Guttuso’s realism and restlessness
“Guttuso: Restless Realism” is the interesting title of a show that opened on September 10th inside the beautiful Quirinal Palace in Rome, and will be on until October 9th 2016.
Curated by Fabio Carapezza Guttuso and Crispino Valenziano, it is supported by the Italian Ministry of Culture, the Vatican Museums, the Guttuso Museum in Bagheria, the Chamber of Deputies, and major private collections.
The show revolves around the religious-inspiration paintings that Renato Guttuso (1911-1986) created throughout his artistic career – the most relevant being the “Crucifixion” the great Sicilian painter depicted between 1940 and 1941.
“I followed a religious inspiration,” he once explained. “I painted it with religious disposition. The face of Jesus was half-hidden by the bar of the cross on the right, his body partially covered by a white shroud, which one Mary used to wipe sweat and blood from the tortured body…”
Guttuso wished to create a strong connection between the “Crucifixion” and the war, aiming to represent “Christ’s agony as a scene from today… as a symbol of all the people who endure insults, imprisonment or torture for their ideas”.
The painting was presented to the public in 1942 on the occasion of the Bergamo Award, and caused scandal and controversy because some clergy considered it blasphemous. Priests were forbidden to look at it!
Over twenty years would pass before the ecclesiastic authorities forgave the artist, but in 1973 Paul VI met with Guttuso, receiving three of his works in donation for the Vatican Museums.