Where and when
From the Etruscans to the twentieth century History and myth in the book by Martina Corgnati
Tuesday 26 March at 6 pm, in the cinema room of the Museo Novecento, the presentation of the book by Martina Corgnati The long shadow of the Etruscans. Echoes and suggestions in the art of the twentieth century (Johan & Levi publisher) together with Laura Lombardi, Mauro Pratesi and Sergio Risaliti
The Etruscan myth has had mixed fortunes, the victim of a prejudice of inferiority towards the Greco-Roman civilization, but the subject of a rediscovery process that has made it a concept of “ancient” alternative to the classical ideal. To deepen this theme, investigating the legacy of Etruscan culture in the work of artists active between the end of the nineteenth century and the eighties of the twentieth century, on Tuesday 26 March at 6 pm the Museo Novecento hosts the presentation of the book by Martina Corgnati, The long shadow of the Etruscans. Echoes and suggestions in the art of the twentieth century (Johan & Levi Editore) who for the occasion will be joined by Laura Lombardi and Mauro Pratesi and by the artistic director of the Museum, Sergio Risaliti, who will moderate the meeting.
If Leon Battista Alberti was among the first to re-evaluate the Tuscan order, recognizing its essential rationality and formal honesty, it will be necessary to wait until the nineteenth century to speak of a real “Etruscan fashion”, when intellectuals, travelers, archaeologists and collectors , including many Anglo-Saxons, give life to a series of publications and illustrations that document and make accessible to a growing number of enthusiasts a heritage of tomb sculptures that have now largely disappeared. From the end of the nineteenth century the first photographic repertoires were also prepared, including the Moscioni collection, which later merged into the Vatican Museums, and the collections of the Alinari and Brogi brothers: it is a priceless visual archive, to which important archaeological finds are soon added. , first of all that of Giulio Quirino Giglioli who in the middle of the world war, on May 19, 1916, brings to light the Apollo of Veio, a polychrome terracotta considered one of the masterpieces of Etruscan art.
The passion for Etruscan, however, is nourished by instances so different that they become opposed: on the one hand there is the Etruria of the scholars, on the other hand there is the Etruria of the writers and artists, the one evoked, imagined, so much as fabulous as it is irrecoverable. This is the homeland of Enrico Prampolini, who lends his avant-garde pencil for a themed magazine; by Arturo Martini, Massimo Campigli and Marino Marini who, each with their own accents, come to claim an authentic direct descent; of artists apparently distant from that world, such as the French Edgar Degas and the English Henry Moore; of figures who beat territories considered marginal such as that of ceramics, such as Gio Ponti and Roberto Sebastián Matta.
Immersing themselves in tradition, contemporary artists swallow it up and reinvent it: in their hands and thanks to their gaze, Etruscan art undergoes as many radical metamorphoses as there are personalities who approach it. Archaeological research and avant-garde poetics almost simultaneously arrive at the same result: the rupture of Greco-Roman centrism and the rediscovery of figurative languages extraneous to that matrix, that is, extra-European cultures and those, precisely, Mediterranean-archaic. The Etruscans thus mysteriously find themselves allied with Chinese and Africans, with naive ex voto painters and with humble, anonymous potters: all necessary accomplices that have allowed artists to revisit and rewrite the past according to their own personal sensitivity.
Art historian and curator, she is a professor of Art History at the Brera Academy in Milan. She has dealt in particular with women’s art and the period between the historical avant-gardes and the sixties, as well as with contemporary research in the Mediterranean area. Among his publications, L’opera replicante. The strategy of simulacra in contemporary art (2009), The paintings that look at us. Works in dialogue (2011), Impressionists (2018). With Johan & Levi he has already published Meret Oppenheim. Grabbing Life by the Tail (2014).