Renato Guttuso: pictor diabolicus, “devilish painter”?

Κυριακή, 29 Δεκεμβρίου, 2013

Self-portrait, 1936

Self-portrait, 1936

I was introduced to the work of Renato Guttuso back in 1996, when Whitechapel Gallery in London exhibited some of his paintings.

Today I pay tribute to the great realist painter, whose vibrant colors remind me of the Mediterranean, the Sea, the Countryside, the smells and the tastes.

Crucifixion, 1941

Crucifixion, 1941

Crucifixion was the painting that led the Vatican to declare that Guttoso was a pictor diabolicus, a devilish painter.

Crucifixion - detail

Crucifixion – detail

The naked Mary Magdalen leans on the crucified Jesus.

Only the Holy Mother is dressed in her blue gown.

Crucifixion - Guard

Crucifixion – Guard

The Roman guards are riding their horses naked.

The influence of cubism is felt all over the landscape and the almost sculptural bodies.

Landscape with Lovers (pastel on paper);Guttuso, Renato ;pastel on paper;600 X 419;Estorick Collection, London

Landscape with Lovers (pastel on paper);Guttuso, Renato; pastel on paper; 600 X 419;Estorick Collection, London

The “Landscape with lovers” is another type of landscape. Guttuso here is almost poetical. And I like this more than the loaded and symbolic and rebellious “Crucifixion”.

The market of Vucciria in Palermo is one of the most colorful places on this Earth. Guttuso painted it in a glorious way.

La Vucciria, 1974

La Vucciria, 1974

“The Vucciria market, Guttuso said, was one of his first discoveries when he moved to Palermo as a student in the early 1930s. “When I began to paint, among my first subjects were those colors, those planes of light.” But his great painting of the market was not done until 1974, when he was living in Varese, Lombardy, “under the pallid light of the north.” He said the picture was “a great still life” imbued with all the noise, the energy and the violence of “the markets of poor countries.” In order to paint from life, Guttuso had an agent ship him the eggs, the cardoons, the tuna, by air from Palermo to Milan. He then persuaded a local butcher to loan him a side of beef  “for no more than two hours” so he could sketch it into the composition. The minutes ticked by, and then the hours. The butcher was counting how long his beef would survive without refrigeration.  Guttuso, meanwhile, was molding those ribs and haunches into his most powerful memento mori.” (1)

La Vucciria - detail

La Vucciria – detail

The curves of a Sicilian woman blend with the cuts of swordfish.

La Vucciria - detail

La Vucciria – detail

The beef carcass demands respect, next to the feeble rabbit.

La Vucciria - detail

La Vucciria – detail

Cheese and cured meets are plentiful.

This is why I consider Guttoso primarily a painter of the Senses. Looking into these details one cannot help but sense with her whole existence the magnificence of the goods of the market and the  pleasure of being alive.

Woman

Portrait of Mimise with Red Hat, 1940

You smell the rose, you sense the presence of Mimise, even though she is looking down. The sensual overflows and overpowers everything else. Guttuso does this almost magical transformation by using colors as he has perceived them since he was born in 1912 in  in Bagheria, near Palermo (Sicily).

Guttuso was a communist, and a member of the Italian Communist Party (PCI).

Guttoso painting "Telephones" - Image ReferenceSCF1973001W00002/15(PAR378338)© Ferdinando Scianna/Magnum Photos

Guttoso painting “Telephones” – Image ReferenceSCF1973001W00002/15(PAR378338)© Ferdinando Scianna/Magnum Photos

He was aware of the impact of technology on everyday life, and he painted it in his own unique way.

Telephones 1982

Telephones, 1980

In 1946 with Birolli, Vedova, Morlotti, Turcato and others formed the group Fronte Nuovo delle Arti. Made frequent visits to Paris to study modern French art and for a time was influenced by Picasso. Many of his works have been inspired by the poverty and struggles of the Sicilian peasantry. His later works also include large paintings of the student riots in Paris in May 1968, the funeral of the Italian Communist leader Togliatti. (2) 

Santa Panagia (Sicily) 1956 by Renato Guttuso 1912-1987

Santa Panagia (Sicily) 1956 by Renato Guttuso 1912-1987

I close this short tribute with another landscape painting. Santa Panagia, in Sicily. “Viale Santa Panagia is a street which runs through the ancient Greek quarters of Tyche and Akradina in Siracusa, a Sicilian city that Guttuso was fond of and visited frequently in the 1950s.” (Tate Gallery).

Sources

1. Renato Guttuso: Frederika Randall reviews exhibit at the Vittoriano

2. Renato Guttuso. Artist Biography. Tate Gallery.

3. Guttuso. Thams and Hudson. 1996.

Lyobov Popova: Sketch for a portrait

Introduction

For the moment (and God knows how much it pains me), I have died already twice, but the first time was a mistake, and the second—well, you may read for yourself . . .

Luigi Pirandello, Forward to The Late Mattia Pascal

So, then, man is but a disguise, a lie and hypocrisy, both in himself and in regard to others. He will not have the truth told him, he avoids telling it to others, and all this disposition, so far removed from justice and reason, is rooted by nature in his heart.

Blaise Pascal, Pensees

(both quotations are sourced from Ed Mendelowitz’s article)

Giorgio de Chirico: Portrait prémonitoire de Guillaume Apollinaire.

This is a story about the late Mattia Pascal, the hero in Luigi Pirandello’s 1904 novel, Il fu Mattia Pascal (The late Mattia Pascal)..

Through a movie made by Bernard L’ Herbier in 1925, Mattia assumed another identity (and life) as one of the alter egos of the Greek poet and Nobel Laureate, George Seferis.

In this post I will present Pirandello’s novel, hoping to continue in the future with Seferis’ alter ego.

The Author

Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936) was born in Agrigento, Sicily, the son of a rich mining contractor.

Having studied at the universities of Palermo and Rome and taken a degree in philology at Bonn, the young Pirandello turned to writing poetry and stories, achieving his first literary success in 1904 with his novel The Late Mattia Pascal. 

During World War I, Pirandello began to write for the stage, winning an international following with plays such as Six Characters in Search of an Author (1921) and Henry IV (1922).

In 1934, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. Pirandello was the author of novels, essays, stories, and more than fifty plays, as well as an influence on writers as different as Eugène Ionesco and T.S.Eliot.

Pine tree with Pirandello’s grave

Commenting on his work in 1920 Pirandello wrote:

I think that life is a very sad piece of buffoonery; because we have in ourselves, without being able to know why, wherefore or whence, the need to deceive ourselves constantly by creating a reality (one for each and never the same for all), which from time to time is discovered to be vain and illusory….

My art is full of bitter compassion for all those who deceive themselves; but this compassion cannot fail to be followed by the ferocious derision of destiny which condemns man to deception.

Pirandello Museum

The Novel

The story

Mattia Pascal endures a life of drudgery in a provincial town.

Then, providentially, he discovers that he has been declared dead.

Realizing he has a chance to start over, to do it right this time, he moves to a new city, adopts a new name, and a new course of life—only to find that this new existence is as insufferable as the old one.

But when he returns to the world he left behind, it’s too late: his job is gone, his wife has remarried.

Mattia Pascal’s fate is to live on as the ghost of the man he was.

Francis Bacon: Study after Velazquez

Pirandello on personal identity

…So personal identity is also perception and interpretation, it is a mask, a construction.

And as ernerges from Pirandello’s work, either we play along, or we are out o f the game, i.e. society.

The authentic identity is an illusion; identity is fiction.

Luigi Pirandello

This means that we are always playing roles, with the onIy distinction being between those people who do it unconsciously and those who are aware of their condition.

The resulting character, in Pirandello, is one that is more or less conscious of the fragmentation of the self.

The protagonist usuaily suffers fiom the awareness of this fragmentation whereas the secondary characters generally perceive themselves as unified subjects.

(from Rachel Remington’s thesis)

Masks of No Theater

Pirandello and Heidegger

.…It’s difficult not to be stunned and impressed by the wisdom of Pirandello who had been employing these concepts in his art from his very first novel. But within the genre of novels, it was with Mattia Pascal that Pirandello inaugurated the series of personages to whom he would assign the arduous task of searching for their own authenticity in this Heideggerian sense. But upon the emptiness left by his presumed death, in fact, Mattia quickly reconstructs another persona which, only apparently different from the first, in reality represents its grotesque double. Mattia’s voyages, without any precise destination or practical utility, can seem like the modern transcription of the great romantic theme of vagabondage.

(Source: Wikipedia on Pirandello)

… Pirandello’s play (Cosi e) enacts a post-modern model of truth, which is characterized as an event, an arriving withdrawal, and as a particular affective relationship to that event. The event occurs in ec-static moments that open up the possibility for decisive action, and for the freedom to constitute a new order of life, what Martin Heidegger would call, a new way of being-in-the-world.

Pirandello shares with most existentialists the urgency of criticizing conventional (unauthentic) society…. But where Pirandello’s development of the existentialism problematic stands out is in the affinity between it and Heideggerian phenomenology. His likeness to Heidegger in describing the modalities of the solitary self (the losing of the self in the they) and the process by which the self relinquishes its central position as the subject of representation is … striking.

…Both for Pirandello and Heidegger, the truth of being-there is mysterious because truth is always intertwined with the concealment of truth’s withdrawal.

(Source: Anthony Petruzzi’s article)

Feu Mathias Pascal

Feu Mathias Pascal – The late Mathias Pascal (1925)

Since seeing a Paris production of Pirandello’s play Sei personnaggi in cerca d’autore, L’Herbier had been eager to collaborate with the author on a film of one of his work’s, but hitherto Pirandello had been unwilling to give permission for any adaptations because he would not accept the compromises that were asked of him.

When however a proposal was put to him on L’Herbier’s behalf to film his novel Il fu Mattia Pascal, he was sufficiently impressed by the film-maker’s earlier work to give his enthusiastic agreement.

It was after watching this movie that George Seferis adopted Mattia as one of his alter egos.

But this is the topic od another article, to come in the near (unknown) future.

Meat Rolls with Eggplants and Sudjuk

Παρασκευή, 30 Απριλίου, 2010

As the crisis in Greece deepens, and the country becomes more and more indebted and troubled, I dig deep in the treasure box of the Mediterranean, to uncover and (re)create dishes that build on the flavors of the area, the terroir as the French call it. Greece is in tucked in the middle between Italy and Turkey. the same applies to today’s dish,  meat rolls with sudjuk. It is a dish that combines the flavors of the Mediterranean with the ones of Minor Asia. The meat rolls are Mediterranean, the eggplants are in the middle, and the glorious sudjuk is the gem of Minor Asia.

The filling is based on the Sicilian cuisine. Pine kernels, raisins, breadcrumbs, some parsley and coriander. My Greek  touch is to add strained yogurt.

The meat can be pork of beef, in this instance I used pork, the cuts that butchers in Greece sell for “Schnitzel”. I cut smoked bacon very thin, added on top of it the filling and roll the meat adding a toothpick so that the ends do not come apart.

Once all the rolls are ready, I give them some color in a big saucepan and then cover them with tomato sauce and cover. After 20 minutes they are ready to serve.

In another pan, I have sliced eggplants simmering in tomato sauce. They are the partners of the rolls.

Finally, the sudjuk is resting on a tomato slice, covered with a yellow cheese, as hard as possible. I grill it for five minutes and it is ready (as the intensity of the grill may vary, the sure sign that it is done is that the cheese has completely melted and the tomato is soft).

Serve the rolls sliced and enjoy with a moderately bodied red wine.

Cappella Palatina, Palazzo Reale – Palermo Sicilia II

Κυριακή, 26 Οκτωβρίου, 2008

Συνεχιζω σημερα την αφιερωση στο Παλερμο με μια συντομη περιηγηση στην Cappella Palatina, στο Palazzo Reale.

Ειναι ενας μικρος ναος μεσα στο παλατι των Νορμανδων Βασιλεων της Σικελιας, και χτιστηκε στον 12ο αιωνα. 

 

Αποψη του εσωτερικου του ναου

Αποψη του εσωτερικου του ναου

Ο ναος ακτινοβολει και υποβαλει! Τα μωσαικα του αποτελουν μοναδικα σωζομενα μνημεια βυζαντινης τεχνης του 12ου αιωνα, και για μενα ειναι πολυ πιο ωριμα σαν εκφραση απο εκεινα της Ραβεννα.

 

Αποψη του εσωτερικου του ναου

Αποψη του εσωτερικου του ναου

Το φως στο εσωτερικο του ναου ειναι κατι το μοναδικό! Δεν μπορουσα να καταλαβω τι εννοουσαν οι ιστορικοι της τεχνης οταν ελεγαν οτι οι βυζαντινοι χρησιμοποιουσαν το χρυσο σαν μπακγκραουντ για να πετυχαινουν τον φωτισμο. Μολις μπηκα σε αυτην την εκκλησια το καταλαβα!

Οι ψηφιδες που χρησιμοποιησαν οι εμπειροι βυζαντινοι τεχνιτες αντανακλουν το φως με τετοιο τροπο που αισθανεσαι οτι βρισκεσαι στην πιο μεγαλοπρεπη τελετη του κοσμου!

 

Το μπαλκονι των Βασιλεων

Το μπαλκονι των Βασιλεων

 Το μεγαλοπρεπο μπαλκονι απο οπου οι Βασιλεις παρακολουθουσαν τις λειτουργιες και τις εορταστικες εκδηλωσεις.

 

 

 

Παντοκρατωρ μετα Αγγελων

Παντοκρατωρ μετα Αγγελων

Μεσα στο ναο υπαρχουν επιγραφες στα βυζαντινα και στα λατινικα. Ο Παντοκρατωρ εχει βυζαντινες επιγραφες και θεωρειται εργο βυζαντινων τεχνιτων.

 

Κολωνα - Λεπτομερεια

Κολωνα - Λεπτομερεια

Στη λεπτομερεια μπορειτε να δειτε πως οι ψηφιδες αντανακλουν το φως, οπως επισης και την συνυπαρξη διαφορετικων ρυθμων.

 

Απο το εξωτερικο του ναου

Απο το εξωτερικο του ναου

Και το εξωτερικο του ναου ειναι υπερλαμπρο. Εδω βλεπετε λατινικες επιγραφες, που παραπεμπουν σε ντοπιους τεχνιτες που εμαθαν απο τους βυζαντινους.

 

Παντοκρατωρ

Παντοκρατωρ

Κλεινω αυτη τη συντομη αναφορα με τον Παντοκρατορα, λουσμενο στο υπερλαμπρο χρυσαφενιο φως.

Ποιος το περιμενε οτι στο Παλερμο της Σικελιας θα βρισκονται μερικα απο τα πιο σημαντικα αριστουργηματα βυζαντινων μωσαικων στον κοσμο! Επεται συνεχεια!

Palermo, Sicilia Ι

Σάββατο, 25 Οκτωβρίου, 2008

Ο υπαιτιος πάντα εχει μια υπαίτια!

Ετσι κι εγω ανασυρω απο το ντουλαπι του χρονου αναμνησεις απο επισκεψη μου στο Παλερμο.

Επειδη ειμαι υπαιτιος, θα ακολουθησω την υπαιτια και θα κανω κι εγω δυο μερη, το πρωτο θα ειναι η πολη. Θα σας παω σιγα και χαλαρα στην αρχη μια βολτα σε διαφορα αξιοθεατα να παρετε μια γευση, και μετα θα παμε να φαμε ως Χριστιανοι και Ορθοδοξοι.

Polytheama

Polytheama

Στο κεντρο της πόλης το κτηριο αυτο αποτελει χωρο πολιτιστικων εκδηλωσεων. 

Καθεδρικος Ναος

Καθεδρικος Ναος

Επιβλητικος ο Καθεδρικος Ναος.

Καθεδρικος Ναος

Καθεδρικος Ναος

Στο συμπλεγμα του Καθεδρικου Ναου και το αγαλμα ενος Καρδιναλιου.

Πυργος στην Πυλη

Πυργος στην Πυλη

Μεγαλοπρεπος Πυργος στην κυρια Πυλη της Πόλης.

Piazza Bellini

Piazza Bellini

Η πιατσα Μπελινι με το συντριβανι, τα αγαλματα, μια οπτικη οαση μεσα στην πολυασχολη πολη.

Αγιος Ιωαννης

Αγιος Ιωαννης

Το μοναστηρι του Αγιου Ιωαννη των Ερημιτων, απο τις αρχες του 12ου αιωνα, με εκδηλες τις αραβικες επιδρασεις.

Μιγμα αρχιτεκτονικο

Μιγμα αρχιτεκτονικο

Αφηνοντας το μνημειακο μεγαλοπρεπες μερος της πολης, βλεπουμε γυρω ενα μιγμα αρχιτεκτονικων ρυθμων που παραπεμπει στην ιστορια του νησιου και της πολης.

Υπαιθρια πωλητρια

Υπαιθρια πωλητρια

Ολα αυτα τα ροζ ειναι τα χρωματα της τοπικης ποδοσφαιρικης ομαδας.

Υπαιθριος πωλητης

Υπαιθριος πωλητης

Το υπαιθριο χαρακτηριζει τη ζωη της πολης, που εκτεθειμενη στους ανηλεεις νοτιαδες ειναι παντα σχεδον ζεστη και υγρη.

Μπαλκονι στην παληα πολη

Μπαλκονι στην παληα πολη

Η παληα πολη του Παλερμο ειναι μια ομορφη γηρασκουσα γυναικα που ειναι φτωχη αλλα περηφανη.

Πωλητης Υποδηματων

Πωλητης Υποδηματων

Υπεροχες πλακοστρωτες πλατειες με “”παλάτσι”, οπου ακομη και ο πωλητης υποδηματων παιρνει αλλη διασταση.

Καποτε θα συντηρηθουν σωστα αυτα τα υπεροχα κτισματα.

 

Χαρουμενο κτηριο

Χαρουμενο κτηριο

Στη νεα πολη, εκει που μενουνε οι μεσοαστοι.

Ο πιο πιστος φιλος του ανθρωπου

Ο πιο πιστος φιλος του ανθρωπου

Η περιοχη ειναι ασφαλης και φιλοξενει και αστεγους.

Παλαιοπωλειο επι τροχων

Παλαιοπωλειο επι τροχων

Πενια τεχνας κατεργαζεται.

Ιχθυοπωλειο στη Βουτσιρια

Ιχθυοπωλειο στη Βουτσιρια

Μεσα σε κατι στενα δρομακια αναπτυσσεται η αγορα της Βουτσιρια, η πιο γνωστη αγορα της πολης.

Ανθρωπος και Ιχθυς

Ανθρωπος και Ιχθυς

Ο τονος ειναι το κυριαρχο ψαρι, με το υπεροχο ρουμπινι χρωμα του να σε κανει να θελεις να τον γευθεις ωμο!

Μαναβικο στη Βουτσιρια

Μαναβικο στη Βουτσιρια

Λαχταριστα φρεσκα λαχανικα και φρουτα στη Βουτσιρια. Και, ω του θαυματος, κανενας τουριστας!

Μετα απο ολα αυτα ειναι αναποφευκτη η καταληξη σε εκλεκτο ταβερνειο για αναπληρωση δυναμεων!

Η ταβερνα “Piccolo Napoli” ειναι κοντα στα ντοκια της πολης, και σερβιρει ντοπιους και ολιγους ξενους που το βρισκουν. Το εχει μια υπεροχη οικογενεια, ο δε μαγειρας ειναι ενα Αυστριακο παλληκαρι που ηρθε στο Παλερμο για τουρισμο, γνωρισε μια μαυρομματα και ειδε αλλιως το νοημα της ζωης!

Αγκιναρες σαλατα

Αγκιναρες σαλατα

Ολιγον βρασμενες, γεματες ευωδιες και αρωματα, με υφη που παραπεμπει σε παχυρρευστο μελι.

 

Εμβαπτισθεις οκταπους

Εμβαπτισθεις οκταπους

Ο οκταπους ενεβαπτισθη εις βραζον υδωρ επι δυο λεπτα χωρις οιονδηποτε καθαρισμο, με ολες τις ουσιες και σερβιριστηκε!

Εβρωθη παραυτα, καθως τα “ακαθαρτα” του ησαν ευωδιαστα, ιωδιο και χορταρακια, η δε σαρκα του σαν λουκουμακι.

Αχνιστα και καταμαυρα

Αχνιστα και καταμαυρα

Ακολουθησαν τα αχνιστα και καταμαυρα σπαγγετι με το μελανι της σουπιας! Ενα πιατο που ευλογει τα σωθικα, αυτο το μελανι (που ειναι αφθονο) ειναι το ελιξηριο της ζωης!

Ρολλο με ψαρι

Ρολλο με ψαρι

Στη συνεχεια ο μαιτρ εφερε ρολλο με ψαρι, που ηταν νοστιμωτατο, αλλα ομολογω οτι μετα τα μαυρα και αχνιστα οι αισθησεις ειχαν ολιγον ναρκωθει! Κι ετσι δεν συγκρατησα ουτε το ονομα του ψαριου απο το συμπαθες αλλα ουχι αξιομνημνημονευτο πιατο.

Το ξυπνητηρι χτυπησε μολις πλησιασε το ραγου με τονο.

Ραγου με τονο

Ραγου με τονο

Η υπεροχη σαρκα του τονου σε ευθεια αντιπαραθεση με την αγερωχη οξυτητα της ντοματας απο τη σικελικη γη!

Η πανδαισια ολοκληρωθηκε με το γλυκο “κασατα” απο το φημισμενο ζαχαροπλαστειο “Οσκαρ” αλλα οταν ηρθε το γλυκο δεν μπορουσα να σηκωσω το χερι μου να το φαω, ποσο μαλλον να τραβηξω φωτοφραφια!

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