Forlì: in the San Domenico Museums the most impressive exhibition celebrating the 700 years since the death of Dante
More than 300 artworks from the 13th to the 20th century. A path that brings us to Michelangelo, Tintoretto, Guido Reni, Casorati, Boccioni and Fontana, among others
Seven hundred years since Dante’s death. Poetry calls, Italy responds.
Not only Florence, but also Verona, Forlì and Ravenna, symbolic places in Dante’s biography, vibrate in unison in an extraordinary collective celebration of the myth of Dante Alighieri. In Florence and Ravenna, which were the cradle and tomb of the poet, we find magnificent paths of critical reinterpretation, but Forlì is the great protagonist this year, with the most important exhibition: “Dante. The vision of art”, set up in the San Domenico Museums until July 11, 2021.
A choice that expresses the desire to enhance a city that is as Dantesque as the others: geographically strategic, halfway between Florence and Ravenna, and familiar because it often welcomed the poet in flight from 1301. “Dante. The vision of art” is a monumental exhibition project born from an idea of Eike Schmidt, director of the Uffizi Galleries, and Gianfranco Brunelli, director of the Fondazione Cassa dei Risparmi di Forlì, supported by the brilliant curatorship of Fernando Mazzocca and Antonio Paolucci. The power of allegory in the poetic language of Dante and in figurative art is the fil rouge of the exhibition which brings together about 300 works including paintings, sculptures, drawings, illustrations and manuscripts selected over a period of time ranging from the year ‘200 to the year ‘900.
Artists such as Cimabue, Giotto, Beato Angelico and then Michelangelo, Lotto, Tintoretto, Guido Reni and Andrea del Castagno alternate with the great nineteenth-century painting of Ingres, Pre-Raphaelites and Macchiaioli, up to the avant-garde of the ‘900’s with Picasso, Casorati, Fontana, Boccioni. The 18 sections that punctuate the exhibition vary from the depiction of passages from the Divine Comedy, or of single characters and episodes from Dante’s mythology, to themes dear to Dante, first and foremost love and religion as the driving forces of his entire work. Thus, at the beginning we find some famous Final Judgements, from Beato Angelico to Guido Da Siena, while to the coeval masters of the Gothic Dante dedicates some verses in the XI canto of the Purgatory: “Credette Cimabue ne la pittura/tener lo campo, e ora Giotto ha il grido,/si che la fama di colui è scura”.
The portrait of the supreme By Henry James Holiday shows his typical harshly characterizing physiognomy, and to Nicola Monti is due The meeting of Paolo and Francesca which has become a model for future artworks and taken up in 800 by Ary Scheffer. Elsewhere, the Pre-Raphaelite painting of Dante Gabriel Rossetti captures the greeting of Beatrice, a key figure and metaphor of the spiritual path that accompanied Dante throughout his life, from the “Vita Nuova” to the “Convivio” and the “Divina Commedia”, finally sublimating itself in the achievement of the beatitude of God: “Veramente a così alto sospetto non ti fermar, se quella nol ti dice che lume fia tra ‘l vero e lo ‘ntelletto./Non so se ‘ntendi: io dico di Beatrice.”