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La seduzione dell'antico

Da Picasso a Duchamp, da De Chirico a Pistoletto

Claudio Spadoni


Exhibition catalogue (21 February-26 June 2016) Museo d’Arte della Città di Ravenna

edited by di Claudio Spadoni

Paperback with flaps
24 × 27 cm, 240 pp.
130 colour illustrations

isbn 978-88-7461-297-0 Italian

Essays by Marco Antonio Bazzocchi, Elena Pontiggia, Claudio Spadoni, Marco Tonelli. 

“Quel non so che di antico e di moderno....” (“That inexplicable aspect of ancient and contemporary art …”), wrote Carlo Carrà, when the attention of artists turned towards a return of the past, resulting from the exhaustion with the futurism fervour. The artistic and cultural movement, that was at this point also spreading beyond borders, was ambiguously defined as “the return to order” in response to the avant-garde’s adventurous assaults that had marked the early 20th century to the years of the Great War. The climate of history was drastically altered, evidenced by the change of course of multiple prominent figures of the avant-garde. The exhibition, realised thanks to the invaluable support of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmi of Ravenna, examines the irrepressible lure of the “ancient” throughout the 20th century. It retraces the history of the last century from a different standpoint, focusing on documenting artists and events that bear witness to the attention towards the “ancient”, not only of authors unknown to modernity, but also those who, without disavowing their belonging to movements, groups, and innovative tendencies, had drawn from historical memory in diverse ways.

This catalogue represents a recovered memory that at times serves as an evocative and modern restoration of ancient models, or even as a pretext for an unprecedented rereading or disillusioned view. It profiles the disillusioned and desecrated exercises of selected artists; key players like De Chirico, Morandi, Carrà, Martini, Casorati; the crucial period of the return to order; the “20th century” of Margherita Sarfatti and Sironi; and so-called “magical realism”. Moreover, the incredibly diverse “neo-baroque” visions of Scipione, Fontana and Leoncillo; figures like Guttuso and Clerici; the Pop Art artists Schifano, Festa, Angeli, Ceroli; and Arte Povera figures Paolini and Pistoletto. Other protagonists include Salvo, Ontani, Mariani and Paladin and international artists Duchamp, Man Ray, Picasso and Klein.