Divine Beauty from Van Gogh to Chagall and Fontana

Marc Chagall. White Crucifixion, 1938 (detail). Oil on canvas, cm. 155 x 139,8. Photo: © Katarte.net

Palazzo Strozzi, Florence – Italy

Till 24 January 2016

“For me, as for all Western painters, the Bible represents the coloured alphabet in wich I dipped for centuries their brushes”. Mark Chagall

We returned with great interest in Florence after the extraordinary exhibition about Picasso last winter (it), to attend the presentation of a major event about the dialectic of modern art and spirituality. “Divine beauty” is an xhibition that stimulates a deep reflection on art and the sacred between 1850 (Pope Pius IX in exile in Gaeta) and 1950 (Jubilee proclaimed by Pope Pius XII) performed by famous Italian artists, including Emilio Vedova, Arturo Martini, Giacomo Manzù, Gaetano Previati, Felice Casorati, Gino Severini, Lucio Fontana, and international ones like Edvard Munch, Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Stanley Spencer, Georges Rouault, Henri Matisse and Jean-François Millet.

Carlo Sisi. Art historian. Photo: © Katarte.net
Art historian Carlo Sisi with Katarte’s Chief Editor

“In those years – says art historian Carlo Sisi during the presentation – deep and personal interpretations of the sacred became vibrant. This is evidenced by the exhibition of paintings and sculptures that form the third section of the exhibition focuses on the life of Christ, with works that reflect the styles of the different movements and the peculiarities of expression of the artists”.

While moving a note on the lighting system, we admired the wide range of accents during the exhibition route ranging from Informal of Vedova, the Symbolism of Redon, ending with the Expressionism of Munch and the fantasies  of Futurism; different rhythms that the exhibition highlights dissecting the wounds, the tribulations, the misunderstandings and the rediscovered dialogue between art and the sacred feeling by the artists, even with very different languages, expressed within about one hundred works.

Micol Forti. Director Collection Contemporary Art of Vatican Museums. Photo Katarte.net
Micol Forti

A recovered bond, wich was unbrakable in the past centuries and that had the chrism of an impending divorce in the modern season; a never stated divorce between the Church and modernity. An exhibition, as pointed out by the rapporteur Micol Forti, director of the Contemporary Art Collection of the Vatican Museums, “which is seeding the future, arousing emotion and surprise.”


View of the third section of the exhibtion at Palazzo Strozzi. Copyright Katarte.net
View of the third section of the exhibtion at Palazzo Strozzi. Copyright Katarte.net

The sections

Seven are the sections on the fundamental themes of the tiring relationship between religion and art.
Section 1– From Salon to altar; Section 2 – Rosa mystica; Section 3 – Life of Christ; Section 4 – Severini: wall decoration between spirituality and poetry; Section 5 –Areas of the sacred; Section 6 – The church; Section 7 – Prayer. Palazzo Strozzi, international center of excellence,  offers a vision of famous masterpieces such as the Pieta (after Delacroix) of the Vatican Museums by Vincent van Gogh, the first work of religious theme together with the Pieta of the Amsterdam Museum; the Crucifixion of Renato Guttuso of the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome; the White Crucifixion by Marc Chagall, rare interfaith work from the Art Institute of Chicago, and finally the Angelus by Jean-François Millet, exceptional loan from the Musée d’Orsay of Paris.

Pope Paul the Sixth, in May 1964, during a meeting with artists in the Sistine Chapel, sayd about the relationship between art and the sacred: “We must re-establish the friendship between the Church and artists. It has never broken but you went away to drink to other fountains… We made you, bright and creative makers, suffer by imposing the imitation… We placed sometimes a lead hood on you… we can say; sorry. We did not explained ourself, we have not introduced you to the secret cell, where the mysteries of God make man’s heart jump for joy, of hope, of gladness, of inebriaton”.

Divine Beauty

In this Homily at the “Mass of the artists” we see realized the essence of this event celebrating the rapprochement of a historically never broken cordon, even with controversial and discordant profiles, but demonstrating how art and the sacred are inseparable. In his search for beauty, the artist plunges into an imagination that goes beyond the everyday, plumbs the depths of the soul and become a spokesman for an universal redemption that brings him closer to God.

The exhibition “Divine Beauty” is a collaboration between the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Florence, the former Superintendence for the Historic, Artistic and Ethno-anthropological and for the State Museums of Florence and the Vatican Museums. It is part of the events organized on the occasion of the V National Congress, to be held in Florence between 9 and 13 November 2015 and at which will also speak Pope Francis.

Link: palazzostrozzi.org/bellezzadivina

Organization: Palazzo Strozzi Foundation in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Florence and with the support of CR Bank Florence.
Curators: Lucia Mannini, Anna Mazzanti, Ludovica Sebregondi, Carlo Sisi
Tickets: € 10 whole, reduced € 8.50, € 7.50 Clients of Banca CR Firenze and Intesa Sanpaolo Group 4 € Children aged 7 to 18 years, school groups, students up to 26 years, disabled visitors, and MaggioCard Pergola26″.
Opening hours: Every day including holidays 10:00 to 20:00; Thursday 10:00 to 23:00




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