Within the magnificent setting of the recently restored Palazzo Bonaparte, one of the finest buildings in Rome, lies the story of the great Dutch artist, Van Gogh, waiting to be discovered. Join Maria Teresa Benedetti, co-curator of the glorious exhibition (8th October 2022 – 26th March 2023), telling Van Gogh's life story in its entirety, as she reveals fascinating insights into the much admired Impressionist, through the collection of works and self-portraits she has assembled.
Can you share the highlights of this incredible collection of paintings?
These works were chosen from the respected Kröller-Müller Museum, in the Netherlands, to trace the painter's artistic trajectory. We unravel a journey that documents the various moments of his career, starting from the Dutch period and his stay in Paris to the discovery of the South in Arles, Saint Remi, right up to the dramatic conclusion in Auvers-sur-Oise.
In your opinion, what makes Van Gogh’s works so appealing?
The contemporary fascination with Van Gogh lies in his ability to convey passion for simple truths, spiritual values and faith in the possibility of salvation.
How did you select the paintings on display at the exhibition?
We relied on reading Van Gogh’s correspondence with his brother Theo and closest friends. These interactions revealed feelings and values which inspired his technique and style.
We considered his self-portrait, one of over forty painted by him, a self-inquiry into himself and a mirror of a luminous personality.
Benedetti, Maria Teresa
"The contemporary fascination with Van Gogh lies in his ability to convey passion for simple truths"
Is there a particular painting that you were determined to include?
The painting that I find most interesting is his 1889 work, ‘Landscape with wheat sheaves and rising moon’, because its brightness is highly expressive. His use of short white strokes highlights the yellow moon rising from behind the smoky blue Alpine mountains. The artist, known for his admiration of skies, here contemplates nature while jubilantly expanding its vital energy between the wheat and sky.
Are certain themes explored through the exhibition?
What binds all the artist's works is a profound investigation of reality, "reinvented" as the English artist Francis Bacon acutely affirmed. Van Gogh’s investigation into the mysteries of the universe and realms of reality has extended across this career and through his exhibition we delve deeper into this inquiry.
What do you hope guests will experience from your Van Gogh exhibition?
Visitors will meet a very rich and suffering personality that analyses the destiny of man with love, illuminated by the hope of redemption. His trust in the ability of art to exorcise pain makes it impossible not to grasp the deep awareness of the complexities of human existence.
The image of the old man who suffers is repeated in that of the ‘Sorrowing old Man (at the gates of eternity)’. We have placed one at the beginning and the other at the end of the exhibition to allow viewers to dig deeper into the artist's portrayal of sorrow and intense human emotion.
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