Presentation of the solo exhibition, “Arianna Sartori Arte”;
Mantua, February 2007.
It is difficult to give a definition that renders in synthesis the character of
Salvestrini. It would seem obvious to mention him as a figurative artist,
because, even where he appears to be oriented towards fancyful symbologies, his
subjects are views, especially of cities, conducted with descriptive punctilio.
We recognize the places, we feel the emotion of the colours according to the
time of the day.
But the imprint, nevertheless, is that of a reminescence, as if he recalled the image from memory, not from direct relation. And not only: he brings the image back with exceptional fineness of details. So that from one side, the kind of the atmosphere directs us towards specific environmental situations; from the other side, the representative care draws us to identify ourselves with details of the environment, which they would have escaped from us without his intervention.
And not only: he represents among the most famous public spaces. Especially city-centre squares: architectural structures we have known for a long time. Yet, through his descriptive punctilio charged with emotions, those spaces appear to us as brought back to memory, as recalled, not simply depicted, environments.
Among his rich and subtle iconography, there are also ways of temporal combinations, as if the events of different times were going side by side together: that is precisely what happens in memory, where the present lives close to the past, without obliterating it. Some places of the city have now become historical also because of the events that happened there - let us think about piazza Fontana; although still in their historical distance, those places appear to us with absolute descriptive precision.
We might call that theme “the theme of remembrance”, which is then lived as
mythical, but as if the myth dwelt in the present. The topics that are properly
defined as mythological, for example, accompany the descriptive records, and are
also relived not according to a historical revival of their representations in
the classical era, but through the various ways through which they have been
interpreted. Let us observe, for example, the
who have a mythological matrix but here reveal the eighteenth-century
fascination of Watteau.
On the other hand the present, also meant as modern reality, lives with the past as it happens in the life of cities, where the secular building is however reality of the present, and is topical because it is how we feel it.
The Milan of the seventies (let us think of the flowering of skyscrapers that quickly follows the twentieth-century rationalism period of architecture) coexists with the past and the present in a kind of natural dynamism. It is that that Salvestrini knows how to seize splendidly (and emotionally for us): piazza St. Alessandro appears transfigured in the same way as we see, in the representation of Salvestrini, piazza Missori: it is the square that we know directly, but at the same time it is as if it were recovered through the centuries; it is memory.
©2007 Rossana Bossaglia
(translated from the original Italian by J. Salvestrini)
I was born in Padua (Italy) in 1947. There, about six years old, I wanted to be a painter.
I remember that I was drawing for hours almost every day, copying from an encyclopedia full-page reproductions of works by the great masters of the past: Ghirlandaio, Tiziano, Salvator Rosa e Van Gogh. I was also drawing charcoal portraits of family members, relatives or neighbors.
In the churches of Padua I discovered the grandeur of ancient painting.
In Mantua I attended the sixth and eighth grades. With wonder I was exploring the winding streets that were flowing into ancient and mysterious squares, or ended at the lake that surrounds the city on three sides. I was fascinated by the architecture by Leon Battista Alberti, Giulio Romano and the painting by Andrea Mantegna.
At twelve I moved to Ariccia (Rome), joining my paternal grandmother and uncle priest, who was recently appointed archpriest of Santa Maria Assunta church. So I was lucky to live for a year in the parish house adjacent to the church that Gian Lorenzo Bernini had built between 1662 and 1664. An extraordinary place, temple of the Roman Baroque: I contemplated the great stucco angels of the dome, the Borgognone fresco, and the beautiful altarpieces.
In 1961 I joined my family who had settled in Milan. I attended graphic design courses at Società Umanitaria, with professors Massimo Vignelli, Bob Noorda, Giancarlo Iliprandi, and the art history course with Prof. Mario De Micheli. For painting, at the Accademia di Brera, I attended Scuola degli Artefici (awarded twice with silver medal 1965 and 1967) and Libero Corso del Nudo.
Later on, I collaborated as a graphic designer with important studios and companies, including Olivetti, Franco Maria Ricci publisher and Unimark International.
In the 80s I devoted myself to editorial illustration. In 1983, as work for Mimì Pavia Piovene, I made the poster for the international literary convention of the PEN Club, held in San Giorgio island, Venice. In 1984 Rizzoli published the book “Manuale del Viaggiatore Interplanetario” (Interplanetary Traveler Handbook) with texts by my friend Gianni Guadalupi. For this edition I made 60 color plates and 30 black-and-white plates. In 1990 the original temperas were shown to the public in a large exhibition at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo of Caracas (Venezuela).
Simultaneously with those activities, I studied music and opera singing from 1970 at Scuola di Formazione per Artisti del Coro del Teatro alla Scala. Later I went on studying privately and started singing in choirs and as a soloist, in concerts and theatrical performances collaborating with Polifonica Ambrosiana, Teatro alla Scala, Civico Coro da Camera di Milano, Adelchis Group of Ancient Music.
From 1982 to 1993 I attended with great interest the courses and lectures by Baba Pyare Lal Bedi1, who, thanks to his methods of deep self-observation, opened up a new perspective of creativity with regard to singing, painting and the function of Art in society. This experience and the practice of my activities led me to create two techniques: Il Canto dell’Anima® (The Singing of the Soul) for self-expression through the voice, and Autoespressione Attraverso il Colore, (Self-Expression Through Colour) which I taught in regular and intensive courses until 2016.
From 1986 I resumed drawing and painting with commitment and began to exhibit my artworks.
The study and observation of the great masters of the past had always fascinated me. During those years they appeared to me with new energy as I saw important exhibitions in Venice, Rome, Padua, Mantua and Milan: Titian, Rubens, Perin del Vaga, Giulio Romano, Francesco Guardi, Munch e Giorgio de Chirico.
Looking closely at the surface of a Titian painting you can experience “the revelation of the great painting”, which Titian was the first one to start; then only few other masters gave importance to painting as a primary element beyond the image, beyond the subject. This painting matter is clearly visible in El Greco, Rembrandt, Watteau and Goya. Expressive molded matter-color painting, which ascends to spirituality.
My intuitions and preferences about the beauty of painting found confirmation and new nourishment in the study of the works and writings by Giorgio de Chirico2. Especially considering the so-called neo-Baroque period in which he realizes, after so many years of great art, his ideal of painting through "the beautiful matter".
My paintings of recent years represent the views of the cities which I have lived in, or represent fantastic views. The fruit compositions, which I like to call Still Nature, as Chardin defined them, I sometimes depict on windowsills with architectural glimpses. Other subjects are mythological representations in which the deformation and movement of the figures express eternal primordial energies. The painting is increasingly free, with evident brushstrokes, and the fusion is obtained through combinations, overlays and glazes to reinforce reflections, highlights (lumeggiature), intensity of tones.
I thank Prof. Paolo Bensi3 for the scientific information that he has kindly provided me over time, about the technique of Venetian painters from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century.
Edoardo Salvestrini's recent activity is focused on the theme of City Landscapes, and on compositions where architecture is the outstanding element sorrounded by oneiric atmosphere: “Caprices” and “Ancient Squares”. Salvestrini also paints portraits on commission.
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