The Italian Way Addressing the Italian Stereotypes, Myth 15 - Part 2 - Land of Poets …

Nov 28, 2015 553

WTI Magazine #73    2015 November 27
Author : Elda Buonanno Foley      Translation by:


In continuing my conversation on the famous line with which the Italians are popular, ("A people made of artists, poets, saints, philosophers, scientists and sailors) the description of "artists" seems to ignite a wider and more in depth conversation on "who are the most popular Italian artists in our country." Let me first specify that if we think about what the word "artist" is which is defined as: "a person who produces any work of art and specifically fine art"- then we could identify so many examples in the old and more recent History that this article would struggle to contain them all.

I would need to start from the medieval exemplary frescos of Giotto (1305) and his school (world class representations are visible all over the country but a remarkable page of that era is contained in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, considered a masterpiece of Western Art) and move in time all the way to Leonardo Da Vinci and his woks as a painter (Mona Lisa or The Last Supper) just to name the most popular, but what about his masterpieces as a sculptor, a philosopher, an engineer or a poet?

Thus proceeding along the quick examples of Italian artists, we will recall other geniuses such as Filippo Brunelleschi, Donatello, Michelangelo Buonarroti (how impressive is his Pieta' in Saint Peters in Rome that testifies to how greatness can talk and flourish even from cold marble?) Or maybe we should list other painters and artists such as Caravaggio, Antonio Canova, Giambattista Tiepolo. To the list of artists, we would need to add cities, monuments, landscapes that have been molded by the incredible gifted hands of engineers, architects, and sculptors who have foreseen the flourishing future for our country. However, by following the long list of more popular artists and the representations of their works spread all over Italy and the world, we would not do justice to the contributions in the very recent past of those artists that have defined the word excellent, and redefined the whole idea and concept of Made in Italy as their business card.

I am talking about great intelligence such as the architect and engineer Renzo Piano (class of 1937) who is known for the "serenity of his buildings" that makes us believe we still live in a very civilized human community. Let's mention his contribution to the Italian landscape and artistic patrimony such as the Auditorium "Parco della Musica" which is the largest multi-functional music complex in Rome and probably in Italy. Or his international fame that started in 1971 with the Georges Pompidou structure in Paris, the Maison Hermes in Ginza, Tokyo, the Morgan Library in NYC, the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, and The New York Times Building in Midtown, Manhattan just to mention some of his most popular achievements.

Or why not mention Carlo Scarpa, one of the best Italian architects who was influenced by his Venetian culture and that of Japan and has transferred his interests in local identity, regionalism and inventiveness into magnificent creations in glass and futuristic buildings.

Continuing on this brief journey, we cannot but mention Arnaldo Pomodoro and his worldly "Sphere within Sphere" sculptures that are visible in the Vatican Museums, The United Nations Headquarters and Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York, Trinity College in Dublin and sculptory works that remind the viewers how art, even in its elementary, or unarticulated and redundant state, talks to the greatness of Italian artists that extend from the Medieval Times all the way until the contemporary times.

In sum, Italy is the cradle of some of the greatest artistic minds, individuals, and exemplary visionaries who exploited the magnificence in the Italian world to create works of art that are pure testimony to the incredible gift bestowed on the local people and the human community. To the next!

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