Exhibitions

“Virginia Woolf and Bloomsbury. Inventing Life” exhibition opens in Rome

From 26 October to 12 February 2023, the exhibition “Virginia Woolf and Bloomsbury. Inventing Life” will be at the National Roman Museum in Rome.

For the first time in Italy, Palazzo Altemps presents an exhibition celebrating the spirit of Bloomsbury, the London district where new forms of life and thought, which transformed the Victorian principles and strong patriarchal spirit with which the twentieth century was still imbued, were developed. After the death of their widowed father in 1904, Virginia Stephen, later Woolf, and her siblings Vanessa, Thoby and Adrian moved from the affluent district of Kensington to the more bohemian Bloomsbury. Starting in 1905, a large group of young men and women would meet in the house in 46 Gordon Square to invent a new, free life.

Virginia Woolf and Bloomsbury. Inventing Life is a project of the National Roman Museum and the Electa publishing house, developed in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery of London. The exhibition highlights the original soul of Palazzo Altemps, an aristocratic mansion in the heart of Rome.

Conceived and curated by Nadia Fusini – a connoisseur of the British author who edited the two volumes in the Meridiani series – in cooperation with Luca Scarlini – writer, playwright, storyteller, performance artist – the exhibition examines the complex intellectual friendships of the Bloomsbury group through books, words, paintings, photographs and the possessions of the protagonists of this adventure in art and thought.

The story of the members of the Bloomsbury circle unfolds in five rooms of Palazzo Altemps. The young intellectuals who met in the home of the Stephen sisters shared artistic predilections, romantic relationships, innovative creative experiences, social thinking. Individuals with strong personalities, they would become left-wing economists, historians, writers, thinkers and painters, and, often, very famous. They dreamed, like Leonard Woolf, of a classless society or, like Virginia, of a world without ivory towers for its artists; John Maynard Keynes revolutionised economic thought and laid the foundation for the welfare state, and for state support of the arts; Lytton Strachey invented a new form of biographical writing, while critic and painter Roger Fry established a different way of looking at and creating works of art. In addition to the undisputed value of equality, economic equality first and foremost, another essential principle for the group was the recognition of the singularity of each individual.

It is no coincidence that the exhibition is housed in Palazzo Altemps, previously home to a prestigious library – built up between the end of the XVI and the XVII centuries by Cardinal Marco Sittico Altemps and his nephew Giovanni Angelo, and later merged with the Vatican Apostolic Library – and, in the nineteenth century, to distinguished literary salons. It was here, in the Church of St. Aniceto, built within the fabric of the palazzo, that in 1883 Gabriele D’Annunzio married Maria Hardouin di Gallese, a daughter of the last family to live in Palazzo Altemps.

Edited by Nadia Fusini and Luca Scarlini, the exhibition catalogue published by Electa is organised as a personal dairy, a collection of notes and memories, a visual story including essays by distinguished authors, which examines the key themes of the exhibition: the protagonists, their houses, their romantic relationships, their literature, their relations with the arts and publishing, to build up a portrait of one of the most important cultural groups of the twentieth century.

The National Roman Museum with the Electa publishing house and the support of the Italian Virginia Woolf Society have organised a wide-ranging program of events linked to the themes examined by “Virginia Woolf and Bloomsbury. Inventing Life” will be at the National Roman Museum in Rome. Nadia Fusini and Luca Scarlini will meet the public on a series of occasions to talk in depth about and celebrate the fascinating story of the Bloomsbury group.

The exhibition will be open until 12 February 2023. For information about times and tickets:

museonazionaleromano.beniculturali.it/palazzo-altemps

The “Pisanello. The World’s Tumult” exhibition at the Palazzo Ducale in Mantua

The “Pisanello. The World’s Tumult” exhibition opens in Mantua.  An exhibition created to mark the 50th anniversary of the exhibition curated by Giovanni Paccagnini, where one of the most important acquisitions in the field of art history in the twentieth century was presented: the discovery in the rooms of the Palazzo Ducale in Mantua of the Arthurian cycle painted using mixed techniques around 1430-1433 by Antonio Pisano, known as Pisanello.

The exhibition, produced and promoted by the Mantua Palazzo Ducale, is part of a wide-ranging, long-term programme to promote the work and the Sala dedicated to the artist, together with the adjacent Sala dei Papi. In fact, the layout of the entire room (9.50 × 17.50 m [31.16 × 57.41 ft]; 3 walls out of 4 have also revealed the frescoed sinopie; 100 square metres between the frescoes and sinopie) was permanently remodelled to make better use of an exceptional discovery for Italian artistic heritage.

Thanks to a new lighting system, the project completely restores clarity to the paintings, which were pulled out and relocated over fifty years ago. Instead of the natural diffused lighting from before, warm lighting is now aimed at Pisanello’s wall paintings, bringing out the reflections of the golden inserts and the painting’s magnificent details. In addition, a raised platform allows the visitor to appreciate the paintings at the correct distance calculated by the artist as, until now, the guided tour path was 110 cm [43,30 inch] lower due to subsequent changes to the room.

So, there is now a “new” tour path, enhanced by additional equipment, which allows the public to rediscover the richly-detailed work from the “correct” point of view, as described by Pisanello, as well as its curving lines and the artist’s extraordinary meticulous touch.

The permanent work in the Sala del Pisanello is supported by the work of the Politecnico di Milano, the regional campus of Mantua, under the supervision of Eduardo Souto de Moura; the temporary part of the exhibition is designed by Archiplan Studio which has also been in charge of providing all the artworks.

Pisanello. The World’s Tumult”, curated by Stefano L’Occaso, is an exhibition that involves two large adjacent, connecting rooms on the main floor, the Sala del Pisanello and the adjacent Sala dei Papi, in addition to the rooms on the ground floor, set up to exhibit an overview of Late Gothic culture in Mantua, displaying an excellent selection of paintings, sculptures and miniatures.

The Sala del Pisanello is dedicated to the cycle of paintings linked to the preparatory drawings, the wall paintings and the sinopie exhibited. The Sala dei Papi is permanently set up with historical photos, the material traces of a special removal operation, some currently unexposed sinopie and everything that can describe the technique in Pisanello’s paintings, their discovery, the aforementioned exhibition in 1972 and the restoration work from the 1960s to today.

An interactive multimedia system completes the exhibition. It’s possible to view all the details of the Arthurian cycle at a magnification never seen before via a touchscreen monitor, and navigate an accurate three-dimensional reconstruction of the Sala del Pisanello created by the 3D designer Matteo Morelli when it was still called the Sala dei Principi, or at a point in time prior to the work that led to the discovery of the cycle.

Finally, in the rooms of the Appartamento di Santa Croce on the ground floor, suitably shielded from outside light, there are works from about the year 1400 to the middle of the 15th century that show and give an overview of the panorama of contemporary artistic culture in Mantua. These include the Dalle Masegne statues that now decorate the cathedral; the works of Stefano da Verona, another leading figure in the age of Pisanello; the illuminated manuscripts that show the development of the Gonzaga family’s tastes, a development that leads to the example of the missal of Barbara di Brandenburgo, started by Belbello da Pavia and finished by Girolamo da Cremona, in a richly Renaissance style.

Works by Pisanello that are not directly linked to the Arthurian cycle also find a home in this room.

The exhibition includes about 30 works, including international loans such as Pisanello’s masterpieces like the Virgin and Child with Saint Anthony and Saint George from the National Gallery of London, in Italy for the first time since its “departure” in 1862, and the paintings in the Louvre Museum in Paris. There’s also the Adoration of the Magi by Stefano da Verona from the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan and, last but not least, the precious Madonna of the Quail, one of Pisanello’s juvenilia, considered to be one of the symbolic works of the Castelvecchio Museum in Verona, also available by virtue of an existing promotion agreement between the two Museums based on the artistic relations between Verona and Mantua.

Among the contributors supporting both the exhibition being undertaken and continued, we must highlight the Banca Agricola Mantovana Foundation. For many years it has offered its support to the initiatives promoted by the Palazzo Ducale, contributing to the promotion of the national artistic heritage and the dissemination of art and culture in the Mantuan community.

The exhibition comes with a brochure published by Electa and will be open until 8 January 2023.

“Rubens in Genoa”: the grand exhibition opens in the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa

From 6 October 2022 to 22 January 2023 the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa presents the grand exhibition “Rubens in Genoa” dedicated to Pietro Paolo Rubens (1577–1640) and his relationship with the city. The exhibition was produced by the City of Genoa with the Palazzo Ducale Cultural Foundation and our publishing house, Electa, and thanks to the support and participation of the sole sponsor, Rimorchiatori Riuniti S.p.A.

The curator is Nils Büttner, professor at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart as well as Chairman of the Centrum Rubenianum in Antwerp, and Anna Orlando, a Genoese independent scholar and co-curator of the exhibition “The Age of Rubens” held at the Palazzo Ducale in 2004.

Sixteen sections of the exhibition are set up in the rooms of the Sale dell’Appartamento of the Palazzo Ducale on the main floor of the building. Paintings, drawings, tapestries, furnishings, precious accessories and antique books are also exhibited together. There are over a hundred works, demonstrating the greatness of an artistic capital visited by one of the greatest artists of all time. It’s a selection that affirms the name of Superba that was given to Genoa, where Rubens stayed several times between 1600 and 1607. It’s also a selection that allows us to retrace and, in many cases, to reconstruct the relationship with the Genoese patrician, one which continued even after the master’s return to Antwerp.

Thirty works attributed to the Rubensian oeuvre: eighteen autograph works, together with paintings that definitely left the painter’s workshop under his supervision and with direct work by him, in addition to two priceless accounts of lost works known through subsequent works. It’s a significant collection, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in Genoa — a city that still houses works by Rubens in churches, museums and private collections to this day — since the eighteenth century. In addition, an extraordinary selection of 80 works rounds out the story of the cultural and artistic context of the Ligurian city in its heyday. During his trip to Italy (1600–1608), Rubens definitely saw and studied Tintoretto and Luca Cambiaso. During his stay, and specifically in Genoa, he met Sofonisba Anguissola, Giovanni Battista Paggi and Bernardo Castello; and collaborated with Jan Wildens and Frans Snyders. All these artists are exhibited.

Fifteen never before exhibited Rubensian works appear in Genoa and ten for the first time in Italy. Two examples of the latter. The first, a self-portrait from 1604–1605, from a private collection. Recently rediscovered, it is an oil study in preparation for a self-portrait that Rubens included in a now lost Mantuan altarpiece. The second, Saint Sebastian Healed by Angels, circa 1615, from a private collection, is now traced to the commission by the famous condottiero, Ambrogio Spinola, thanks to a recent and important documentary discovery. Never exhibited fully, The Resurrected Christ Appearing to His Mother (with a figure from an underlying composition), circa 1612–1616. This painting, from a private collection, depicts the risen Christ standing in front of two kneeling women. Both female figures represent the Mother of Jesus. A recent X-ray revealed the presence of a second female image beneath the painting’s surface, which is compositionally similar, but iconographically different. Both figures are now visible. At this event the studies and comparisons with the well-known Rubensian iconography will be exhibited. Among the new additions are two splendid portraits: Violante Maria Spinola Serra, circa 1607, from Buscot Park (Oxfordshire-The Faringdon Trust) and Geronima Spinola with her granddaughter Maria Giovanna Serra, circa 1605–1606, from Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie. These absolute masterpieces of European Baroque portraiture are both exhibited for the first time with their identities rediscovered.

Museums in Italy and abroad, as well as private collectors, have granted special loans in recognition of a project based on long years of studies and scientific research by the curators, and motivated by the support of a prestigious international honorary scientific committee, composed of the top experts in the field. It’s not only thanks to the research to prepare the exhibition, but also due to the rediscovery of a painting by Rubens that had been lost for two centuries, and which was definitely present in Genoa in the seventeenth century. At this event it is submitted to the scrutiny of international scholars who have never seen it before to prove its attribution. The work itself is a study for the altarpiece, The Miracles of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, still in the Chiesa del Gesù church in Genoa.

These and many other new additions are presented to the public in an exhibition on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the publication of the book, Palazzi di Genova, by Pietro Paolo Rubens, printed in Antwerp in 1622. It is an anniversary celebrated in the first room, where two original copies are exhibited, including a rare copy of the first edition, without subsequent additions.

Three books have been published by Electa on the occasion of the exhibition, curated by Anna Orlando: the brochure, also curated by Nils Büttner, presents all the new additions that have come about due to the new research and important updates that resulted from preparing the exhibition; the guide to the exhibition, an easy tool to follow the guided tour; the guide, In Genoa with Rubens, that accompanies the Rubensian tour to discover the masterpieces in the Genoese palaces and in the churches that Rubens definitely visited. For the occasion, Abscondita has published Palazzi di Genova, edited by Anna Orlando. The book contains tables, plans and sections of the buildings selected by Rubens. There’s abundant material to account for not only the complexity, but also the features and comforts of Genoese homes.

The Palazzo Ducale exhibition event has enabled a great project to be created: “Genova per Rubens. A Network“, imagined and curated by Anna Orlando. Indeed, it’s the most important cultural network ever initiated in Genoa centring on a single artist. More than sixty public and private companies are involved in this project dedicated to Rubens and his special relationship with the city. It is an extensive network of collaborations that has made it possible to create introductory talks, cultural events, special openings, side events and further exhibition projects.

“Rubens in Genoa” will be open until 22 January 2023. For information and tickets: palazzoducale.genova.it and www.ticketone.it.

The first retrospective in Italy on Max Ernst at the Palazzo Reale in Milan

The first retrospective in Italy dedicated to Max Ernst (1891–1976), the German – later American and French – painter, sculptor, poet and art theorist, opens in Milan on 4 October 2022. The exhibition, promoted and produced by the City of Milan – Culture and by Palazzo Reale with Electa, in collaboration with Madeinart, is curated by Martina Mazzotta and Jürgen Pech.

There are over 400 works, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, collages, photographs, jewellery and illustrated books from museums, foundations and private collections, in Italy and abroad. These include the GAM in Turin, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Museum of Ca’ Pesaro in Venice, the Tate Gallery in London, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Cantini Museum in Marseille, the State Museums and the Arp Foundation in Berlin, the Beyeler Foundation in Basel, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum in Madrid.

The long period of study and research carried out by the curators has made it possible to include among the loans about eighty paintings, works and documents that had not been exhibited to the public for several decades. 

The breadth of themes and experiments in Ernst’s work spans over seventy years of 20th century history, between Europe and the United States, constantly eluding any definition. Pictor doctus, profound connoisseur and visionary interpreter of the history of art, philosophy, science and alchemy, Max Ernst is presented through this project as a humanist in the neo-Renaissance sense of the word. If André Chastel claimed to find in Ernst a sort of “reincarnation of those Rhenish authors of Bosch-type devilishness”, Marcel Duchamp found “a comprehensive inventory of the different eras of Surrealism”.

On the main floor of the Palazzo Reale visitors can immerse themselves in a fascinating tour that traces the artist’s adventurous creative path, marked by the great historical events of the twentieth century and filled with great loves, as well as illustrious friendships. The tour recounts events from Ernst’s life, grouping them into 4 main periods, in turn divided into 9 themed rooms that reveal interdisciplinary approaches to his art.

It’s a large, idealised library, that of the artist’s, composed of illustrated books, study manuals, photographs, objects and documents, winding through the entire tour of the exhibition, inviting visitors to engage in games to find the references and similarities between the sources of inspiration and the works themselves.

Like a great cabinet of curiosities, and analogous to Max Ernst’s universe, the exhibition and the companion book challenge visitors to discover fascinating games of perception that are at times marvellous, others astonishing, where logic and formal harmony are combined with unfathomable mysteries, where works, techniques and constellations of symbols lead us beyond painting.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a brochure published by Electa, a guide and a new edition, also by Electa, of two fundamental works by Paola Dècina Lombardi on the surrealist movement: Surrealism 1919–1969. Rebellion and Imagination and Women, Freedom, Love. A Surrealism Anthology.

“Max Ernst” will be open from 4/10/2022 until 26/02/2023. For information and tickets: www.maxernstmilano.it, www.electa.it and www.palazzorealemilano.it

The exhibition “Depero’s automatic acrobatic,” conceived by Electa, opens in Mantua

The exhibition devoted to Fortunato Depero (Fondo 1892 – Rovereto 1960), an ingenious creator of theorized futurist aesthetics in the Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe manifesto signed with Giacomo Balla, in 1915, opened to the public on September 7 2022, at Mantua’s Palazzo della Ragione contemporaneously with the Festival of Literature. The exhibition Depero’s automatic acrobatic brings about 80 important masterpieces of the early 1900s (1917-1938) to Mantua for the first time and will remain open to the public until February 26 2023.

The exhibition was designed exclusively for the spaces of the Palazzo della Ragione by Electa, in cooperation with the Mart, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto. The curation is handled by Nicoletta Boschiero, manager of Depero’s Futurist Art House.

In the course of his long artistic experience, Depero developed a complete art form, which included painting, theatre, scenic design, applied arts, publishing and advertising and which made him become one of the protagonists of the futurist movement. The collection accompanies visitors on a journey aimed to reveal such various creative spheres by recalling the three geographical areas that affected his artistic path.

One of the most creative seasons, which reached its ultimate peak between 1916 and 1918 and which is linked to the theatrical adventure experienced with his Swiss friend, Gilbert Clavel, starts with Capri through a series of drawings that belonged to Clavel himself. An important masterpiece, such as the Ballerina Mechanics (1917) and some beautiful ink drawings devoted to the novel Gothic Institute for suicides, or prelude to the birth of the robot in the theatrical show Flexible Dances, are also exhibited.

 In 1919, after the war, it was in Rovereto that Depero gave life to his greatest dream, that of opening an art house specialised in the fields of adversing graphics, furniture and applied arts, and, in particular, in that of the cloth inlays that became very successful in Paris, in 1925, at the international Exhibition of modern decorative and industrial arts, which was “open to all industrials whose products were artistic by nature and clearly representative of a modern trend.”

Finally, in 1928, following the successes achieved at important national and international exhibitions, Depero and his wife, Rosetta, moved to New York, where they opened Depero’s Futurist House, a sort of American branch of their art house in Rovereto. Depero’s commitment to advertising became successful with the cooperation of leading brands, as he began to design numerous covers for American Printer, Vogue and Vanity Fair, in addition to the theatrical scenographies of New Babel. A last section of the exhibition is then devoted to the long-term cooperation with the Campari brand.

The exhibition’s catalogue will be published by Electa.

Art: Marisa Rastellini’s “gracious eye” at MIA Fair

In the prestigious photography show in Milan, Mondadori Portfolio celebrates its tenth anniversary with an exhibition of the work of a refined photographer who immortalised great actors and key figures on the Italian literary and cultural scene

The extraordinary shots of Marisa Rastellini, a refined photographer who worked for Grazia and Epoca magazines from the ’sixties until the end of the ’eighties, will be exhibited to the general public for the first time by Mondadori Portfolio, the Mondadori Group’s photo agency.

During MIA Fair – Milan Image Art Fair, Italy’s most important photography show, scheduled for 28 April through 1 May at SUPERSTUDIO MAXI in Milan, Mondadori Portfolio will celebrate its tenth anniversary with the presentation of an exhibition of the Roman photographer’s work entitled “Uno sguardo gentile, fotografie di Marisa Rastellini”: “A gracious eye: the photographs of Marisa Rastellini”.

Following lengthy, meticulous research in the Mondadori archives, the photographer’s works will finally be on public view in an exhibition ideally documenting the spirit of her times, perfectly represented in her portraits of actors and key figures in Italy’s literary and cultural scene, as well as her numerous fashion shoots.

Curated by Maria Vittoria Baravelli in collaboration with Mondadori Portfolio, the exhibition reconstructs the world of Marisa Rastellini, portraying a shy, delicate artist whose lens immortalised great Italian intellectuals such as Pier Paolo Pasolini, Elsa Morante, Virna Lisi, and Monica Vitti, as well as Marcello Mastroianni, Federico Fellini, Valentino Garavani.

“In this exhibition and event,” points out Mondadori Portfolio Executive Manager Elisabetta De Simone, “we celebrate our first ten years, an important decade during which, through reclamation of prints, original negatives, colour photos and slides kept in the publisher’s vast historic archives, we have brought back to light such famous names as Mario De Biasi, Giorgio Lotti, Angelo Cozzi, Sergio De Grande and many more photographers who have told the history of Italy in their photographs over the past 60 years”.

“The archives are like maps to sail by, lands to be explored,” comments exhibition curator Maria Vittoria Baravelli. “At a time when the digital is taking over in all kinds of contexts, the archives are still set in solid reality, in the form of envelopes, contact sheets, drawers and negatives. This is why it is so important to rediscover Marisa Rastellini: a photographer in the Rome of the ‘60s that we know very little about. All we know is that she was very discrete and gracious, incredibly shy and yet so profound in recording the faces and lifestyles of late twentieth-century Italy in her work. More than 50 years later, Marisa Rastellini’s photographs come out of their envelopes and into the light again. We look at them, and in return they tell us who we were and who we still are today, with certain differences”.

Established in 2012 to draw on the iconographic heritage of Mondadori magazines, the agency has been expanded over time with the addition of prestigious collections, a team of contemporary photographers, and a range of services appropriate for today’s trendiest forms of communication.

In a tribute to this decade of work, Mondadori Portfolio goes back to its archives, where it all began, for the exhibition “Uno sguardo gentile, fotografie di Marisa Rastellini”, renewing its commitment to rediscovery and promotion of a photographic heritage unknown to the general public.

The exhibition “Uno sguardo gentile, fotografie di Marisa Rastellini” (“A gracious eye: the photographs of Marisa Rastellini”) is produced with the support of Cassina and Flos, representatives of the excellence of Italian design all over the world, who enrich the exhibition with a number of iconic items of design.

IllusiOcean, an unexpected ocean debuts at the Università di Milano-Bicocca

Until 31 January 2022. The Università di Milano-Bicocca is hosting an exhibition dedicated to the protection of the marine ecosystem and presented using the language of illusion.

It is an interactive, multimedia project created thanks to the collaboration of Mondadori Media and the Italian National Museum of Cinema in Turin, and the participation of almost 500 high school students

Surrender to the suggestive biodiversity of the sea and the secrets of its extraordinary ecosystem through the language of illusion. Until 31 January 2022, the University of Milano-Bicocca is hosting “IllusiOcean™”, an exhibition conceived and coordinated by Paolo Galli, professor of ecology at the university, and created in collaboration with Mondadori Media and the National Museum of Cinema in Turin.

The aims of the exhibition dedicated to the sea include raising awareness – among civil society, schools of all levels, the academic world and the scientific community – of the importance of achieving the sustainable development objectives for oceanic sciences set by the United Nations for the decade (2021-2030) of oceanic sciences, in particular Goal 14: to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.

The exhibition is an interactive experience divided into three thematic areas.

The first area consists of four rooms and two corners, each examining an aspect of the sea: from the biodiversity of tropical marine ecosystems to the problem of plastic pollution.

The exhibition path begins with a corner dedicated to “Virtual Reality” where, thanks to 3D viewers, visitors can explore the wonders of the world’s coral reefs and discover the process of coral restoration. It is also possible to simulate the sensory experience of an underwater geyser and enjoy an special natural spectacle.

In the “Sottomarino delle illusioni (Submarine of Illusions) visitors can dive into the depths of the Maldives, an archipelago that hosts some of the world’s largest coral reefs: an area of over 4500 km2 of extraordinary biodiversity and nearly 300 different species of coral. In this room, visitors will have the opportunity to get to know the marine organisms that shelter here. But to do this, they will have to sharpen their senses: walking from one side of the space to the other, where they will see the figures shrink or enlarge and algae and fish that transform into strange shapes.

The “Stanza degli specchi” (Room of Mirrors) places us among schools of jellyfish, fascinating marine animals that are found in seas around the world, where they float, driven by currents. And among the luminous umbrellas of these creatures, we can also see traces of the all-too-human threat called pollution.

This room was designed with the support of master glassmaker Fabio Fornasier from Murano, who created glass jellyfish using the traditional manual method and reproduced – also in glass – some of the many plastic objects that infest our seas.

The room “Mare sotto i Riflettori, il cinema racconta gli oceani (The Sea in the Spotlight, the cinema and the oceans) is the result of collaboration with the National Museum of Cinema in Turin. This section offers a new interactive experience with all the magic of underwater filming, with clips, objects and unique curiosities. “The relationship between man and then sea has always been one of the recurring themes in the history of cinema,” said Domenico De Gaetano, director of the National Museum of Cinema, “our fascination with the underwater world lends itself well to illusions and special effects and we are delighted with this prestigious collaboration, which allows us to show another fascinating side of the Seventh Art.”

The sea is a treasure chest containing many different species of animals and plants: some are easy to spot, others hide and blend in. To recognise them, you need an expert eye, patience and a lot of attention. In the “Labirinto dei segreti marini (Labyrinth of marine secrets) children from three to five years old can have a lot of fun looking for them and getting lost among the walls of this special room

The second corner, Messaggio in Bottiglia (Message in a Bottle), takes us back in time, to when letters were placed in glass bottles and thrown into the sea letting the currents carry them ashore. Fortunately, today we no longer need to throw a message into the ocean to communicate with the world: but through the “ocean that is the web”, visitors can launch their own message of hope to be launched on social networks using a virtual glass bottle.

The second area of the exhibition features 30 giant photographs, taken by some of the greatest experts in underwater photography – including Massimo Boyer – and depicting the evocative illusions created by nature that make our oceans so spectacular: the mimicry of some species of fish, for example, or the phenomenon that generates the effect of underwater waterfalls in Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean.

The third block is dedicated to the work done by high -chool students from the Vittorio Veneto and Luigi Cremona scientific high schools in Milan and the Emilio Sereni Agricultural Technical Institute in Rome. In recent months, around 500 students participated in the “Percorsi per le Competenze Trasversali e per l’Orientamento” (Paths towards Crossover Skills and Orientation) by designing and creating parts of the exhibition: reconstructions of models of the seabed, scientific games, illustrative posters, drawings and audio guides for visitors.

“With IllusiOcean the Milano-Bicocca University takes another important step towards restarting after the pandemic, inviting schools, families and citizens to discover an exhibition dedicated to the sea. We are delighted to inaugurate this exhibition which, thanks to the language of illusions, is not only great fun, but also encourages us to reflect on one of the priorities set by the UN 2030 Agenda: the protection of the health of the sea. It’s a challenge in which our researchers are engaged every day in the study of sustainable development solutions for the protection of the marine ecosystem,” said Deputy Rector, Marco Orlandi.

The exhibition is free and open to the public every Friday from 11am to 6pm and on Saturdays, twice a month, at the same times, at the Galleria della scienza (Buildings U1/U2, 1st floor, Piazza della Scienza, Milan).

Entrance is by reservation only and you can book on the  illusiocean.it website and present your green pass (vaccination passport) at the door.

In addition, every Tuesday and Thursday morning, from 8am to 10am or from 11am to 1pm, by writing to illusiocean@unimib.it, you can book guided tours for schools.

Thanks to collaboration with Mondadori Media, from the end of October the “IllusiOcean™” exhibition will also be available online, exclusively on the website of Focus, Italy’s most widely read monthly, a reference point for fans and enthusiasts of technology, science, nature, medicine and innovation. By accessing the dedicated section of Focus.it., users can navigate in immersive mode inside the rooms of illusions and discover, in a virtual journey, many curiosities about the sea and its inhabitants.

“The Milano-Bicocca University exhibition organised by Professor Paolo Galli on the optical illusions and the sea is original, stimulating and fun. Three adjectives that have always been part of the DNA of Focus and it was therefore natural for us to offer our partnership to IllusiOcean.  A partnership that, in addition to narrating and describing the exhibition, allows people to visit the exhibition also virtually on Focus.it,” said the editor of Focus, Raffaele Leone. “It is original because it is the result of an original and creative idea; stimulating because it wants to encourage us to reflect on the wonders of the sea and the need to preserve them; fun because it communicates playfully with the special effects of optical illusions. How could Focus not be there?”

And the experience with “IllusiOcean™” is not limited to the exhibition. Throughout the exhibition period, a rich programme of initiatives promoted by Focus and Focus Junior, the magazine that is a point of reference for kids, has been planned to raise the awareness of readers, teachers and students about the marine world and explore the issues raised by the initiative. Starting from the issue of Focus on newsstands this month, which is entirely dedicated to the importance of water: from the cycle of the sea, the planet’s real liquid engine, to the life of the cetaceans that populate the waters of our peninsula, to the story of the coral clinic in the Maldives, with lots of other special unmissable content.

Every week, on focusjunior.it and the magazine’s social media channels, young people can also find insights and curiosities on the issues raised by the exhibition, but not only. In fact, they can also share photos, articles, ideas and suggestions for looking after the seas and oceans with the editorial team, using the email address focusjunior@focusjunior.it: and the most original content will be published both online and in the magazine. “Children, and young people in general, are worried about climate change and the future of the planet: so, as always, Focus Junior gives voice to their thoughts and ideas,” said Sarah Pozzoli, the editor of Focus Junior.

The exhibition is sponsored by the Società italiana di Ecologia (Italian Society of Ecology) – (S.It.E), the Lombardy Region and the City of Milan.

Marc Chagall: Painting and Poetry

An exhibition dedicated to Marc Chagall, the painter that alongside Picasso and Robert Delaunay inspired so many of the 20th-century’s poets, writers and art critics, opens in Mantua.

The exhibition features 130 pieces in total, including the complete cycle of seven canvases painted by Chagall in 1920 for the auditorium of the Jewish Theatre in Moscow; superb pieces of art that represent the most revolutionary and least nostalgic moment of his artistic career. The canvases represent an exceptional loan from the Tretjakov State Gallery in Moscow and are rarely seen in Italy: they were exhibited in Milan in 1994 and in Rome in 1999 after the 1992 exhibitions at the Guggenheim in New York and at the Art Institute in Chicago in 1993. The exhibition will endeavour to use the seven paintings to recreate the original interior of the auditorium of the Jewish Theatre, a space of 40 square feet for which Chagall created, apart from the paintings, the ceiling decorations, the curtain, the costumes and the sets for three plays.

A selection of signature paintings and watercolours by Marc Chagall from the years 1910-1918 will accompany the immersive setting of the auditorium of the Jewish Theatre, together with a series of etchings made between 1923 and 1939, including the illustrations for Gogol’sDead Souls, for Lafontaine’s Fables and for the Bible.

Marc Chagall come nella Pittura, così nella Poesia (Marc Chagall: Painting and Poetry) will be hosted in the Palazzo della Ragione, a medieval gem decorated with a marvellous cycles of frescoes in the heart of the city, which for centuries was the seat of Mantua’s government.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue published by Electa which explores the artistic and cultural influences that Chagall absorbed by living in Vitebsk, Saint Petersburg, Paris and Moscow and narrates the attraction the Russian painter exerted on poets, artists and writers in the early 20th century through specially-commissioned translations of essays and pieces written by contemporary critics, intellectuals and poets.

Vatican Chapels

In sort of triptych that includes the previous experiences at the Art Biennales of 2013 and 2015, the Holy See takes part for the first time this year in the Venice Architecture Biennale, through the creation of the Vatican Chapels Pavilion curated by Francesco Dal Co.

The project takes its cue from a precise model, the Woodland Chapel built in 1920 by the renowned architect Gunnar Asplund at the Woodland Cemetery in Stockholm, a work featured in an initial exhibition space, illustrated with original drawings of the project.

The theme of the chapel as a place of orientation, encounter, mediation and salutation – as Asplund put it – was suggested to ten architects who were invited to design and build ten chapels in a wooded area at one end of the Venetian island of San Giorgio Maggiore. Therefore this will be a composite, distributed pavilion, visited in stages along an itinerary that is also a spiritual pilgrimage. The chapels created by the architects, thanks to the indispensable support of important contractors and contributors, will be arranged in “an utterly abstract natural setting, marked only by its presence on the lagoon, its openness to the water,” as Dal Co explains, emphasizing the unique, original character of the initiative that has granted the architects complete freedom to design “without any reference to commonly recognized canons.” Inside the chapels, the shared fulcrum and identifying, unifying feature is represented by the presence of the altar and the lectern.

The choice of the invited architects was based on the decision to focus on designers capable of applying different expressive languages, all strong characters from the standpoint of constructive experimentation, belonging to different generations and hailing from Europe, Australia, Japan, the United States and South America, in order to reflect the universal – indeed  “catholic” – nature of the Church.

The architects who have designed the ten chapels and the exhibition space of Vatican chapels are: Andrew Berman (USA), Francesco Cellini (Italy), Javier Corvalàn (Paraguay), Eva Prats and Ricardo Flores (Spain), Norman Foster (UK), Terunobu Fujimori (Japan), Sean Godsell (Australia), Carla Juaçaba (Brazil), Smiljan Radic (Chile), Eduardo Souto de Moura (Portugal), while Francesco Magnani and Traudy Pelzel are the designers of the pavilion that will contain the exhibition of the drawings of Gunnar Asplund for the “Skogskapellet,” the “Woodland Chapel” in Stockholm.

The opening of the Pavilion, with the presence of Cardinal Ravasi, will be on Friday 25 May in the gardens of the Island of San Giorgio in Venice. The Pavilion will remain open to the public from 26 May to 25 November 2018.

The catalogue edited by Francesco Dal Co, with essays by Gianfranco Ravasi, Francesco Dal Co and Elisabetta Molteni, published by Electaarchitettura, will be available from 23 May.

Toulouse-Lautrec: the exhibition in Milan

From 17 October 2017 to 18 February 2018, Palazzo Reale in Milan celebrates Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) in a major exhibition detailing the whole of his artistic career and his extraordinary modernity.

The exhibition, curated by Danièle Devynck (director of the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum in Albi) and Claudia Zevi, is promoted and presented by the Cultural Department of the Milan Municipal Council, Palazzo Reale, Giunti Arte Mostre Musei and Electa, together with the Musée Toulouse-Lautrec in Albi and the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art (INHA) in Paris.

Organised in themed sections, the exhibition helps visitors grasp the full extent of Lautrec’s vision and his role in the history of art as, despite never belonging to any school, he constructed a new, and extremely provocative, realism, a superlative synthesis of colour, shape and movement.

Despite his aristocratic background, Lautrec chronicled the slums and brothels of Paris and here the evolution of his style is traced in each and every phase of his development, in his paintings and his sketches, with a particular emphasis on his profound knowledge of Japanese prints and his passion for photography.

The exhibition comprises over 250 works by Toulouse-Lautrec, with 35 paintings on display, in addition to lithographs, etchings and his complete series of 22 posters, from the Musée Toulouse-Lautrec in Albi, other major museums and international collections and a number of private collections.