closed Agostino Arrivabene

The show

The Ferrara Arte Foundation and the Art Museums Service of the Municipality of Ferrara present an anthological exhibition dedicated to Agostino Arrivabene, which brings together forty works including paintings, drawings and mirabilia objects created from 1985 to today.

The title Thesauros refers to the treasures which, in Greek antiquity, were votive gifts to the gods. Known are the small temples, called precisely treasures, such as that of the Siphnians, the Athenians and Sicyon, located around the sanctuary of Delphi along a sacred road that led to the temple dedicated to Apollo, the place where the Pythia prophesied. It is to this concept of votive offering that Arrivabene's production refers: the artistic urgency as a tension towards the divine and the search for and unveiling of the mystery of creation. Shamanism, clairvoyance and dreams are three parallel paths that reveal themselves in an initiatory viaticum: from the vertigo of the underworld to the dazzling divine presences.

The layout is studied in relation to the perspective axis that is created in the rooms of the Tisi wing of Palazzo dei Diamanti: in the first, the recent and monumental painting Erotomachia infera is a tribute to the Divine Comedy and to the fifth canto of the Inferno; the tragic fate of the lustful and of Paolo and Francesca and the oppressive gravity of sin are opposed to the work in the last room that concludes the exhibition and acts as a counterpart: the painting Lucifer from 1999. Lucifer becomes by synaesthesia the same Hades that in Greek myth has given flesh to the Eleusinian mysteries and which the artist has declined in a veritable cycle created starting from 2008 which bears witness to an inexhaustible obsession. The infernal and regal couples of Hades and Persephone are revealed in Du-mal and Ctesia Panax (2011) and in Ea-exit (2016), where Persephone, in flight, returns to earth after a long stay in the afterlife.

Tutelary gods together with other gods of Greek mythology, present with two very rare works created in his youth, become The Seven Days of Orpheus (1996) and Athena (1993), metaphorical icon of Arrivabene's initiatory journey which through art, music and harmony rearranges a canon by dissolving the infernal chaos. These last works, of exceptional workmanship, are emblematic of his poetics as they condense his love for Hellenistic, Renaissance and Flemish primitive art.

The Thesauros fero is enriched by three highly refined works carried out between 2014 and 2020 with radial fragments of petrified wood from the Cretaceous which refer to the Renaissance tradition of painted stones.

An explicit homage to the Ferrarese workshop is offered, however, in two canvases which are part of an après cycle inspired by the Santa Maria in Porto altarpiece by Ercole de' Roberti conserved in the Pinacoteca di Brera. Arrivabene has extrapolated and declined in a personal way the magnificent landscape that opens beyond the throne: in the Great Work (2016) the alchemist is enveloped in the flash of revelation of the vastness of the sublime landscape in which he has descended, inspired by the visionary architectures of Étienne- Louis Boullee; while in the Dream of Asclepius, executed on a seventeenth-century panel, the interpretation of the view is enriched by the quotation of the dream taken from a chronicle written by Aelius Aristide in the small Latin volume I discorsi sacri.

Works on display

Timetable and tickets


Corso Ercole I d’Este 21
44121 Ferrara


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Until 21 July 2024

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Until 21 July 2024

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