As far as I can judge, I am not a real fool.
(Vincent Van Gogh)
From 8th October 2022, Palazzo Bonaparte (Rome) hosts the most awaited exhibition of the year dedicated to Van Gogh’s genius, for 170 years since his birth through fifty works from the prestigious Kröller Müller Museum in Otterlo. His most famous works - including his famous self-portrait (1887) - reconstruct the human and artistic story and celebrate his universal greatness.
Palazzo Bonaparte, a few steps from Piazza Venezia in Rome, is a place full of stories. After having witnessed for many years the greatness of Rome and is the protagonist of careful restoration, the Palace has returned to be part of the history of the community and it is with this spirit that it has reopened its doors, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Vincent van Gogh. Genius and artist "out of the box", often defined as "crazy" but the truth that emerges, instead, is that of a fragile soul, often so sensitive and delicate not to be understood.
Vincent’s life has been marked since his youth by disappointment, rejection, and abandonment, thus leading him to the constant search for pure feelings, friendship, and love. After the break with the preacher’s father: the reverend Theodorus van Gogh who considers his son excessive and fanatical in his faith, at twenty-six he leaves the Borinage where he was a volunteer catechist among the miners and returns to live in Nuenen, returning to his mother and sisters, devoting himself completely to painting through scenes of peasant life, chromatic explosions, and subjects, so dear to the painter.
Van Gogh is a much-loved artist who had little luck in life but has enormously interested and influenced later intellectuals and artists, from German expressionists to Munch, to Bacon, who read the collection of correspondence with his brother Theo. The eccentric Artaud, treated for nervous diseases, after a visit to the Paris Museum of the Orangerie on Sunday, February 2nd, 1947, decided to dedicate a text to Van Gogh, attributed great importance to the Wheat Field with Crows (1890) he considered the painter’s last work before suicide. The passionate critic discovered in the artist’s production a close connection with his intentions and values, fundamental for the identification of a character that can be summed up in this sentence:
No one has ever written or painted, carved, modeled [...] except to get out of hell.
According to the actor’s thesis, the painter did not kill himself in the throes of his delirium but was simply and dramatically a victim of society. An "organized crime" set in motion against those who wanted to be "different", an accusation against the conformist society of the time that Artaud believes is the only one responsible for Vincent’s death. The graphologist and art historian Rita Fiorentini, in the book "Van Gogh and his letters: Vincent’s secrets between art and graphology" explains that the graphological aspect was an extraordinary journey for her and that it led her to reflect on what she instinctively always thought that Vincent was not so "crazy".
There were paths through which images, words, and life intertwined and from which it emerged how Vincent saw things, what tormented him, what he read, what his dreams were.
(Rita Fiorentini, the doctor in an interview released to us)
We know that Van Gogh wrote and painted with care, choosing the most suitable threads, as weavers that he loved and also painted. Through the identification and analysis of these threads, we tried in some way to put them back together, using different tools of the two fields of investigation, the graphological and the artistic.
The various works, divided into five sections and presented in chronological order, together with the rich biographical notes that accompany them, go to reconstruct the various phases of the intense career of the Dutch painter. The exhibition -whose preparatory work lasted five years - was produced and organized by Arthemisia and curated by Maria Teresa Benedetti and Francesca Villanti and will be open until July 5th, 2023.