at interpreting them in their socio-anthropological and semantic nature, but at establishing objective criteria for their ” artistic ” qualification and at distinguishing values of the ” form ” from those of the pack of images. The aggressive and exclusive revolutionary logic of the avant-gardes has been blurred, the permissive dynamics of “you can read everything and in all ways” have been used and abused, even the critics, as reported by the numerous conferences, feel the need for their own reconstitution capable of providing, in the historical dialectic, appropriate parameters and foundations of discrimination and legitimation of oneself.

According to Travelationary, this trace of the most conspicuous artistic episodes emerging in the Eighties, albeit within the limits inherent in every synthesis in the interpretative caution imposed by very recent events, highlights in the coexistence of diametrically opposed addresses a context in which the search for ” novelty ” and ” ‘non-novelty’ mostly tends to specialize in ” revisiting ”, articulating the notion of ” mechanical homogeneous repeatability ” into that of ” different repetition ”, manual and intentional, with an often perceptible basic misunderstanding , which it would be all too trivial to underline if it were not masked under the intention of irony or cynicism, fidelity or contamination. The misunderstanding, that is, that in the reaction to the previous situation ”

In the obligatory schematizations of this trace, and in the connected terminological schematics, we have aimed to outline the more general characteristics of the groupings (often, however, not univocal) and to return a climate rather than to analyze the artistic results and developments of the individual interpreters (among which those at the origin of the various addresses were mostly mentioned, not always ascribable to them globally over the years).

Having made these clarifications, within the chronological boundaries of this reconnaissance of the visual events we must contemplate the evolution of previous experiences insistent, as is well known, on very different problems.

In the impossibility of indicating all the most notable ones, from those of more specific figuration to those of more marked optical-technological planning, we limit ourselves to mentioning the work carried out by articulating the original purposes, for example, by the exponents of the area poor culture – supported, already in the bud, by G. Celant -, conceptual, behavioral or multimedia, such as V. Agnetti (1926-1981), G. Anselmo (b.1934), G. Baruchello (b.1924), A. Boetti (b. 1940), PP Calzolari (b. 1943), J. Kounellis, F. Mauri (b. 1926), Mario Merz (b. 1925), Marisa Merz, M. Mochetti (b. 1940), S. Montalegre (b. 1940), G. Paolini, L. Patella (b. 1934), V. Pisani, M. Pistoletto (b. 1933), G. Zorio (b. 1944), etc., or in different sectors by M. Bentivoglio (b.1922), E. Isgrò (b.1937), M. Lai (b.1919), M. Mussio (b.1925) or B. Conte (b.1939), etc.

and ” quality ”, unavoidable sources for further manifestations. Among them we mention N. Carrino (b.1932), N. Caruso (b.1928), A. Cavaliere (b.1926), L. Del Pezzo (b.1933), A. Fontanesi (b.1926), N. Guidi (b. 1927), P. Icaro (b. 1936), Italy Legnaghi (b. 1937), C. Lorenzetti (b. 1934), T. Magnoni (b. 1934), E. Mattiacci (b. 1940), H. Nagasawa (b.1940), F. Somaini (b.1926), G. Spagnulo (b.1937), V. Trubbiani (b.1937), G. Uncini (b.1929), and in pictorial field R. Aricò (b. 1930), C. Battaglia (b. 1933), L. Boille (b. 1926), E. Castellani (b. 1930), V. Ciai (b. 1928), P. Cotani (b.1940), P. Cuniberti (b.1923), Dadamaino (E. Maino, b.1935), G. Ferroni (b.1927), M. Gastini (b.1938), G. Griffa (b. 1936), R. Guarneri (b.1933), P. Guccione (b.1935), C. Olivieri (b.1934), A. Pace (b.1923), G. Pardi (b.1933), M. Raciti (n. 1934), P. Raspi (b.1926), P. Ruggeri (b.1930), V. Satta (b.1937), M. Schifano (b.1934), V. Vago (b.1931), C. Verna (b. 1937). They are certain protagonists of the art of the last decades as indicated by the thickness of theirscritical process, solid and without clamor, and as evidenced by historical synthesis exhibitions such as, for some of them, Italian postwar design, curated by PG Castagnoli and F. Gualdoni, at the Kunstverein in Frankfurt am Main and at the Civic Gallery of Modena, in 1987; Abstract. Abstract Secessions in Italy from the postwar period to 1990, curated by G. Cortenova and F. Menna, at the Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, Palazzo Forti, in Verona in 1988; Periplus of contemporary Italian sculpture, curated by G. Appella, F. D’Amico, PG Castagnoli, in the rupestrian churches of Matera in 1988; Sculpture in Milan 1945-1990, edited by L. Caramel, M. De Micheli, M. De Stasio and F. Porzio at the Palazzo della Permanente in Milan in 1990; Uninterrupted paths of art – Rome 1990, curated by F. D’Amico at Palazzo Rondanini in Rome in 1991, etc.

Among the generations present in the Eighties, artists such as C. Accardi should also be remembered, not for a recognition due to their past history, an exceptional moment for the renewal of Italian art, but for the incisive and fruitful contribution of today. (b.1924), V. Bendini (b.1922), A. Burri (b.1915), P. Cascella (b.1921), P. Consagra (b. 1920), M. Conte (b.1913), A. Corpora (b. 1909), P. Dorazio (b. 1927), A. Fabbri (b. 1911), Q. Ghermandi (b. 1916), L. Guerrini (b. 1914), M. Moreni (1920), B. Munari (b.1907), A. Perilli (b.1927), A. Pomodoro (b.1926), G. Pomodoro (b.1930), S. Romiti (b.1928), S. Scarpitta (b.1919), T. Scialoja (b.1914), G. Strazza (b.1922), G. Turcato (b.1912), E. Vedova (b.1919), L. Veronesi (b. 1908) and others, many of which housed in the most prestigious public exhibition venues,such as the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome, the Pavilion of Contemporary Art in Milan, etc., and internationally accredited, even if not always with adequate relief.

Finally, in the Eighties, some of the personalities who have marked the history of Italian art throughout the century with critical awards more or less consonant with their importance conclude their creative life. The role played in different times and ways, for example, by M. Reggiani (1897-1980), M. Marini (1901-1980), F. Melotti (1901-1986), A. Viani (1906-1989), G. Santomaso (1907-1990), G. Manzù (1908-1991), A. Ziveri (1908-1990), E. Morlotti (1910-1992), N. Franchina (1912-1987), R. Guttuso (1912 -1987), F. Clerici (1913-1993), P. Fazzini (1913-1987), M. Nigro (1917-1992), A. Scordia (1918-1988), A. Cascella (1919-1990), E . Scanavino (1922-1986) is also traced in the main lines in the interpretative and ideological debate of the alternating events of their process, while still in need of further analyzes useful for selecting the various phenomena. During their existence, the evaluation of B. Lazzari (1900-1981) or E. Mannucci (1904-1986) or A. Sanfilippo (1923-1980) or other which await, and there have already been testimonies of this in the retrospectives dedicated to them in recent years, a timely recognition of their work that outlines a proper consideration. Premature deaths are recorded among younger generations: serious, for example, that of N. (Giovan Battista) Valentini (1932-1985), who from the 1950s led to an original and contained abstract-informal experience. exciting experimentation of the ceramic material from which it brings out, with a ritual of ancient wisdom, forms as if corroded, symbolic ancestral archetypes, physical entities with rough and engraved surfaces of great emotional tension and a positive sign in the internal rhythm of the fragment and in the spatial measure that orders the composition. Again T. Festa (1938-1988) and F. Angeli (1935-1989), burned by an experience lived between illusory happiness, light-hearted controversy and the search for vital tensions underlying restlessness and unscrupulousness in a contradictory condition. Their activity is united from the beginnings at the beginning of the sixties which then resulted in the so-called “ Scuola di Piazza del Popolo ” or “ Roman pop ”, distinguished, with the anticipatory contributions of M. Rotella (b.1918), F. Mauri and T. Maselli (b. 1924), from a plurality of instruments and intentions by exponents still active today such as Kounellis, Schifano, G. Fioroni (b.1932), M. Ceroli (b.1938), C. Tacchi (b.1940), R. Mambor (b.1936), S. Lombardo (b.1939) etc. In the climate of an unhinging of technical means, linguistic systems and more consolidated visual propositions, in the denial of any ideology and in the suspension of value judgments, they move, in harmony with the program of Azimuth, from a zeroing, from a clean slate which also refers to clear antecedents. Thus Festa elaborates dark, enameled monochromes of iterated rectangles and squares that evoke mental metaphysical atmospheres, sometimes with lapidary handwriting, misted mirrors, majestic screens, on which fractional images or echoes of known images are printed, or hard diaphragms from which emblematic objects emerge. And Angeli builds melancholic monochrome glazes in which symbolic, distant and disquieting appearances emerge from an indefinite spatiality or flow into the memory of time.

Italy Arts 5

Italy Arts Part 4

Italy Arts Part 4

A further, articulated sector of research is that formed by artists who interact organically with various modalities of abstraction or informal but to proceed towards other compositional outcomes.

According to Transporthint, some of these artists are of more distant, mature and accredited experience, such as G. Napoleone (b.1936), M. Bottarelli (b.1943), R. Boero (b.1936), CG Morales (b.1942), L. Gardini (b.1935), E. Montessori (b.1931), G. Cittadini (b.1933), O. Piattella (b.1932), P. Casadei (b.1931), F. Giuli (b. 1934), E. Gallian (b. 1941), etc.; others of a younger and more favorable season, such as L. Romualdi, S. Sanna (b. 1950), F. Angelini (b. 1946), P. Jacchetti (b. 1953), P. Coletta (b. 1948), A. Violetta (b. 1953), etc. They do not aspire to different repetitions, they do not attack or venerate history, but continue, in temporal continuity, to restructure the visual perception marked, as GM Accame indicates, between “reason and hazard”, to organize a spatial syntax, to manifest a feeling measuring with lyrical tones of inner resonance, to compose drafts of strong chromatic substance or to create fades of distant phenomenal echo. The ways in which they implement this are very different, geometric, sign or gestural informal. Some more rigidly programmatic in the controversy with respect to certain postmodern emergencies, with a radical abstract project and with evident references to specific historical avant-gardes, aim to effect an almost ascetic reduction of linguistic elements, with a chromatic scale concentrated on black, white and gray, in a subtractive poetics between emptiness and absence, named by F. MennaPoor abstraction for an Abstraction-construction, as pointed out by M. Carboni, dialectic between contextuality and rejection: A. Capaccio (b. 1956), M. Rossano (b. 1955), R. Salvia (b. 1953), G. Asdrubali (b. 1955), Annibel-Cunoldi (b. 1950), etc. Others instead focus their attention on the energetic clash of primary colors for an archaic abstraction, according to the meaning of G. Cortenova: A. Celeste, Miresi, G. Olivieri (b. 1937), A. Uboldi, etc.

From this variegated range of proposals an environment increasingly inclined to stage limelight has emerged in the last few years, with a proliferating multiplication of young actors (sometimes also active as gallery owners and critics) and exhibition venues. With an academic intellectualistic exercise, in the wake of the more or less highlighted reinterpretations, we insist on combining contrasting elements with ingenious arrangements, to systematize given morphologies in an eclectic syncretism, to represent the chronicle of ” announced images ” in the archive. labyrinth of memory, the city or nature.

Ornate ways intersperse with cold thoughts, rigid structures with chromatic preciousness, combining post-abstraction and post-informal endings with a neo-minimal geometry, an ostentatious manual skill with mechanical procedures and alternative materials, while the use of ready-made in the installations that mimic the space of external reality, and in the recycling of the objects of the so-called cold Transavanguardia. Furthermore, still with a multimedia approach, a refined concept is imposed on works created with the use of photography, writing, seriality between new technological seductions, microcircuits with computerized memories and primitive narrativity. In short, we are witnessing the spectacle of the conciliation of opposites, as confirmed by the titles of some 1988 exhibitions: Dionysian Geometries in Milan, Order and Disorderin Rimini, respectively edited by L. Vergine and R. Barilli who suggests a critical cataloging based on the rhetorical figure of the oxymoron. The plurality of options, the flagrant nature of the events and the fluidity of the material make it difficult for any more precise clarification, sometimes even within the individual protagonists. However, it can be noted that some, such as eg. C. Ambrosoli (b. 1947), S. Astore (b. 1957), M. Barzagli (b. 1960), M. Bindella (b. 1957), L. Bruno (b. 1944), S. Cardinali (b. 1951), G. Cerone (b. 1957), V. Corsini (b. 1956), G. D’Alonzo (b. 1958), M. Dompè (b. 1959), A. Fogli (b. 1959), M. Folci (b. 1959), Italy Gadaleta (b. 1958), P. Modica (b. 1953), C. Palmieri (b. 1955), A. Pirri (b. 1957), E. Porcari (n. 1951), A. Zelli (b. 1957), are variously started on more fertile land.

There are numerous showcases offered to young people, from the Open section of the Venice Biennale to exhibitions promoted by public galleries, by the culture departments, or by the Quadriennale of Rome, or to the pressing private initiatives, up to Italia 90 – Young art hypothesis, promoted by Flash Art magazine, or even to the futuristic projections of the Nineties of 1991 review, staged simultaneously in Bologna, Rimini and Cattolica. However, the indiscriminate coexistence of all practices, styles and genres, under the banner of ” irony of neutrality ” or ” complexity ”, insinuates the suspicion of a permissive strategy.

The synchronic articulation of opposite tendencies, in fact, rather than reflecting a vital dialectical plot, seems to reveal the epochal anxiety to show, as in a catwalk, the undifferentiated possession of “ known images ”, hybridized between narcissistic desires of delectatio and kitsch inflections, between demystifying or complacent, weak or strong, neo-futurist or pataphysical ways, baroque or austere, who live the present by leafing through the past distractedly but forbitiously. A sort of uninhibited exaltation of the occasionality of the manneristically artificial work leads, in the fall of ideologies, to a conscious reduction of the “ work of art ” to a common object of worldly packaged consumption, a rhetorically aspiring fetish in the last resort to a oleographic contemplation, but in fact aimed at achieving a possible surplus value no longer inherent to its intrinsic ” quality ” but connected to the economic circuit in which it manages to insert itself. Even the oscillation of taste plays on minimal ” ideas ”. Already neuroticized by the internal dynamism of the avant-gardes, its irregular trend is now more than anything else governed by prolific production and unbridled consumerism, above all psychological, willing to engulf and reject in an indiscriminate and frenetic way ” idol ” wandering in the aleatory supremacy of a promotion inclined to favor accelerated market cycles, in tune with or even incentivising the very acceleration of fashions, and alien to the need for slower and more selective knowledge. On the other hand, the exponential growth of operators and “ aesthetic ” products appears to be related not so much to an explosion of creativity or to an effective market demand, as to an epidemic venture into the indefinite paths of art and to the enticements aroused by ‘medium and functional to the mercantile philosophy: it is the attempt to take the field to live the ” aesthetic ” experience as an economically seductive venture. And the young artist / product becomes an indispensable factor as it is instrumental in the profitable planning of the times and ways of making a profit.

Italy Arts 4

Italy Arts Part 3

Italy Arts Part 3

Critical interpretations are different: M. Calvesi, a ” heretic ” supporter and first exegete of the trend, deepens, like M. Vescovo, the idea of anachronism, underlining the importance of the resumption of long time in the artistic operation as research of value as opposed to the ephemeral timing of the frantic anxiety of the new. Moreover, he connotes this laboratory experiment with psychoanalytic and alchemical implications, allegorizing in iconographic nostalgia, restless in iconological fantasies, melancholic in the simulacral attitude and solitary in the conscious “dream perception” of forgotten art. Other readings, together with other results of new followers, come from Italy, diminishing the citation factor as a Duchampian residue and instead privileging the parallel aspect of interpretation as a means of introducing the myth of art into a suspended, non-existent present with a more marked metamorphic visionarity in the “mystical ascent to absolute form”; by Italy Mussa who proposes the definition of cultured painting, by G. Gatt who speaks of a new way towards the grand way. And it is precisely on the dimension of time that the 1983 exhibition Il tempo immagine, in Spello and Foligno still insists, leading to the review Art in the mirror, as part of the 1984 Venice Biennale, curated by M. Calvesi.

These painters of memory, in particular the plethora of followers, play a heteronomous role of ” copyists ”, beyond a philological rigor, inclined to stop the epidermis of the image rather than its cognitive substance, regardless of the possible relapse into a style that becomes a stylistic feature, enhanced by a specific and exclusive operation. To find a center, they hypostatize the past and give foundation to their iconic fabulation with esoteric allusions with a strong semantic charge. In an inverse journey to the projective vectoriality of the avant-gardes, they revisit a distant past re-proposing its ” figure ” with a neo-metaphysical flavor, albeit filtered and altered in its conservative intentionality.

Again as a reinterpretation of the past, but with opposite thrusts, the movement called Transavanguardia in 1979 is characterized.

According to Timedictionary, the movement finds rapid development in the organizational system that underlies it consisting of a close strategic relationship, then dissolved, between the critic-theorist A. Bonito Oliva and artists of various backgrounds: S. Chia (b.1946), F. Clemente (1952), E. Cucchi (b.1950), N. De Maria (b.1954), M. Paladino (b.1948). By exposing the art system founded on the programmatic coalition of artist, critic, gallery owner, collector, museum, mass media and public, it appropriates them by propitiating profitable paths with the immediate official launch in the Venice Biennale in 1980. With the assumption of overcoming the ideology of “linguistic Darwinism” of the historical and recent avant-gardes, beyond the optimistic confidence in the frenetic experimentation of unusual materials and techniques,trans-avant-gardeadvances the reasons for a fragmented subjectivity and the recovery of an artist’s manual skills, activated in the resurrected categories of painting, sculpture and drawing, practicing with loaded or superficial tones, convulsive or light, aggressive or bizarre, shrewd or naive. The idea of a unitary style and the search for invention, while a phenomenon of destructuring reconversion and an unbridled drive flow, attentive more to hearing than to seeing color, spreads. Having overcome the obsolete distinction of abstract and figurative, through the uncritical attitude of capturing and altering portions of history detached from their formal and semantic contextuality, any judgment in favor of avant-garde or tradition, of high or low culture, is suspended. The incessant web of often irreconcilable references, offered mostly with an expressionist sign (exasperatedly accentuated by the followers) and with marked archaism in primitive reductivism and regressive degradation, emphasizes an image open to the free will of the symbolic and to the random flagrancy of the present.. Crossing the avant-garde in an indifferent journey towards the past and towards the future constitutes the essence of a ” weak thought ” that makes weakness its strength.

With a view to phenomenological openness without compact theorizing but, sometimes, with associations fueled by contiguous work spaces, in other areas we expect to combine materials, techniques and languages ​​almost with the intention of exorcising the presumed outdated wear and tear of the means of expression. highlighting the positive inactivity of painting and sculpture. Creative practice and linguistic tools are exhibited in a non-univocal brand formalization process that adds and stratifies its own references (abstract, informal, minimal, figural), concentrating the perception on the plastic-pictorial interweaving, as emanations of an individual conscience and an emotional state.

To escape the standardizing pitfalls of arbitrary groupings, functional only to a conciseness of exposition, it should be pointed out that the elements that distinguish the exponents of this multifaceted orientation are disparate and sometimes divergent. Of these exponents, some of which have already been active for some time, we recall: D. Bianchi (b.1955), B. Ceccobelli (b.1952), G. Dessì (b.1955), G. Gallo (b.1954), or otherwise Nunzio (N. Di Stefano, b. 1954), G. Limoni (b. 1947), E. Luzzi (b. 1950), P. Pizzi Cannella, S. Ragalzi (b. 1951), M. Tirelli (b. 1956), or also D. Benati (b. 1949), S. Coccia (b. 1942), E. Consolazione (b. 1941), M. De Luca (b. 1954), P. Fortuna (b. 1950), A. Garutti (b.1948), F. Guerzoni (b.1948), G. Guidi (b.1942), V. Messina (b.1946), A. Morandi (b.1958), A. Pandolfelli (b. 1934), Renzogallo (R. Gallo, b. 1943), L. Vollaro (b. 1949), etc. In fact, according to individual needs, each time they privilege an archetypal dimension in the essentiality of the images, an archaic ritual in the frontal presentation, magical-mystery suggestions in the symbolic allusions, fabulous components in the personal memory of the myth, a subtle sensitivity in the material substance or a more marked expressiveness with larvae naturalist atmospheres and accents, a discontinuous spatiality, shattered by caesuras on the surface or moved by three-dimensional projections, or even a more explicit design order, with different degrees of results and internal consequentiality.

Italy Arts 3

Italy Arts Part 2

Italy Arts Part 2

According to Ejinhua, the quotation of the ” past ”, already reinterpreted by Salvo and Ontani, alongside the sampling with change of register and with the detachment inherent in the simulation, finds further ironic, light, archaic or decorative declinations by L. Mainolfi (n. 1948), G. Maraniello (b.1945), L. Bartolini (b.1948), M. Jori (b.1951), A. Spoldi (b.1950), F. Levini (b.1956), G. Pagano (b.1954), G. Salvatori (b.1955), E. Barbera (b.1947), B. Benuzzi (b.1951), AM Faggiano (b.1946), Wal (b.1947), ending then in branched paths of different importance. Barilli himself, mentor of the New-News, sees their linguistic technique mature, regardless of the quotation, even within a line that, originating from analytical painting, had modulated its minimalist essentiality with chromatic amplifications, free from two-dimensionality and invading the space-environment (as highlighted in the exhibition Painting-environmentin 1979 at the Palazzo Reale in Milan), and, in other respects, within a sector represented, for example, by G. Notargiacomo (b.1945) defined by F. Caroli of the ” magic-primary ” in what an attempt to rediscover the primary magic of the seduction-pleasure of color and mythical-metaphorical instinct. On the other hand, decorative variations are carried out in contexts of evocative or subtle narrative, pictorial and graphic, by L. Alinari (b. 1943), P. Echaurren (b. 1951), etc.

In such a juncture the New-News, not closed ” uniquely ” in painting or sculpture, exempt from archaeological revivalism, merge, with differentiated experiences, iconism and aniconism in a free and errant combinatory exercise of heterogeneous elements, with an ornamental and playful, symbolist and decadent, without romantic impulses, in osmotic interference, as argued in the 1983 exhibition A Postmodern Generation in Genoa and Rome, at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni. In an inextricable Pirandello plot between real and fictitious needs, between anxious and bizarre manifestations, between mental and figural sophistications, the journey into the past to find a future converts the aspiration to ” purification ” into a contaminating practice.

However, the spectrum of ” citationistic ” solutions is broadly configured in an opposition of often controversial fields even in the claim of primates. A different orientation is that which makes use of a more direct and congruous version of the quotation in which the referential act to the past occurs by literal transposition.

For this type of projection into the past, which blocks time and recovers previous figurative systems, meaningful, alongside other warning signs and more distant sources, such as G. De Chirico and A. Savinio, is the particular reflection on art, on its qualitative value as a vertical apex and on its ” pure ” existence led by G. Paolini: he, with intellectual energy, reintroduces an almost ritual awareness of the very idea of ​​art by supporting his own thought with an image constituted precisely by reproduction mechanics of a classical work. This reproduction, while denying the principle of uniqueness of the work of art, provides a visual contribution subordinated to mental assumptions: symbol of a beauty conceived in the past and offered to the most motionless present as a veronica-object of consumption, it is the solitary sign for an active meditation on the re-proposed work of art, with austere scientific methodology, as an ancient simulacrum, mirroring, historical event. Also precursor is the position of CM Mariani (b.1931) who, starting from a singular mimesis of reality originated by D. Gnoli and sensitive to photographic systems, in the mid-seventies, escaped the hegemonic principle of the new, exempt from ‘ ‘citationism’ reflective of the conceptual tendency and any type of external tracing – as in other ways implemented by the ” anatomical ” dissections of C. Parmiggiani (b.1943) and A. Trotta (b.1937) – considers the copy,

On these assumptions, from the loss of the concept of quality, from the discomfort for modernist experimentalism, from the absolute identity crisis, from the refusal of scattered fragmentation, paths based on the conception of “ art as history of art ” are launched., a project whose destiny is already in its history, and on the “ feeling of memory ” as a reintroduction, through images, of the themes of existence and the collective unconscious such as myth, life, death, with the prospect of rediscovering the unity of painting, while being aware of the relativity of such a recovery.

Guaranteeing the autonomy of the individual choices in the reuse of rigorously ” pre-modern ” styles, between Renaissance and Romanticism, not without controversy reactions from various quarters, among the archetypes of the museum move R. Barni (b. 1939), O. Galliani (b. 1954), L. Bonechi (b. 1955), U. Bartolini (b. 1944), and with a more unambiguous physiognomy especially A. Abate (b. 1946), S. Di Stasio (b. 1948), F. Piruca (b.1937), who exhibited their works together with S. Marrone (b.1948), N. Panarello and P. Pizzi Cannella (b.1955), who soon dissociated himself, in An exhibition of six painters in Rome, in 1980. In the introductory note, entitled The inversion of time, a new idea of ​​time is enunciated as the arrest of an unconditional becoming, as a privileged inactivity of anachronism, as an experience of the past extraneous to the present but reincarnating a primitive model, the place of the original.

Italy Arts 2

Italy Arts Part 1

Italy Arts Part 1

A look at the artistic activity in Italy in the mid-seventies returns a broad panorama: alongside significant researches of individual personalities, with poetics that are not schematically classifiable but in any case based on the critical awareness of their own formal status and on a very precise identity of the raison d’etre of art as an autonomous reality and a discipline that has its own value in itself, an analytical pictorial line is revealed that reflects with rational and empirical methodicality on the perceptual process and on the technique of one’s own doing (as a means that objectifies knowledge and as a significant practice in the organizational verification of its primary components: surface-support, color, sign) and an area of ​​peremptory minimalist presentations.

In the overall picture, the orientation towards cold analyticity, the asepticity of the conceptual sentence, the dematerialization of the work or its assimilation to the natural physicality of poor materials, to a dimension, in general, more mental than visual, or rather to a visual dimension that is intellectualistically alluded to rather than constructed ” canonically ” and manually: desecrations, provocations and heterogeneous reasons, political, social, cultural, widely vulgarized, depriving art of its own individual entity, beyond the conception of the artist faberand expressive, owner of an organized technique. In the decline of the decade, however, the need for a rethinking of the specificity of the tools and languages ​​of the codified categories of painting and sculpture is highlighted, accompanied by a more direct communicative efficacy in the figurative sense. Unconditional was, in fact, the trespassing of the territory and of the modalities of art in order to cancel or make the very notion of art all-encompassing: the “ un-definition ” of art had in fact been expanded into the most diverse directions of the project, ready-made object(extrapolated from its context and invested with new intentions in a sort of normalization à la Duchamp), of the concept, writing and action in the most unusual fields of the so-called often multimedia aesthetic research, open to the most advanced technologies and an engaging spectacle of event. Thus, sometimes even within this situation, aspirations emerge to rediscover the original connotations and values ​​of art, drawing from different sources and with different reasons, within the sphere of tradition. This reconsideration of the specific historical-artistic data is a fact repeatedly indicated as a primary necessity, but with arguments and purposes of a very different nature, for example. by C. Brandi and GC Argan and, in other respects, diagnosed by M. Calvesi as “return to order”, as a possible reaction to the sterile ” mental ” avalanche, to its consumerist reworking and to the mass fortune of the neo-avant-gardes which sanctions its exhaustion. The tendency to destabilize conceptualism (be it linguistic-tautological, numerical-cerebral, ideal-noetic or behavioral) uses, with insistence and with different variants, the “ quotation ” of the “ historical image ”, in a folding certainly not dramatic in the past, and summarizes manual practice by exercising it on a material to be given shape, as an irreplaceable means of the work being there for a reconstituting unity between work of art and artistic operation in the expectation or presumption of an art superior.

In a process certainly not new and also present in the next experiences of the Sixties, especially of pop declination through the citation-infraction, the ” media ” translation, sometimes ” contaminated ” by manual interventions, of iconographic stereotypes also assumed by the “ high ” art culture with widespread prensility – prensility of which C. Pozzati (b.1935) is a clear example, an attraction to repeat history, an attraction already felt, is affirming, with even divergent methods and intentions moreover, in the same conceptual-behavioral context, almost yearning for a concrete soul, imbued with symbolic images. This attraction is expressed, for example, by G. Paolini (b.1940) with various implications, by J. Kounellis (b.Tableaux vivants and with blow-ups, or from Salvo (S. Mangione, n.1947) with effractive copies ” homages ” to the masters with ” ancient ” techniques and with replacement interventions, and by L. Fabro (n. 1936) with the recovery of materials of opulent artisan tradition. All of these artists, with the exception of V. Pisani, found themselves involved in the theme of a 1974 exhibition in Milan, La repetition different, curated by R. Barilli. The exhibition, alongside foreign artists such as A. and P. Poirier (born 1942), E. Arroyo (b.1937), J. Baldessari (b.1931), included, among other things, multiple citations by V. Adami (b.1935), by E. Tadini (b.1927), and the puzzles kitschby E. Baj (b. 1924) and U. Nespolo (b. 1941), to document three levels of “different repetition”: iconic, conceptual and behavioral.

According to Themeparktour, this ” presence of the past ” is a symptom of the search for a gratification connected no longer only to the possible validity of a conceptual choice but to the desired emotional ” enjoyment ” of the artefact: it is articulated on the centrality of doing in which opposing and casual polarities coexist, free re-propositions or evocations or parodies of museum ” icons ” or popular-folkloric images with sophisticated or primitive stylization cadences and with signs of ” bad painting ”. This situation is presented not as a repudiation of the “68 characters” but as an “internal reorganization” for a “qualitative change, after a program developed mainly in its quantitative aspects” at the review Ten years later. The New-New, curated by R. Barilli, F. Alinovi and R. Daolio at the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art in Bologna in 1980.

Italy Arts 1

Travel to Italy

Travel to Italy

The laundry hangs to dry above the narrow streets between the beautifully earth-colored house facades in Rome’s old working-class neighborhood of Trastevere. A group of little boys kick a ball against a wall. A young guy with sunglasses on his forehead puts down his Vespa and greets the old, espresso-drinking men at the small outdoor coffee bar. They start talking right away and you do not need to know Italian to understand what it is about. The subject is football, and names from Juventus and Fiorentina fly through the air, mingling with the sound of the heavy traffic and the smell of simmering pasta marinara. It’s a holiday in Italy.

Population: 62 mill.

Capital: Gypsy

Language: Italian

Italians for many years have been proud of their culinary art. When McDonald’s opened in Rome in 1986, cooking enthusiasts handed out spaghetti to remind them of Italy’s culinary roots.

As recently as 1914, six women were prosecuted in Sardinia. Their crime? To practice witchcraft!


Of Italy’s 62 million inhabitants, 2.8 million live in the country’s magnificent capital, and every year the city is visited by people from all over the world, who want to see with their own eyes some of the world’s most famous historic buildings: the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. the time of the empire when slaves fought for their lives against other gladiators or wild animals. And of course the Vatican with the impressive Sistine Chapel and the breathtaking view from the top of St. Peter’s Church. The Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain and Caesar’s famous aqueducts also help attract thousands of tourists to the city. Rome is also the city of life-lovers, and between the obligatory sightseeing you should also set aside time to wander around Villa Borghese,


If you say fashion and Italy in the same breath, it is impossible to escape Milan. If you are looking for fashion experiences of the ultra-hip kind, you should take a walk along Via Monte Napoleone where extravagant shops are in a row or on Vittorio Emanuele II where the fashion-conscious Italians walk their own catwalk down the street. Northern Italy’s major industrial city is also known as the home of successful brands and industrial companies such as Pirelli, Campari and Alfa Romeo. However, the city’s dominant symbol is the impressive Duomo Cathedral with its many sculptures and spiers, which took almost 500 years to complete.

Northern Italy

Near Milan, on the sunny side of the Alps, are the beautiful lakes of Lake Como and Maggiore, Lugano and Orta and further inland the beautiful Lake Garda that many Scandinavians remember as one of the first major tourist destinations in Italy. If you are in those areas, you should also take the opportunity to see Verona, which in addition to the story of Romeo and Juliet is known for its beautiful amphitheater where you can see opera performances in the open air.

There is also music in Venice, both on weekdays around St. Mark’s Square, during the carnival in February and when the gondolier lets the gondola glide along the Grand Canal. The fascinating canal city with the Doge’s Palace, the Bridge of Sighs and the many beautiful palaces tempts many to spend their holidays here. There are also many beautiful castles and palaces in Florence, and beautiful is also the old, characteristically green-striped marble cathedral with the neo-Gothic facade. However, Florence should also be experienced in the large, colorful market around Piazza San Lorenzo.

Southern Italy and Sicily

According to top-medical-schools, Southern Italy holds several chapters, and if you go to Naples, in addition to the intense entertainment in the famous Spaccana police district, you should also make an excursion to the top of Vesuvius. And of course also to Pompeii, which almost two thousand years ago got to feel the forces of the volcano when the ancient Roman city was buried under several meters thick ash. There is the opportunity to experience other volcanic activity in Sicily where Etna with a height of 3,323 meters and a crater diameter of 40 km is Europe’s largest volcano. One can, for example, look at Etna from a distance from the breathtaking Sicilian town of Taormina which is located on a 200 meter high cliff ledge overlooking the Ionian Sea.

Also visit Sicily’s most important port city, Messina, which has roots that stretch all the way back to Greek mythology. Many of the city’s historic buildings were destroyed during several earthquakes in the 20th century, but since then the city has been rebuilt. The city’s symbol is the world’s largest astronomical clock, the Orologio Astronomico in Piazza del Duomo, which makes a sound every day at Battle 12. The city’s impressive cathedral, the Duomo, is also worth a closer look. A holiday in Italy is also a beach holiday. The Italian Riviera, the Adriatic coast, the Mediterranean, the Amalfi Coast, the bathing lakes or the islands in the Gulf of Naples all offer great opportunities to combine great cultural experiences with a relaxing sun holiday.

Travel to Italy