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 contemporary painting, the National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia dedicates an exhibition to Mario Schifano, whose biographical and artistic story is interwoven with close ties with the Etruscan-Italic civilization in general and in particularly with the Museum of Villa Giulia, where he worked from 1951 to 1962 as a restorer and polisher of drawings.
The exhibition project is promoted by the Museum of Villa Giulia, by the Department of Cultural Heritage of the University of Salento, by the PescarAbruzzo Foundation, by the dott. Domenico Tulino and the MM18 Cultural Association, with the patronage of the Mario Schifano Archive and with the contribution of the Casale del Giglio and Civita farms.
The exhibition is set up in the splendid frescoed rooms located on the noble floor of Villa Giulia.
In the Sette Colli room is exhibited the cycle of works The Etruscans (21 paintings), commissioned by Schifano in 1991, and today owned by the Pescarabruzzo Foundation of Pescara. Most of the paintings are inspired by some of the most famous Etruscan funerary paintings, but there are also references to some ancient objects. The paintings have been put together on display with some original vases selected from the vast collection of the Museum.
The reinterpretation proposed by the artist in a pop key is made up of dynamic figures in bright colors, emerging from a monochrome or dark background.
A selection (three paintings and two drawings) from the Mater Matuta cycle of works, inspired by the famous ancient sculptures of Matres (Mothers), two of which belong to the Museum of Villa Giulia and are exhibited in the exhibition, is instead set up 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 in Rome (the management is entrusted to the MM18 Cultural Association of Pagani). Made in a particular period of Schifano's life, of strong sensitivity towards social issues, such as motherhood, child protection and poverty in the world, it is perhaps the last pictorial cycle performed by the Master, who died prematurely. January 26, 1998.
It is the first time that the two cycles have been juxtaposed and presented together in an exhibition context.
The Sala dei Sette Colli also houses a showcase containing documents taken from Mario Schifano's personal file kept in the Museum Archive and a video with a sequence of photographic images by Marcello Gian Benvenuti, which recall the happening of May 16, 1985, when, in Florence, Schifano created La Chimera live in a few hours, a gigantic painting with a surface area of 40 square meters (4 x 10 m).