Where and when
Above all, Della Ragione was able to give us what we needed most: trust and friendship. He lived with us with the same passion, he burned with the same flame
Renato Guttuso, 1961
Tuesday – Sunday
From 29 July 2022 to 8 January 2023, the Centuripe Antiquarium hosts 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 Museo Novecento.
The exhibition project was born from the collaboration between the Municipality of Centuripe and the Museo Novecento in Florence, with the aim of making available a selection of masterpieces exhibited for the first time in Sicily and coming from one of the most important collections dedicated to Italian art of the Twentieth century: the Alberto Della Ragione Collection.
The collection, consisting of over two hundred works, was donated by the engineer Alberto Della Ragione to the Municipality of Florence in 1970, after the violent flood that hit the city in 1966. With his gesture, fueled by a profound civic sense, Della Reason responded to the appeal launched by the art historian Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti, whose will was to establish an International Museum of Contemporary Art, as a symbolic compensation for the damage suffered by the Florentine historical-artistic heritage.
By renewing the long and fruitful tradition of modern collecting, from which the most important museums in Florence were born, from the Uffizi to the Stefano Bardini Museum, Della Ragione contributed to feeding the founding nucleus of the Museo Novecento, which today preserves and exhibits this important collection.
Retracing the will of Alberto Della Ragione, the legacy goes beyond the city and regional borders to reach 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 brave patron who since the 1920s devoted himself to art, when still wary of production. of his time, he bought the first nineteenth-century works. His love for his contemporaries was sealed by a visit to the first Roman Quadrennial in 1931, which provoked in him a decisive rejection of the art of previous centuries. The collector thus responded to the ethical request of “not passing with eyes closed between the art of one’s time, but to give the work of the living artist the legitimate comfort of a timely understanding”, immediately motivated by anti-fascist ideals and by a reaction to the Regime’s cultural policy.
Second Futurism to Magic Realism. The works of the masters of the Roman and Corrente School also take on great prominence, with whom Della Ragione established not only professional relationships, but also real bonds of friendship. This is the case of Renato Birolli and Renato Guttuso, who, speaking of the collector, declared: “he knew how to give us what we needed: trust, friendship, he lived with us in the same passion, he burned with the same flame”.
Della Ragione thus began to offer its support to young artists, often neglected by the market and by official critics. Since then, his collection of contemporary art, which was already one of the largest in Italy in the 1940s, grew progressively. The collection reveals how the taste of the engineer-collector was however oriented, in the choice of artists and works, towards more traditional genres (including still life, portrait, landscape, female nude), which ensured a painting of reference, even unconscious, to his sometimes unscrupulous choices. Despite being determined to renew his vision of art, Della Ragione never totally denied 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 going beyond the visual boundaries tested in previous eras.
The exhibition, curated by Sergio Risaliti, was made possible thanks to the onerous patronage of the Department of Sport Tourism and Entertainment of the Sicily Region and the financial support of Med Service, Manusia Restauri, LuxEsco and Verzì Caffè. For the organization we thank the Cultural Direction of the Municipality of Florence, the Staff of the Museo Novecento in Florence, the MUS.E Association, and the Liberart Association, which also takes care of the management of the exhibition throughout the exhibition period. We also thank Generali Italia for the support with the Valore Cultura project, Serenissima Vigilanza for the safety of the exhibited works, the Municipal Administration, the directors of RestiAmo in Centuripe, the Administrative Direction, the technical office and the workers of the Municipality of Centuripe.
Associazione LiberArt Aps
Lara Facco P&C