In the Spirit of Correggio. The annual exhibition of the Free Engravers Association.

Review of "In the Spirit of Correggio," an annual exhibition of ALI - Associazione Liberi Incisori, curated by Marco Fiori and Marzio Dall'Acqua (in Correggio, Palazzo dei Principi, from October 15 to November 27, 2022).

In the world of art contemporary to us there is a prestigious entity that stands as a model of extreme seriousness and guarantee towards collectors and amateurs. It is the ALI (Associazione Liberi Incisori) which has been working for several decades and is statutorily composed of fifty Italian engravers who have been admitted after a proven career made up of ability, quality and truly proven inspirational-cultural commitment. This closed number currently has at its gates many aspirants who will only be able to enter the places that will become vacant for various reasons; but it represents ipso-facto the sure certification of a high level of production.

Recall that the difficult dedication to the many forms of intaglio embossing makes engraving a multifaceted art on a technical level and almost universal with regard to the visual transmission of messages, which touch all sides of human experience. ALI’s activities are also rigorous, overseen by dozens of Supporting Members who are all experienced collectors. The headquarters is in Bologna but the engravers active today come from many regions of Italy. Fulcrum of the enthusiastic life of these artisans is the Annual Exhibition, which is always held at a different illustrious venue, and which is carefully prepared on a proposed theme, but which leaves the artists maximum freedom to respond. Each Annual Exhibition is reflected in a concomitant printed edition, which does not stand as a traditional “closed catalog” but as a “Yearbook” i.e., the segment of a communicative line that comes from the past years and soars into the next: this builds the strength of each Author’s controllable personality, and the sure value of the works.

The fifty artists of ALI chose this year’s venue as the Palace of Princes in Correggio, where their Exhibition opened on October 15 and will remain open until November 27, 2022. The theme, long caressed with visits, talks, research (and even through a fascinating bibliography) is In the Spirit of Correggio, since the diction gathers together the marvelous Renaissance magisterium of Antonio Allegri, known as Correggio, and the mystery of a small town that was a terrestrial island among the waters of the Po Valley and then a pompous fief, rich in the life of a very active court and the presence of great players in the history and culture of the 16th century.

An Exhibition of the highest appeal where in each chalcography the visitor is invited to interpenetrate with admiration, and also with a problematic and shaken soul, within the scenes and figures interpreted by the beautiful sheets that - in the silence of the signs - shake him with love.

Il Palazzo dei Principi di Correggio. Opera rinascimentale di Biagio Rossetti (1507) con splendido portale marmoreo di Antonio Lombardo. Il Museo che qui ha sede contiene opere mirabili di Desiderio da Settignano, Andrea Mantegna, Antonio Allegri detto il Correggio, Guido Reni, e una serie di arazzi fiamminghi del XVI secolo.
The Palace of the Princes of Correggio. Renaissance work by Biagio Rossetti (1507) with splendid marble portal by Antonio Lombardo. The museum housed here contains admirable works by Desiderio da Settignano, Andrea Mantegna, Antonio Allegri known as Correggio, Guido Reni, and a series of 16th-century Flemish tapestries
Stefano Grasselli, Bellezza salvata (Omaggio al Correggio) (2022; copertina dell'Annuario, puntasecca su plexiglass, tre matrici a più colori, diametro 400 mm)
Stefano Grasselli, Beauty Saved (Homage to Correggio) (2022; Yearbook cover, drypoint on plexiglass, three multi-color matrices, 400 mm diameter). Here the skilled and highly sensitive Reggio Emilia engraver summarizes in Ganymede’s adventure-drama the deep and intimate Allegrian themes: love of life, love of god, the pitfalls of evil forces, trembling over fate, and the human call for help
Paolo Graziani, Lo Spirito del Correggio (2022; morsura tonale diretta su ferro/acquaforte, 2 lastre 320 x 155 mm)
Paolo Graziani, The Spirit of Correggio (2022; direct tonal clamping on iron/watercolor, 2 plates 320 x 155 mm). The author, a Florentine, shows the great painter in the presence of Parma Cathedral as he cogitates on the divine gift of art and quotes Vasari’s famous phrase, “hold for certain that no one touched colors better than he did.”
Above appears the Coronation of the Virgin, by Correggio
Ezio Camorani, Danae dall'altra parte del muro (2022, acquaforte 435 x 337 mm).
Ezio Camorani, Danae on the Other Side of the Wall (2022; etching, 435 x 337 mm). The skilled Ravenna artist playfully imagines spying on Danae’s loves with Zeus, evoked by Correggio in the myth. A truly gaudiosa plate
Sonia De Franceschi, Imbolc (2022; acquaforte e acquatinta, 490 x 350 mm)
Sonia De Franceschi, Imbolc (2022; etching and aquatint, 490 x 350 mm). Very elegant work with admirable sharp drawing. The Florentine author is inspired by three works by Correggio and says: “the figure-tree is in the pose of Leda and her body blooms; the suspended figurine is the same woman in the moment when she opens to a second Life symbolized by a dotted Star; Ganymede is transformed into the ”Spiritus Rector“ who may appear in various forms.....” Imbolc would be a secular “candlemas.”
But this whole artist is to be followed
Fausto de Marinis, Suggerimento dal Correggio e omaggio alla Badessa Giovanna da Piacenza (2022; xilografia 450 x 346 mm)
Fausto de Marinis, Suggestion from Correggio and Homage to Abbess Giovanna da Piacenza (2022; woodcut 450 x 346 mm). Fantastic-classic translation of Allegri’s frescoes in the Camera di San Paolo. The author, born in Ethiopia but from Verona, recreates Correggio’s rich work with unusual steadfastness
Giovanni Mambelli, Aspettando il tempo dei due soli (puntasecca su multiplex, 390 x 440 mm).
Giovanni Mambelli, Waiting for the Time of the Two Suns (drypoint on multiplex, 390 x 440 mm). The suave and light echo of Correggio’s abiding love for children drew this fecund artist from Forlì. It is a joyful colorful elaboration of the whole of creation that is extraordinarily purified in the children’s song
Roberta Pancera, Step (2022; puntasecca con fondini, 250 x 350 mm)
Roberta Pancera, Step (2022; drypoint with backing, 250 x 350 mm). Of great strength is this engraving by the Brescian artist. On the other hand, Roberta confesses that she has delicately grasped the very wide human world of Correggio with all the feelings contained therein and has attempted to translate emotions and moods.
protagonist is the woman, and above the complexities of the female soul bursts the nature that is released into the air and opens unlimited virtualities
Agim Sako, Le angele di sinistra, dettaglio (2021; acquaforte, 323 x 247 mm)
Agim Sako, The Left Angels, detail (2021; etching, 323 x 247 mm). Unusual and almost unbelievable work, conducted with an impressive mastery of technical mark-making. The author, an Albanian from Bologna, explains how the leading idea comes from the delicate angelic figures of the Correggesque “Madonna di San Sebastiano” From these the title that offers a vertigo of irrational, almost ecstatic losses
Tiziana Talamini, Nepenthes (2022; acquaforte, vernice molle, xilografia, due matrici, tre battute, 500 x 350 mm).
Tiziana Talamini, Nepenthes (2022; etching, soft varnish, woodcut, two matrices, three bars, 500 x 350 mm). Articulate and periegetic is the investigation that the woodcut artist from Treviso devotes to this mysterious, yet solemn, portrait of the Countess of Correggio. The sum of the messages, from the cap to the clothing, from the gaze to the ancient drink, resolves itself for the author in a proposed conversation that may long continue
Roberto Tonelli, La notte dei ricordi (2020; acquaforte, 240 x 190 mm)
Roberto Tonelli, The Night of Memories (2020; etching, 240 x 190 mm). A loss among interminable spaces where memory can gather everything, typical of an Emilian living in this still and motherly land. The hand and technique of this Bolognese-Piacentine transports us to the most tender remembrances
Gianni Verna, Omaggio al Correggio. Giove ed Io (2022; xilografia, 460 x 593 mm)
Gianni Verna, Homage to Correggio. Jupiter and Io (2022; woodcut, 460 x 593 mm).
It is the
extreme dilution of a sentiment that the Turin-based woodblocker takes up again after the same theme in 2015, proving the “return to Correggio” that always imagines the art pilgrim
Mario Benedetto, Torna ancora Zeus (2022; acquaforte e acquatinta, 498 x 250 mm)
Mario Benedetto, Zeus Returns Again (2022; etching and aquatint, 498 x 250 mm). Superb in its mastery of gesture and space is the hand of this Calabrian-Lombard artist, and profound in its ideistic prehensility is its juxtaposition to the passionate, extremely erotic drive of Allegrian femininity reaching out toward the majesty of Zeus. It is the irrepressible need of the human soul yearning for divinity. Sweet and moving are also her babies in the Yearbook
Florida Xheli, Orto del Getsemani (2022; vernice molle su zinco, 240 x 300 mm)
Florida Xheli, Garden of Gethsemane (2022; soft paint on zinc, 240 x 300 mm). Thrilling match for the painting of a “naked young man” escaping from Jesus’ capture in the fatal Garden of Gethsemane. Correggio paints him in the historical moment, while the Albanian artist transfigures him into a sempiternal moment of the human heart that, anguished, loses itself in following the Savior to the Cross

We close this review by mentioning all the Authors present in this Exhibition, since each of them is a long established artist and possesses a personality of extraordinary interest; each knows how to interpret the motions of the soul and the realms of culture by transfiguring in the arduous techniques of engraving the spaces of intelligence, dream and thought.

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