Art in Verona: not a print in sight.

Posted by on Sep 9, 2017 in Discussion | 0 comments

Visited the Torre dei Lamberti today  – a wonderful climb to spectacular views over Verona. I cannot think of any tall building of today, built with many more aids to design and construction, that matches it for beauty and grandeur. There are so many of these astounding buildings in Italy (think Siena) – this one essentially built to show off the wealth and power of one family. 

Trying to work out what it is that makes it so imposing and yet attractive is harder than it should be. There is its age (started in 1172)  the warmth and solidity of the brick work, which alternates with tufa. This is a soft porous rock, a limestone, made of calcium carbonate which was supplanted by travertine or marble in many later Italian buildings. It is reassuring and magnificent at the same time.  A work of art that is part of the fabric of every life. 

It was added to over many years and houses two great bells, the Rengo and Marangona, which regulated city life. 

You can look out over the city, orientating yourself with ease, the Via Mazzini, the Via Stella, the station in the distance. The ancient part blending well with the newer areas over the river. 

We came down from the Tower and climbed the great gothic staircase, the, Scala della Ragione, (stairs of reason)  to the Palazzo della Ragione, which houses the new gallery of modern art. 

The buildings around it are so ancient that I wondered what modern would mean – but it was a very interesting exhibition in stunning surroundings. Light and airy and with plenty of space giving the exhibits – paintings and sculptures – room to be seen at their best. 

It made me ask what makes an artist become famous all over the world, a household name – so many of these were distinguished but not widely known. 

It was also clear how important art was to the modern Italians to express the tensions, the horrors, the joys of becoming a nation and then being asked to ‘return to order’ during the second world war. 

‘The Manifesto del Realism di Pittori e Scultura’  (The Manifesto of Realism in Painting and Sculpture.’) was a protest against this and Emilio Vendova an important voice in the idea that art was part of protest and politics. 

In times of turbulence and violence art is part of the debate. 

 

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