ORO d’ITALIA takes a new look at twentieth-century Italian art, and particularly that of the second half of the century, in a selection of works by internationally renowned Italian artists who use or have used gold in their art. Their creative vision ranges from the representations of sacred stories by masters in the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries – which laid the foundations for what was to become a national identity – through to the contemporary world, with the works of some of the most representative artists in the history of Italian art.
The exhibition is arranged in three sections that interact with each other.
The first section, at the centre, looks at the way gold was used in Italian artistic research during the twentieth century, starting with a painting of 1913 on gilded paper by Giacomo Balla. The visitor is then taken on a journey through the works of some of the greatest exponents of post-war Italian art, such as Fausto Melotti, Alberto Burri, Lucio Fontana and Carla Accardi. The display also includes a rare Achrome by Piero Manzoni, emblematic of artistic research in the late 1950s and early '60s. The exhibition continues with a substantial group of works by the Arte Povera group, including Michelangelo Pistoletto, Alighiero Boetti, Giulio Paolini, Luciano Fabro, Jannis Kounellis, Giuseppe Penone and other artists of their generation, including two mixed-media works by Gino de Dominicis and two ceramics by Luigi Ontani. This excursion into the theme of gold in Italian painting and sculpture is rounded off with recent works by Maurizio Cattelan, Lara Favaretto, Chiara Fumai, Giovanni Rizzoli and an enamel painting on canvas by Rudolf Stingel.
In the second section of the exhibition, the display is enriched with a number of masterpieces from the history of Italian art, with paintings on a gold ground. These include the stunning Madonna con Bambino del Familiare del Boccati, active in the second half of the fifteenth century, and the majestic Crocifisso Corsi from the first quarter of the fourteenth.
The last section is a special project devoted to contemporary jewellery, with the creations of great artists such as Lucio Fontana, Enrico Castellani and Jannis Kounellis.