02.GIUSEPPE VENEZIANO La creazione della mascherina, 2020

The example of Giuseppe Veneziano’s art, at once cultured and popular

In a time of collective imprisonment and social distancing, the world of Contemporary Art invaded the internet consistently, offering daily content. In fact, it did more than what Minister Franceschini proposed when he wished for the creation of a “Netflix of culture” (by the way: what did happen to it?). Art critics, curators, gallerists, museum directors, collectors and especially artists, at the risk of sounding a bit too presenteeist, worked hard to keep attention alive on a collapsing system, thus acting as a social glue for the entire supply chain of Contemporary Art.

One of the artists who distinguished themselves as the most fruitful is Giuseppe Veneziano, who alternated the painting practice to a series of virtual meetings with critics and curators, from Vera Agosti and Luca Beatrice to Angelo Crespi, from Andrea Del Guercio and Giacinto Di Pietrantonio to Valerio Deho, from Luca Nannipieri to Alessandra Redaelli, including myself. Conversations, interviews and discussions on different topics have been documented by videos, as well as an interesting graphic production including invitations and posters that will become memorabilia for a future post-Covid-19.

He shew the internet people the way in which he paints

In his daily evening “live recordings”, Veneziano presented art as both cultured and popular, in balance between present and past, between art history and current events, showing the internet people his way of painting. Moving from drawing to watercolour to the finished canvas, the artist interpreted anxieties and fears in the time of the quarantine drawing inspiration from current pieces of news as well as from the masters of the Italian Renaissance.

By bending ancient iconographies to the spirit of this suspended present, and adapting them to the figurative codes of a universally understandable popular art, Veneziano generated a visual grammar that is at once commentary and declaration of intent, testimony and reconstruction plan. His Saint Sebastian and La Venere della mascherina (both inspired by Titian), Corona mundi (inspired by Leonardo da Vinci), La Madonna della sanificazione and Trump contro il Corona Virus (both inspired by Raphael), and, finally, La creazione della mascherina (inspired by Michelangelo), put together the story of a collective parable, where in addition to martyrdom and suffering, to the fear and the struggle that have marked these unlucky days, there is also room for the dream of an imminent revival.

Ivan Quaroni


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