To be or to have?! Thefts and false antiquities in Paestum.
Leonardo in France
Exactly 500 years ago, invited by the king Francis I, Leonardo crossed the Alps. In France, where he would remain the last three years of his life, he came with four paintings and four assistants / students / friends, including Francesco Melzi and Salai '.
The paintings were the "Mona Lisa", the "Saint Anne", the "San Giovanni Battista", all still beyond the Alps, at the Louvre, and probably the "Leda and the Swan", of which there are only copies.
For the exhibition "Leonardo in France. The Master and his Pupils 500 years after crossing the Alps. 1516-2016”, free entrance, till November 20, 2016, also the “Scapigliata” has been brought to Paris, which according to the latest research of Carmen Bambach, published on the occasion of the exhibition "Unfinished" (MET, New York), represented for Leonardo a sort of manifesto of his status of excellent painter and, at the same time, a sort of a safe-conduct for his habit of not finishing his paintings. In fact, it would seem that Leonardo wanted to compare himself with Apelles. In a book that Leonardo is known to have owned, Pliny wrote that the legendary painter had worked on a Venus without being able to bring it to completion, remaining however, despite this "failure", the greatest painter ever existed, and rather "inventing" the "unfinished" genre.
An exhibition which is a jewel, not only for the context, the splendid venue of the Italian Embassy in Paris, but especially for the paintings on display and the critical work that underlies and supports this project.
A copy of the “Leda” attributed to Francesco Melzi and three copies of “St. John the Baptist”, all ancient and close to Leonardo's original, are exhibited, as well as paintings by other pupils, and intriguing documents like a sixteenth-century guide of France for the traveller, and unpublished studies by the Louvre on the followed itinerary.
Also the wonderful "Head of Christ", whose attribution is controversial, as if you consider the inscription a signature, it is by Salai', but such high quality cannot to be found in other works attributed to him. And even in their preparatory drawings.
On display in fact it’s possible to compare the results of investigations carried out upon these works which are also published, thanks to the effort and the acumen of Tessa Castellano in the catalogue, which will remain undoubtedly a milestone for those who want to venture into the study of the art and the relationships between Leonardo and his pupils and imitators. Art-Test has performed investigations on three of the most important paintings on display: the “Scapigliata”, the “Head of Christ” and the “St. John” of the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, attributed to Salai'. The related reflectographies, and many other diagnostic images are published with considerable size and quality in the catalogue.
What keeps now you from going to Paris?
A small island with big plans!
Procida, a small island in the bay of Naples, became the protagonist of a conference focused on the possibility for it of being a recuperation model in the broadest sense. Its historical heritage could in fact become the engine of economic and cultural wealth.
"The Island of Procida: the sustainable rebirth and the beauty economy" is the title of the conference, to which Art-Test participated, and during which speakers explained the developments and possible variations of that aspiration.
The starting point is a huge historical and architectural complex dating back to 1200, including the hunting lodge of Ferdinand II of Bourbon, who later became a maximum security prison of the Italian State, unfortunately abandoned since 1988, because it did not comply with the new safety standards.
In recent years, the property ownership was transferred to the City itself, and today Procida attempts to revive this "piece" of the island's history, proposing it as a possible model of sustainable development. This ambitious project aims at making the complex attractive for research organizations, universities and … individuals, making Palazzo d'Avalos, and the former penitential home, models of cultural and economic evolution.
Already during the first intervention at the conference, the importance of diagnostics tests was underlined as being the initial moment of knowledge but also an undisputable means for the future prominence of it. Understanding and awareness raising through art diagnostics.
Procida, and its place for "locking down", the former prison, wants to become a place of great openness to the various forms of culture.
With Cultural Heritage mingled with contemporaneity. A contemporary artist, Alfredo Pirri, had, in fact, already chosen the island last year for "7.0", a suggestive creation with which to bring to the memory of the viewers "the same look , identically dreamy or painful that once ran through the very same window and headed for the sea and far away places once only imagined". The window is one of many in this complex looking towards Vesuvius, behind which in the morning you can enjoy the romantic tones of a special sunrise, with colors that fascinated so much the Grand Tour painters.
And it is this landscape, seen from the highest point of the island, allowing to embrace in a single sight the whole territory of the Campi Flegrei, to create a unique added value for a place which is meant to be a point from which to observe, but that it now also under the spot light.
To be or to have?! Thefts and false antiquities in Paestum
Until next December 31st the Museum of Paestum, in the "cellar" rooms, hosts a small, unusual, exhibition: Possession - thefts and false antiquities in Paestum
The works on display are recoveries of illegal thefts that until now were locked in the Museum's deposits.
The exhibition deals with both the theme of the will of "possession" to all costs, which much relies on illicit means, as well as on the robbery's implications which are the loss of documents to the community. Such artworks are in fact documents which are necessary to the understanding of their historical context and are being part of the collective history. This last role is totally lost when they become "solitary" objects, locked in private collections, displayed together with other objects, that are alien to them because of a different origin or nature.
An agreement between the Italian Association of Archaeometry and the new director of the Archaeological Park of Paestum, dr. Zuchtriegel, allowed, during the preparation of the exhibition, to carry out diagnostic analyzes campaigns by university research groups, research institutions and private companies. Art-Test participated along with ICVBC Florentine group.
Multispectral surveys and analyzes of weak signals were accomplished on the grave named T2. The results of such assessments are extensively discussed in the section on Diagnostics included in the exhibition catalog.
Soon, again curated by AIAr a workshop will be organized to present the imposing work done, together with results achieved, demonstrating the positive synergy between research institutes and private companies to accomplish the defense of authentic "beauty"