THE SHAPE OF BEAUTY
“Luciano Regoli and the School of Elba”
Exhibition curated by Sara Mammana, Roggero Roggeri
under the auspices of Municipality of Pienza and UNESCO
Palazzo Salomone Piccolomini, Pienza
2 June - 24 June 2018
Vernissage 2 June 2018, 11 am
Sala Consiliare, Municipality of Pienza
Exhibition promoted by
Cultural Association “Biagiotti for Art”
Press Agency Studio ESSECI
“Finally we managed to kill it.
Good job, everyone.
All together we have succeeded in doing to
at least 500 years of art history,
what one would have never supposed. [...]
[…] How did it happen?
How could it happen
that the most genuine expression of the relationship
between the feelings of nature and Humanity,
which translates it, has been diluted in the twentieth century
to the oblivion of everything concerning painting?”
It is with these bitter but truthful words that the painter and protagonist, Luciano Regoli, together with some of his students, of the second edition of the exhibition “The Shape of Beauty”, opens his own book entitled 5000 km to See an Ear: The Death of Great Painting, programmatic writing in which the artist advances an acute analysis and an in-depth reflection on the role and meaning of figurative painting through the centuries, to the sad realization that too often in the contemporary context, this form of art is silenced by the apparently inexorable progression of the new expressive languages that the twentieth century has produced.
Fortunately, however, the end of Great Painting, denounced by Regoli, has not yet fully occurred. One wonders what still makes today’s classical pictorial tradition alive and current, and why in happy and rare situations, as in the School of Valle di Lazzaro, strongly led by the Artist, there still exist painters who, with an alternative to various types of contemporary art, still seek, through the form’s harmony and the effort of learning ancient techniques, this indispensable medium of expression in order to generate an art not obsolete but absolutely in step with the times.
It is interesting to note how, in fact, the pictorial experience, if properly understood, is an action of substantial research of Truth that unites every sphere of existence. Since the beginning, Humanity has always tried, by relating itself to the mystery of nature and its own being, empirically or metaphysically, to fill that thirst for knowledge which is able to mitigate and put a stop to that sense of existential vertigo caused by the Infinite that resides in Humanity itself.
Painting and art, therefore, in the broadest sense, have been and are, in fact, a very complex way of capturing and touching, even in fleeting execution, the deepest mystery of existence, at a time when the artist’s creative genius, by abandoning the heaviness of his own Ego, freely opens up to the profound understanding of reality and can translate it, by superfine technique and means, into a new language that is a perfect synthesis of appearance and substance. It is this intimate union that makes a painting or a sculpture a work of art and not simply a masterfully executed mimesis of the subject itself; in other words, it is the intimate, and now rare, capacity of the “artist-seer” to be able to look beyond the mere surface of things and to draw the true essence that can make a work a masterpiece that lasts in time.
Unfortunately, sick progressivism in the modern world, born from the frenzy of technological development and the spread of a voracious consumerist perspective dictated by industrial capitalism, has generated a humanity that is increasingly unable to stop, to understand, and to analyze the deep identity of its own existence. After thousands of years, never before has it been more difficult to put into practice the Socratic motto: “Know yourself ”.
“Man does not live only in the relationship to the thinks he needs, or with other men, but also in virtue of the relationship with himself ”. Self-awareness is, therefore, a necessary condition to pursue Truth and to avoid falling into the fertile soil of ignorance, prejudice, gross beliefs, and worthless slogans.
As if gripped by a widespread stupor, humanity, and therefore many artists in today’s world, confuse appearance, which is limited only to the surface of things, with substance, and they offer ephemeral answers that remain incapable of making our life experiences authentic. We firmly believe that, faced with the spread of hypocrisy and mere appearance, the search for what is authentic, and therefore therapeutic for the human soul, must be promoted, supported, and encouraged in order to counter the incessant spread of a nihilist and relativist culture. Artists, and therefore the art produced by them, cannot lose their own maieutic function as an essential medium to bring humanity closer to its own conscience and, therefore,
For these reasons, we are extremely pleased to host the exhibition of the artworks by Luciano Regoli and the school he founded on the island of Elba, the Valle di Lazzaro School, which takes its name from the homonymous town that rises in an inland area of the island and is characterized by a wild and uncontaminated nature. A sort of hermitage in which the Artist, after having received acclaim both in Italy and abroad, took refuge at the end of the 1980s during a period of particular existential and creative travail.
On this island, a place that also assumes a strong symbolic meaning, he gradually found, treading a deep path of inner knowledge, the true meaning of his art that he believed had been lost. After years of struggle and lacerating misunderstandings towards new creative trends, all devoted to the arrogant denial of our great figurative tradition and to the damnatio memoriae of that very fine technique, he found it essential to face, with some chance of success, the virtuous path traced by the great artists who illuminated our glorious past. He was initially alone, but gradually and spontaneously over the years, numerous young artists and aspiring painters from all over the world joined him, inescapably attracted by the figurative language of Regoli, who became the teacher they had sought, up until then, in vain.
The idea for this exhibition was conceived to pay homage to artists like Regoli, who, by standing firm despite the great difficulties encountered, have never surrendered to rampant conformism nor given up their faith that the artist, after a proper path of introspection and exhaustive technical study, has to be able to become a sublime link between the visible world and our spirituality. Together with the Biagiotti for Art Cultural Association, we are absolutely certain that people who love to get excited and draw energy and inspiration from “beautiful painting” are not just a few. Indeed, they are more and more numerous, yet often overwhelmed by modernist theses, they are silent and almost ashamed of their tastes, waiting for someone perhaps more courageous than they to challenge the rampant conformism and its aligned critics, reaffirming strongly, to general amazement, that the rebirth of figurative art is not only possible but also absolutely necessary.
Luciano Regoli and his pupils represent a small, glorious group of men and women who have dared, in the name and defense of our extraordinary pictorial tradition, to challenge the modernism that overwhelms and annihilates with the dull strength of its dogmas, dragging with it what little that now remains of our humanity. As citizens who have the privilege of living in Pienza, a place that more than any other represents the perfect synthesis between the grandeur of a past and a future that, if it wants to be livable, must not lose sight of its solid classical foundations, we gratefully thank all of you. Now, in conclusion and aware of the vital importance of always fighting for our own ideas regardless of the outcome of the battle, we allow ourselves to dedicate to our daring artists the beautiful verses of Rostand, who has Cyrano say:
“Are you a thousand? Ah! I recognize you, all my old enemies! Lying? Compromises, Prejudices, Cowardice! Shall I make a compact? Never, never! Ah! There you are too, Folly! I know that at last you will put me down; no matter, I fight! I fight! I fight!”.