Curated by Gianluca Tagliamonte and Maria Paola Guidobaldi
On the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the death of one of the greatest exponents of Italian and international contemporary painting, the Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia dedicates an exhibition to Mario Schifano, whose biographical and artistic life is closely interwoven with the Etruscan-Italic civilization and with the Museo di Villa Giulia, where he worked from 1951 to 1962 as a restorer and drawings finisher.
The exhibition is promoted by the Museo di Villa Giulia, the Department of Cultural Heritage of the University of Salento, PescarAbruzzo Foundation, Dr. Domenico Tulino Foundation and MM18 Cultural Association, with the patronage of the Mario Schifano Archive and with the contribution of Azienda Agricola Casale del Giglio and Civita.
The exhibition is set up in the splendid frescoed rooms on the main floor of Villa Giulia. In the hall of the Sette Colli is exhibited the cycle of works Gli Etruschi (21 paintings), commissioned by Schifano in 1991, and now owned by the Pescara Pescarabruzzo Foundation. Most of the paintings are inspired by some of the most famous Etruscan burial paintings, but there are references to some ancient objects. The paintings have been put together on show to some original vases selected in the ample collection of the Museum.
The reinterpretation proposed by the artist in pop key is based on dynamic figures with bright colors, emerging from a monochrome or dark background.
A selection (three paintings and two drawings) of the Mater Matuta cycle of works, inspired by the famous ancient sculptures by Matres (Mothers), two of which belong to the Museum of Villa Giulia and are on display in the Sala di Venere . The Mater Matuta cycle was commissioned to Schifano in 1995 by the manager Domenico Tulino, and is now owned by the Dott. Domenico Tulino Foundation of Rome (the management is entrusted to the Cultural Association MM18 of Pagani). Made in a particular period of the life of Schifano, of strong sensitivity towards social issues, such as motherhood, child protection and poverty in the world, is perhaps the last painting cycle performed by the Master, prematurely disappeared the January 26, 1998.
It is the first time that the two cycles are juxtaposed and presented together in an exhibition context. The Sala dei Sette Colli also contains a bulletin board containing documents taken from the personal file of Mario Schifano kept in the Museum Archives and a video with a sequence of photographic images by Marcello Gianvenuti, which recall the happening of May 16, 1985, when Florence, Schifano realized in a few hours live La Chimera, a gigantic painting of 40 square meters of surface (4 x 10 m).