Mantua: Raffaello, Biggi and Mariani at Palazzo Ducale. At the Gonzaga court

Parallel to the exhibition dedicated to the renaissance master's tapestries, on display two main artists of xx-century

The ancient splendour of the Gonzaga court is revived in Palazzo Ducale in Mantua with three separate exhibitions. This autumn, a cultural Grande Bouffe awaits visitors. Thanks to a happy contingency, in addition to the beauty of the palace, which is already worth the trip, with one ticket, you can visit three exhibitions. The first is called “Raffaello trama e ordito” and exhibits some tapestries by the artist from Urbino that tell the stories of St Peter and St Paul; the exhibition was organized as a part of the celebrations for the fifth centenary of Raphael’s death. The second is called “Gastone Biggi. Il tempo della natura, gli spazi della realtà” (“Gastone Biggi. The time of nature, the spaces of reality”) and explores the relationship between the work of the master – one of the artists who founded Gruppo uno in 1962, and the author, forty years later, of the manifesto of abstract realism – and the natural and mental space.

In his works, Biggi constantly pursues a dialogue between realism and abstraction

The third exhibition is called “Umberto Mariani. Omaggio a “La piega. Leibniz e il barocco” (“Umberto Mariani. Tribute to “The Fold. Leibniz and the Baroque”) and retraces the career of the artist – to whom the Hermitage in St. Petersburg has just dedicated a solo exhibition – from his first pop works to his hidden forms dating from the 2000s. The rooms of La Galleria – the area of the palace that is now dedicated to contemporary art – hosts a group of about 50 works by Gastone Biggi. The exhibition explores, for the first time after a long time, different stages of the artist’s career, retracing it from the late 1950s to the first decade of the XXI century, passing through Expressionism (the Figurativi series), Informal Art (Racconti), and, in some sense, Spatialism (Tempi), and eventually identifying the dot (Continui, Variabili, Ritmi, Cieli) as his favourite means to explore space. Over the years, the space-nature relationship has become increasingly related to perception, almost achieving a physical and tactile dimension in his latest works, which are represented in this exhibition by the Fleurs, a series of works that highlight not only the revival of figuration but, above all, the artist’s aspiration to reconcile programmed art and the spirit of nature through painting.

The metaphor of the fold is at the heart of Mariani's art

In the rich catalogue that accompanies the exhibition, curator Giovanni Granzotto writes, “Until the last, Biggi tried to unveil the beauty and purity of the rhythm and deep harmony of reality.” The retrospective exhibition dedicated to Umberto Mariani takes place in Appartamento de La Rustica and gathers about forty of the most significant works by the Milanese artist, who was a favourite student of Achille Funi’s. The exhibition retraces the artist’s journey from his first pop works to the hidden forms that have become the core of his art in the 2000s (Piombi), passing through Alfabeto afono, Teorema and Relitti di scena. The exhibition highlights the incessant and never-ending comparison between the great theme of the fold – plastic and light, a real object but also a symbol – that stands at the heart of Mariani’s art, and that of shape that un(veils) itself, which, from ancient times, reached the Baroque passing through the Byzantine age

Palazzo Ducale
“Raffaello trama e ordito.
Gli arazzi di Palazzo Ducale
a Mantova”

Promoted by

Gastone Biggi. Il tempo della natura,
gli spazi della realtà

Curated by
Giovanni Granzotto,
Leonardo Conti
In collaboration with
Fondazione Biggi
Presidente Giorgio Kiaris
Until 7 febbraio

Umberto Mariani. Omaggio a
“La piega. Leibniz e il barocco”

Curated by
Giovanni Granzotto
Catalogue texts by
Silvia Ronchey
Dimitri Ozerkov
Il Cigno GG Edizioni, Rome 

The Author

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Sacilese, 33 anni, si occupa di comunicazione in ambito culturale. Da 16 anni vive a Venezia.

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