Ferrara dedicates an exhibition to Piero Guccione, the painter of the sea

From Oct. 7, 2022 to Jan. 8, 2023, the Ferrara Pavilion of Contemporary Art will host a major anthological exhibition dedicated to Piero Guccione, the Sicilian painter famous for his paintings of the sea.

An exhibition dedicated to one of the leading Italian painters of the second half of the 20th century, Piero Guccione ( Scicli, 1935 - Modica, 2018), will be held in Ferrara from October 7, 2022 to January 8, 2023, just over fifty years after the last Ferrara exhibition dedicated to the artist, organized in 1971 by Franco Farina at the Visual Activities Center in Palazzo dei Diamanti. The city thus returns to pay homage, with an exhibition organized by Fondazione Ferrara Arte and the Art Museum Service of the City of Ferrara, to this great 20th-century master who, as Vittorio Sgarbi, president of Ferrara Arte, wrote, “after the death of Fontana, Gnoli and Burri represented the supreme synthesis of figurative and abstract painting.”

The exhibition, entitled Piero Guccione. Mystery in Full Light, the brainchild of Vittorio Sgarbi and Lorenzo Zichichi, is curated by Vasilij Gusella and is organized in collaboration with Il Cigno Arte and the Piero Guccione Archive, with the aim of chronologically retracing the artist’s entire production by presenting the public with more than seventy works including paintings and pastels divided into two chapters: the years in Rome (1957-1972) and the return to Sicily (1970-2014). The exhibition itinerary, set up at the Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, focuses on the painter’s favorite themes: from the relationship between the urban landscape and nature, to the poetic and delicate variations on the theme of the sea and the sky, passing through tributes to the great masters of the past.

Piero Guccione was born on May 5, 1935, in Scicli in the province of Ragusa. After graduating from the Art Institute of Catania, he moved to Rome in 1954, where he frequented the neorealist painters, looking both at Renzo Vespignani, with whom he shared militancy in the group Il Pro e il Contro - along with Attardi, Calabria, Guerreschi, Gianquinto, Farulli, Ferroni, the critics Micacchi, Del Guercio, and Morosini - and Renato Guttuso, whose assistant he was at the Academy, but whose expressionist inclinations he did not share. In the ferment of the Roman environment, his artistic and formal research began, and urban landscapes, such as Balconies, Gardens and Interior-Exteriors, were born: works characterized by an innovative slant and drawn from a common and intimate everyday life in which echo references to Cézanne, Bonnard, Morandi, to name but a few. In the late 1960s, with the cycle of Waiting, the space becomes more metaphysical and Hopperian, and starting in the following decade, with his definitive return to Sicily, he began to paint the sea, trying to capture its infinite vibrations and variations. In these works he takes his research to the limits of abstraction while remaining, however, well anchored in reality. “I am attracted by its absolute immobility, which, however, is constantly in motion,” the artist, who daily admired that Mediterranean landscape up to the horizon line, liked to repeat.

At the same time, he also works on cycles dedicated to the carob tree and the Iblei mountains, made with the pastel technique while, with the d’après series, he confronts some famous masterpieces by, among others, Masaccio, Signorelli, Michelangelo, Giorgione, Caravaggio, Vermeer, Chardin, Friedrich, and Bacon. A personal tribute to the great champions of painting of all time, a roster in which, with good reason, can also be included Piero Guccione, who passed away on Oct. 6, 2018, in his beloved home-studio in Quartarella in the Modican countryside.

“This exhibition,” say Ferrara Arte, “is an unmissable opportunity to closely contemplate the delicacy, silent lyricism, intensity and beauty of the Sicilian artist’s paintings.” In Guccione’s words, “The current times certainly do not induce beauty. And this also applies to art. Today people favor ugliness, arrogance, horror even. I, on the other hand, try to paint beauty: and I care nothing about being modern or not. Being judged not in line with modernity is completely indifferent to me.”

The exhibition opens Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For reservations: https://www.comune.fe.it/prenotazionemusei. For information: website artemoderna.comune.fe.it, phone 0532 244949, email diamanti@comune.fe.it.

Image: Piero Guccione, Lines of the Sea (2006).

Ferrara dedicates an exhibition to Piero Guccione, the painter of the sea
Ferrara dedicates an exhibition to Piero Guccione, the painter of the sea

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