(IN)CROCI AL MUSEO LIA
La passione di Cristo secondo Giovanni Testori
Curated by Davide Dall’Ombra and Andrea Marmori
In collaboration with Associazione Giovanni Testori
Museo Civico “Amedeo Lia”, La Spezia
25 March – 27 May 2018
AN UNEXPECTED GUEST
Giovanni Testori (1923-1993) would have been madly in love with the Museo Lia. And not only because these walls contain works by some of the artists he loved most as an art critic: from Vincenzo Foppa to Giacomo Ceruti.
He would have loved it because this museum tells the story of one of the great European collectors of the last century, restoring its physiognomy. The writer would certainly have dedicated fiery words to it in the pages of the “Corriere della Sera”, in which he edited the page dedicated to art for almost twenty years.
Testori was also a voracious, restless and dilapidated collector: he lived on paintings and there are countless works of ancient and modern art that passed through his hands. It is not surprising to see some of them again in these rooms in La Spezia, where they may have come through the gallery owner Bruno Lorenzelli or the critic Federico Zeri.
But Giovanni Testori was one of the most versatile and important intellectuals of the Italian twentieth century, and his unconditional love for painting led him to personally try his hand at artistic creation, becoming a painter of significant achievements that have been rediscovered in recent years.
In this exhibition, 25 years after his death, we have chosen to investigate a central theme of his production: the Cross and the Crucifixion, two of the most common subjects in the history of Western art, with numerous occurrences in the Museo Lia, and investigated by Testori throughout his life: as a playwright, poet and, indeed, painter.
Visitors will find two cycles of paintings and drawings, made in the 1940s and 1980s, more than thirty years apart, presented here in their entirety and together for the first time, to create an unprecedented dialogue with the Museum’s Crosses: from Lippo di Benivient to the medieval goldsmiths of Limoges.
Realized for the twenty-fifth anniversary of Giovanni Testori’s death, the exhibition “(In)Croci al Museo Lia” proposed an interesting dialogue between the works of the critic-painter and the museum’s permanent collection.
A cycle of Testori’s Crucifixions, created in the 1980s, stood side by side with ancient painted Crucifixions and goldsmith’s products from the Amedeo Lia collection in La Spezia.
Amedeo Lia was one of the greatest collectors of fourteenth-century Italian painting, thanks to the guidance and supervision of the critic Federico Zeri. These precious panels are called to an unexpected confrontation with Testori’s all-twentieth-century approach. The compositional calm is questioned by the upset and restless sign of Testori’s pastels.