2010

Art

Caravaggio e Bacon, Galleria Borghese (Rome) until January 24th

Master portraitist Gwenneth Barth describes the realist painter as one always treading a tightrope between two worlds—the conscious mind and its perception of reality—adding: “But are these really different worlds?” This is precisely the question provoked by a highly unique exhibit bringing together thirty masterworks of Caravaggio (1571 – 1610) and Francis Bacon (1909 – 1992) displayed in nine salons at Rome’s Borghese Gallery. The organizers assert that the aim is neither to connect these two figures historically nor to compare them according to generally accepted standards of criticism, but rather to give the viewer an extraordinary “aesthetic experience” on the occasion of the fourth centennial of Caravaggio’s death and the first of Bacon’s birth. Be that as it may, even those wishing merely to gawk at the spellbinding canvases of two of art’s most famous bad boys will leave pondering the relation between the conscious mind and its perception of reality.
Art

Calder, Palazzo delle Esposizioni (Rome), until February 14th

Alexander Calder’s (1898-1976) acceptance of the prize for sculpture at the XXVI Venice Biennale in 1952 forged a bond of friendship with a country he had admired for some time. He was especially close to art connoisseur Giovanni Carandente, who sadly passed away last June 7th while working furiously on the catalogue for this exhibit. Carandente is largely to thank for introducing Italy to the radical idea that art could break forth from closed frames into three-dimensional space and engage the surrounding environment by contrast and analogy. Carandente’s keen interest in urban sculpture boded well for Calder, whose “Teodelapio” (1962) outside the Spoleto train station ignited a passion for public art in Italy that endures even today. His friendship with Carandente expanded the possibilities for his prodigious output, leading him to design several opera sets for theatres across Italy. Although Calder declined the Medal of Freedom offered him by President Gerald Ford on political grounds, he went on to accept several degrees honoris causa from prestigious Italian universities.
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