DA UNA IMPORTANTE COLLEZIONE PRIVATA, MILANO
Venerdì Santo a Madrid, born from the collaboration between Lucio Fontana and Roberto Crippa, stands as imposing as it is enigmatic in space. A puzzle of shapes, colours and words that allows the mind to perform precious exercises in style, which allows one to go beyond that limit, given by the contingency of space and time, and make us navigate in a sea of ideas.
The title Venerdì Santo a Madrid represents the first enigma to be solved. According to Catholic tradition, Good Friday is one of the most important days of the liturgical year. Especially in Madrid, where thousands of people pour into the streets following the many processions throughout. Here we can imagine Fontana and Crippa, friends for over a decade, from the time of the Spatialist Manifesto, in Madrid for the Easter holidays. Two tourists, two artists in a fervent city, wandering in the streets in search of inspiration. The visit to the Museo el Prado is mandatory, which at the time housed numerous masterpieces by artists such as Goya, Tiziano and Velàsquez. So why not imagine them in front of a very famous works like that created in collaboration between Pieter Paul Rubens and Jan Brueghel, Madonna with Child, which if carefully observed presents a similar structure to Venerdì Santo a Madrid. On one hand, Rubens' Madonna and Child, enclosed by a golden clipeo, is surrounded and almost supported by a rich floral wreath painted by the Flemish artist; on the other hand, Fontana's red almond shape surrounded by a large golden outline is supported and protected by Crippa's wooden structure and cork decoration. An analogy that can be deepened in the choice of the subject and title. Jesus, represented in the tenderness of a child, will sacrifice his life to redeem the salvation man, dying on the cross on the very day of Good Friday.
Leaving aside the contextualization of the work, Venerdì Santo a Madrid presents the most representative stylistic language of the two artists. Crippa in the 60s was receiving great support with the series of sugheri (corks) exhibited in Japan, the United States and Australia, while Fontana was concluding the research on spatialism that will find the greatest expression in the series of La fine di Dio (The end of God).
These were years of numerous collaborations between Lucio Fontana and artists such as Enrico Baj, Emilio Scanavino and Osvaldo Borsani, all of whom fully express the cultural climate, particularly that of Milan, of those years.
It is the time of Caffè Jamaica, a real "artists cafè" where Manzoni, Fontana, Crippa, Dova, Peverelli, Cassinari and numerous poets and writers such as Ungaretti, Quasimodo and Dino Buzzati met to exchange ideas and opinions, which became the meeting place for the artists of the nuclear movement and contributed to making Milan the cultural capital of the time.
A moment of cultural openness, connections and innovations that started immediately after the Second World War, which brought out, as Piero Dorazio would say, Italy from a cultural provincialism caused by the intellectual numbness of the wartime years.
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