In Sicily an exhibition dedicated to the masters of the 20th century from Guttuso to Vedova

From July 29 to Jan. 8, 2023, the Antiquarium of Centuripe in Sicily is hosting an exhibition dedicated to the masters of the 20th century, from Guttuso to Vedova, with important works from the collection of Alberto Della Ragione and project curated by Sergio Risaliti.

From July 29, 2022 to January 8, 2023, theAntiquarium of Centuripe will host the exhibition The Masters of the Twentieth Century: from Guttuso to Vedova. Works from the Alberto Della Ragione Collection curated by Sergio Risaliti, director of the Novecento Museum in Florence. The exhibition project was born from the collaboration between the Municipality of Centuripe and the Museo Novecento of Florence, with the intention of making usable a selection of masterpieces exhibited for the first time in Sicily and coming from one of the most important collections dedicated to Italian twentieth-century art: the Alberto Della Ragione Collection.

The collection, consisting of more than two hundred works, was donated by engineer Alberto Della Ragione to the City of Florence in 1970, in the aftermath of the violent flood that struck the city in 1966. With his gesture, fueled by a deep sense of civic duty, Della Ragione responded to the appeal launched by art historian Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti, whose wish was to establish an International Museum of Contemporary Art, as symbolic compensation for the damage suffered by Florence’s historical-artistic heritage.

“A special trip for a rich selection of works donated to Florence by patron and collector Alberto della Ragione,” emphasizes Deputy Mayor and Councillor for Culture Alessia Bettini. “Great masterpieces of the Italian twentieth century that are part of the precious bequest that occurred in the aftermath of the flood of ’66. It is really the case to say, art and beauty have no boundaries and it is very significant to be able to achieve important synergies in the name of culture. Florence has the ambition to do so, creating and strengthening these virtuous links.”

Renewing the long and fruitful tradition of modern collecting, from whose rib the most important museums in Florence were born, from the Uffizi to the Museo Stefano Bardini, Della Ragione helped nurture the founding nucleus of the Museo Novecento, which today preserves and exhibits this important Collection.

“Since 2018 the Museo Novecento has been involved in the enhancement of the Alberto Della Ragione Collection, with projects ’exported’ outside the metropolitan city of Florence,” says Sergio Risaliti, Director of the Museo Novecento in Florence. “A conspicuous number of works from the engineer-collector’s collection was presented in Salò, on the occasion of the exhibition Italianissima, and then landed in Livorno, in an exhibition that compared two collections: Della Ragione’s public collection and the private collection of the lawyer Iannaccone. Having overcome the obstacle of the pandemic, the works of the civic collection have returned to travel, and this time they arrive in Centuripe, almost covering a range of action that has drawn a line of continuity across the peninsula. On this occasion we focused on the humanistic character of many paintings made by the artists of the first half of the Italian twentieth century, where the passion for human affairs, the everyday environment, nature and the historical dramas that passed through at the time when these works were made emerges. A subtle existentialist vein seems to have animated Alberto Della Ragione, a determined defender of artistic freedom and the antagonistic function of the Avant-garde. The presence of Guttuso is an intentional tribute to Sicily, which gave birth to one of the greatest singers of human reality in twentieth-century painting. We are happy with this collaboration with the Municipality of Centuripe and with Mayor Salvatore La Spina, who has always been an art lover.”

Tracing the will of Alberto Della Ragione, the bequest crosses city and regional borders to arrive in Sicily, in Centuripe, a city rich in history and custodian of important artistic and archaeological treasures. With a selection of works ranging from Renato Guttuso to Emilio Vedova, from Mario Mafai to Filippo de Pisis, the public will be able to admire about forty masterpieces by the courageous patron who devoted himself to art since the 1920s, when he was still wary of the production of his time and bought the first nineteenth-century works. His love for contemporaries was sealed by a visit to the first Roman Quadriennale in 1931, which provoked in him a decisive rejection of the art of previous centuries. The collector thus responded to the ethical urge “not to pass with closed eyes among the art of one’s own time, but to give the work of the living artist the legitimate comfort of a timely understanding,” immediately motivated by anti-fascist ideals and a reaction to the Regime’s cultural policy.

For Centuripe Mayor Salvatore La Spina: “The presence in Centuripe of forty-one works by the greatest masters of the 20th century was unimaginable until recently. The willingness of Mayor Dario Nardella, Headmistress Marina Gardini and the entire staff of the Culture Directorate of the City of Florence, the friendship of Sergio Risaliti, curator and brilliant Director of the Museo Novecento, the attention of the Councillor for Tourism Manlio Messina, the generosity of the sponsors (Med Service, Manusia Restauri, LuxEsco, Verzì Caffè) and the industriousness of the Liberart Association, were the necessary components for such an ambitious project to come to fruition in a small town in Sicily. Today we can proudly say that Centuripe will host one of the most important exhibitions on the island in 2022. I invite Centuripini, Sicilians and tourists on vacation to come and admire these masterpieces and rejoice in the historical and scenic beauty of our country.”

The great quality and variety of the works included in the collection, which earned Della Ragione first prize at the 1941 Cortina d’Ampezzo Contemporary Art Collections Exhibition, is evident in the dialogue established between masterpieces from different currents and movements: from Valori Plastici to Novecento Italiano, from Second Futurism to Magic Realism. Great prominence is also given to the works of the masters of the Roman School and Corrente, with whom Della Ragione established not only professional relationships but also real bonds of friendship. This is the case with Renato Birolli and Renato Guttuso, who, about the collector, declared, “he knew how to give us what we needed: trust, friendship, he lived with us of the same passion, he burned with the same flame.”

Della Ragione thus began to offer his support to young artists who were often overlooked by the market and official critics. From then on, his contemporary art collection, which was already one of the largest existing in Italy in the 1940s, grew steadily. The collection reveals how the engineer-collector’s taste was nevertheless oriented, in his choice of artists and works, toward the more traditional genres (including still life, portraits, landscapes, female nudes), which ensured a frame of reference, even unconscious, for his sometimes unscrupulous choices. While determined to renew his vision of art, Della Ragione never totally disavowed figuration. In the more than two hundred works in the collection, themes dear to the history of modern art emerge, to which painters and sculptors adhered by offering provocative figurative solutions without ever crossing the visual boundaries tested in previous eras.

The exhibition, curated by Sergio Risaliti, was made possible thanks to the onerous sponsorship of the Sicily Region’s Sport Tourism and Entertainment Department and the financial support of Med Service, Manusia Restauri, LuxEsco and Verzì Caffè. For the organization we thank the Culture Directorate of the City of Florence, the Staff of the Novecento Museum in Florence, MUS.E Association, and Liberart Association, which is also in charge of managing the exhibition throughout the exhibition period. We would also like to thank Generali Italia for its support with the Valore Cultura project, Serenissima Vigilanza for the security of the works on display, the Municipal Administration, the councilors of RestiAmo a Centuripe, the Administrative Management, The Technical Office and the workers of the Municipality of Centuripe.

For all information, you can call +39 055 286132, send an email to or visit the official Centuripe website.

Pictured: Renato Guttuso, Massacre, 1942.

In Sicily an exhibition dedicated to the masters of the 20th century from Guttuso to Vedova
In Sicily an exhibition dedicated to the masters of the 20th century from Guttuso to Vedova

Warning: the translation into English of the original Italian article was created using automatic tools. We undertake to review all articles, but we do not guarantee the total absence of inaccuracies in the translation due to the program. You can find the original by clicking on the ITA button. If you find any mistake,please contact us.