Vraag aan de kunstenaar: Laura Zani

We hebben eindelijk de grote hitte achter ons gelaten (tenminste hier in Nederland) en kunnen ons concentreren op nieuwe projecten, nieuwe samenwerkingen, nieuwe tentoonstellingen, en de terugkeer van de rubriek Vraag aan de Kunstenaar (ik moet zeggen dat ik die gemist had en ik ben blij hem weer aan u te kunnen presenteren) ter gelegenheid van de opname van twee nieuwe kunstenaars in het project Hedendaagse Italiaanse Kunst in Nederland. Vandaag wil ik u officieel kennis laten maken met de Bresciaanse schilderes Laura Zani, die sinds april 2022 in de Manzoni Kunst Galerie in Oosterwolde is voor de portrettentoonstelling Het portreit van de ziel. Bekend door een wederzijdse vriendschap in Milaan (je vindt altijd de beste bij Milonga Cornici in het centrum van Milaan), heeft Laura’s poëtica mij onmiddellijk gegrepen en verliefd gemaakt op haar lieflijkheid en elegantie in het combineren van de kind-dier-plant wereld met een diep surrealistische en symbolische wereld dankzij het gebruik van delicate inkten met grote achtergronden. De werken van Laura Zani geven innerlijke kalmte en sereniteit en juist daarom worden ze zo gewaardeerd en gezocht door Amerikaanse, Egyptische, Italiaanse, Belgische, Duitse, Chinese en Nederlandse verzamelaars. Maar ik wil niet langer treuzelen en wil het woord doorgeven aan de artiest.

Vertel ons over jezelf: wanneer begon Laura Zani zich een kunstenares te voelen?

Ik heb een zeer romantisch beeld van de kunstenaar, die ik me voorstel als een individu dat volledig bezeten is door een persoonlijke visie op de werkelijkheid en dat altijd origineel is, zowel in de artistieke produktie als in het leven. Als ik mijzelf vergelijk met deze geïdealiseerde figuur, kan ik mij geen kunstenaar voelen : mijn leven is gewoon en mijn gedachten overpeinzen elk aspect van het dagelijks leven. Er zijn echter momenten waarop ik me los kan maken van de werkelijkheid: wanneer ik op zoek ben naar ideeën, wanneer ik verrukt ben door een bepaalde situatie of opgewonden door een succes, zeer intense momenten waarop ik mijn werk creëer. In die uren verandert mijn perceptie van mezelf en kan ik mezelf als artiest zien.  Maar omdat mijn romantische visie meestal de overhand heeft, noem ik mezelf liever een schilder.

Waar verlangt de artiest in jou naar? Heb je het al door?

De kunstenaar in mij wil positieve emoties overbrengen op de toeschouwer. Maar dat niet alleen: hij zoekt troost en vreugde in de gebaren die het werk maken, in de stroom van ideeën die het voortbrengt.

Ik ontken niet dat ik denk aan het krijgen van meer en meer feedback en waardering van het publiek en de critici, maar het zijn zeker niet mijn prioriteiten.

Ik denk dat mijn wens elke keer uitkomt als ik vreugde en serene nieuwsgierigheid zie in de ogen van de kijker, of als ik woorden van dankbaarheid hoor of lees voor de positieve emoties die mijn werk oproept.

Waar haal je de meeste inspiratie uit? Waarom?

Ik haal mijn inspiratie uit de dingen waar ik van houd: boeiende gezichten en uitdrukkingen die je latente emoties doen verbeelden; de ongeëvenaarde schoonheid van de creaties van de natuur – zowel van de planten- als van de dierenwereld; kunstwerken van meesters in de schilderkunst en de illustratie.

En dat allemaal omdat ik het gevoel heb dat ze tot mijn verbeelding behoren en mijn innerlijk welzijn erop berust.

Kunt u de lezers iets vertellen over uw schildertechniek: van het oorspronkelijke werk tot de uitwerking die een nieuw origineel wordt?

Het ontstaan van mijn artistieke produktie verloopt langs twee verschillende wegen: de ene komt geheel uit de verbeelding voort, zonder gebruik te maken van reële beelden – dit is specifiek illustratiewerk: nadat ik het idee voor het paneel heb gevonden, maak ik talrijke schetsen en kleurproeven om tot het uiteindelijke werk te komen.

De andere is beïnvloed door fotografische beelden. In deze gevallen gebruik ik foto’s om de vormen en de lichtcontrasten weer te geven, terwijl ik de neiging heb de context uit te vinden en de kleuren te veranderen om mijn persoonlijk palet te gebruiken.

Waarom de beslissing om fine art prints te maken? Heb je andere projecten om je nog dichter bij het publiek te brengen?

Ik besloot fine art prints van mijn werken te maken om mijn werk toegankelijker te maken voor een breed publiek. Door het afdrukken van bestanden, verkregen door het scannen of fotograferen van de originele werken, kan ik kopieën van hoge kwaliteit maken in verschillende formaten, zelfs afwijkend van de originelen, en dat tegen voordelige prijzen.

Ik denk dat om het publiek te benaderen zichtbaarheid onontbeerlijk is, die ik op dit moment zoek via de sociale media – Facebook en Instagram – en de steun van kunstgalerijen. Ik ben van plan, en dit is een primeur, om binnenkort een atelier met ramen te openen in het historische centrum van Brescia, mijn stad.

Ik wil Laura Zani uit de grond van mijn hart bedanken voor haar oneindige beschikbaarheid. Uit zo’n prachtig mens als zij kan niets anders dan prachtige kunst voortkomen.

Om de kunstenares te volgen bied ik u haar Instagram profiel en haar website aan, daarnaast nodig ik u persoonlijk uit in de Manzoni Kunst Galerie in Oosterwolde en op haar Facebook en Instagram pagina’s.

Ask the artist: Laura Zani

We have finally left the great heat behind us (at least here in Holland) and can concentrate on new projects, new collaborations, new exhibitions, and the return of the column Ask the Artist (I have to say that I had missed it and I am happy to present it to you again) on the occasion of the inclusion of two new artists in the project Contemporary Italian Art in the Netherlands. Today I would like to officially introduce you to the Brescian painter Laura Zani, who has been at the Manzoni Kunst Galerie in Oosterwolde since April 2022 for the portrait exhibition Het portreit van de ziel. Known through a mutual friendship in Milan (you can always find the best at Milonga Cornici in the centre of Milan), Laura’s poetics immediately captured me and made me fall in love with her sweetness and elegance in combining the child-animal-vegetal world with a profoundly surreal and symbolic world thanks to the use of delicate inks with large backgrounds. Laura Zani’s works give inner calmness and serenity and, precisely for this reason, they are so appreciated and sought after by American, Egyptian, Italian, Belgian, German, Chinese and Dutch collectors. But I do not want to linger any longer and would like to pass the word to the artist.

Tell us about yourself: when did Laura Zani start feeling like an artist?

I have a very romantic idea of the artist, whom I imagine as an individual totally possessed by a personal vision of reality and unfailingly original both in artistic production and in life. If I compare myself to this idealised figure, I cannot feel like an artist: my life is ordinary and my thoughts contemplate every aspect of everyday life. There are moments, however, when I am able to extricate myself from reality: when I am searching for ideas, when I am enraptured by a particular situation or exhilarated by a success, very intense moments when I am creating my work. In those hours my perception of myself changes and I can perceive myself as an artist.  But since my romantic vision usually prevails, I prefer to call myself a painter.

What does the artist in you long for? Have you already realised it?

The artist within me wishes to communicate positive emotions to the viewer. But not only that: he seeks comfort and joy in the gestures that create the work, in the flow of ideas that generate it.

I don’t deny that I think about getting more and more feedback and appreciation from the public and critics, but they are certainly not my priorities.

I think I get my wish every time I see joy and serene curiosity in the eyes of the viewer, or when I hear or read words of gratitude for the positive emotions aroused by my work.

What do you draw the most inspiration from? Why?

I draw inspiration from the things I love: captivating faces and expressions that make one imagine latent emotions; the beauty, unparalleled, of the creations of nature – both of the plant and animal world; works of art by masters of painting and illustration.

And all this because I feel that they belong to my imagination and my inner well-being rests on them.

Would you tell the readers about your painting technique: from the original work to the elaboration that becomes a new original?

The genesis of my artistic production follows two different paths: one is generated entirely from imagination without relying on real images – this is specifically illustration work: having found the idea for the panel, I make numerous sketches and colour proofs to arrive at the final work.

The other is influenced by photographic images. In these cases, I use photographs to reproduce the shapes and light contrasts while I tend to invent the context and change colours in order to use my personal palette.

Why the decision to create fine art prints? Do you have other projects to bring you even closer to the public?

I decided to produce fine art prints of my works to make my work more accessible to a wide audience. By printing files obtained by scanning or photographing the original works, I can create high quality copies of various sizes, even different from the originals, at inexpensive prices.

I think that in order to approach the public, visibility is indispensable, which, at the moment, I seek through social media – Facebook and Instagram – and the support of art galleries. I am planning, and this is a scoop, to open a studio with windows in the historic centre of Brescia, my city, soon.

I would really like to thank Laura Zani from the bottom of my heart for her infinite availability. From such a wonderful person as she is, nothing but wonderful art can but spring forth.

To follow the artist, I offer you her Instagram profile and her website, as well as inviting you in person to the Manzoni Kunst Galerie in Oosterwolde and to her Facebook and Elisa Manzoni (@manzoni.kunstgalerie) • Foto e video di Instagram pages.

Domanda all’artista: Laura Zani

Finalmente ci siamo lasciati alle spalle il gran caldo (almeno qui in Olanda) e possiamo concentrarci su nuovi progetti, nuove collaborazioni, nuove mostre e, al ritorno della rubrica Domanda all’artista (devo dire che mi era mancata e sono felice di riproporvela) in occasione dell’inserimento di due nuovi artisti nel progetto Arte italiana contemporanea in Olanda. Oggi vorrei presentarvi ufficialmente la pittrice bresciana Laura Zani, già presente alla Manzoni Kunst Galerie di Oosterwolde da aprile 2022 per la mostra sui ritratti Het portreit van de ziel. Conosciuta tramite un’amicizia milanese in comune (da Milonga Cornici in centro a Milano trovate sempre il meglio), la poetica di Laura mi ha subito catturata e fatta innamorare per la sua dolcezza e la sua eleganza nell’unire il mondo infantile-animale-vegetale ad un mondo profondamente surreale e simbolico grazie all’uso di inchiostri delicati a grandi campiture. Le opere di Laura Zani donano calma interiore e serenità e, proprio per questo sono tanto apprezzate e ricercate dai collezionisti americani, egiziani, italiani, belgi, tedeschi, cinesi ed olandesi. Ma non voglio indugiare oltre e vorrei passare la parola all’artista.

Parlaci di te: quando Laura Zani ha iniziato a sentirsi un’artista?

Ho un’idea molto romantica dell’ artista che immagino individuo totalmente posseduto da una visione personale della realtà e immancabilmente originale sia nella produzione artistica che nella vita. Se paragono me stessa a questa figura idealizzata non riesco a sentirmi artista: la mia vita è ordinaria e i miei pensieri contemplano ogni aspetto della quotidianità. Ci sono momenti, però, in cui riesco a estraniarmi dalla realtà: mentre ricerco idee, quando sono rapita da una situazione particolare o sono esaltata da un successo, attimi molto intensi mentre realizzo i miei lavori. In quelle ore la percezione di me stessa muta e riesco a percepirmi artista.  Ma poiché abitualmente prevale la mia visione romantica preferisco definirmi pittrice.

Cosa desidera ardentemente l’Artista che c’è in te? L’hai già realizzato?

L’artista che abita dentro me desidera comunicare emozioni positive allo spettatore. Ma non solo: cerca conforto e gioia nei gesti che creano l’opera, nel flusso delle idee che la generano.

Non nego di pensare di ottenere sempre maggiori riscontri e apprezzamento da parte del pubblico e della critica ma, certamente, non sono le mie priorità.

Penso di realizzare il mio desiderio ogni volta che leggo negli occhi dello spettatore gioia e serena curiosità oppure mentre ascolto o leggo parole di gratitudine per le emozioni positive suscitate dal mio lavoro.

Da cosa trai la maggiore ispirazione? Perché?

Traggo l’ispirazione dalle cose che amo: volti ed espressioni accattivanti che fanno immaginare emozioni latenti; la bellezza, che non trova paragoni, delle creazioni della natura – sia del mondo vegetale che animale; opere d’arte di maestri della pittura e dell’illustrazione.

E tutto ciò perché sento che appartengono al mio immaginario e su di essi si appoggia il mio benessere interiore.

Parleresti ai lettori della tua tecnica pittorica: dall’opera originale fino ad arrivare all’elaborazione che ne diventa un nuovo originale?

La genesi della mia produzione artistica segue due percorsi diversi: una è generata totalmente dalla fantasia senza appoggiarsi ad immagini reali – si tratta, nello specifico, dei lavori di illustrazione: trovata l’idea per la tavola, realizzo numerosi bozzetti e prove di colore per arrivare al lavoro definitivo.

L’altra è influenzata da immagini fotografiche. In questi casi mi servo delle fotografie per riprodurre le forme e i contrasti di luce mentre tendo ad inventare il contesto e a cambiare i colori al fine di utilizzare la mia palette personale.

Come mai la decisione di creare stampe fine art? Hai altri progetti per avvicinarti ancora di più al pubblico?

Ho deciso di produrre stampe fine art delle mie opere per rendere il mio lavoro maggiormente fruibile ad un vasto pubblico. Attraverso la stampa dei files ottenuti scansionando o fotografando i lavori originali, posso creare copie di ottima qualità e di varie dimensioni, anche diverse dagli originali, a prezzi economici.

Penso che per avvicinare il pubblico sia indispensabile la visibilità che, al momento, ricerco attraverso i social – Facebook e Instagram – e l’appoggio di gallerie d’arte. Ho in serbo, e questo è uno scoop, di aprire, a breve, uno studio con vetrine nel centro storico di Brescia, la mia città.

Vorrei davvero ringraziare di cuore Laura Zani per la sua infinita disponibilità. Da una persona meravigliosa come è lei, non può che scaturire un’arte meravigliosa.

Per seguire l’artista vi propongo il suo profilo Instagram e il suo sito web, oltre che invitarvi di persona alla Manzoni Kunst Galerie a Oosterwolde e sulle sue pagine Facebook ed Instagram.

Het portreit van de ziel

“De animatie van het doek is een van de moeilijkste problemen van de schilderkunst.”

(Alfred Sisley)

De evolutie van het portret in de kunstgeschiedenis kan worden gelijkgesteld met de evolutie van de weergave van de beeltenis van de kindertijd naar de volwassenheid. De impuls om portretten te schilderen is een spontane en primordiale noodzaak: vertrekkend van een opzettelijk portret komen we, dankzij de persoonlijke groei van de kunstenaar, tot het fysionomische portret dat niet alleen concrete somatische kenmerken heeft, maar ook het psychologische karakter, de spiritualiteit en het morele oordeel van de geportretteerde analyseert. Ook al werd het in de oudheid beschouwd als een genre dat inferieur is aan het historische tafereel, voor sommige historici is het portret het oudste en meest verbreide artistieke genre dat de ontwikkeling van de cultuur van de samenleving tastbaar volgt: er zijn maar weinig historische tijdperken en beschavingen waarin het portret niet aan bod komt.

De tentoonstelling Het portreit van de ziel wil dus de hedendaagse situatie documenteren van dit genre dat altijd een grote aantrekkingskracht heeft gehad. De zes aanwezige kunstenaars hebben het doel van Alfred Sisley (1839-1899) bereikt: zij hebben een ontwikkelingsstadium bereikt waarin zij in staat zijn het onderwerp van het werk te animeren, dat wil zeggen dat zij ziel en geest in het materiaal brengen door er hun persoonlijke artistieke en creatieve toets aan toe te voegen. Laten we ze beter leren kennen.

Sinds 2015 concentreert de Milanese kunstenares Susanna Maccari zich op de analyse van de vrouwelijke figuur in aquarellen: haar vitale en waterige toetsen zijn elegant en delicaat, en tonen de innerlijke kracht, schoonheid en intelligentie van de vrouw met pasteltinten van uiterste verfijning.

Met een heel andere techniek onderzoekt de kunstenaar Leonardo Vecchiarino uit Foggia ook de schoonheid van de hedendaagse vrouw: fascinerende moderne nimfen met een prerafaëlitische inslag (19e eeuw), geschilderd in olieverf met bleke, koude kleuren, worden geplaatst in volkomen surrealistische symbolische contexten die bestaan uit collages met fragmenten uit het dagelijks leven.

Een andere belangrijke exponent van de hedendaagse Lombardische portretkunst is ongetwijfeld de kunstenaar Giorgio Riva, die ons met zijn werken op hout ertoe aanzet de vrouwenfiguur te interpreteren in een dromerige, symbolische en transcendente versie die doet denken aan de Art Nouveau (1890-1910): de ruimten worden in de tijd opgeschort en stralen rust en harmonie uit dankzij de kleur en de grafische oogjes die het beeld creëren.

De jonge Bresciaanse kunstenares Laura Zani, een nieuwkomer in het project Hedendaagse Italiaanse Kunst in Nederland dat door Manzoni Kunst Galerie wordt gesteund, is bij verzamelaars ook bekend om haar inktwerken en fine art prints met kinderportretten. Dankzij het spel van het licht en de transparantie van de gebruikte media creëert de kunstenares een zuiver universum waarin gratie natuurlijk is en, zoals ze zelf zegt, “waar je nog kunt hopen dat alles mogelijk is en waar je toevallig zeemeerminnen ontmoet”.

De enige Nederlandse portrettiste in de tentoonstelling is de Brabantse Marieke Samuels, die dankzij haar artistieke poëtica de geportretteerde vrouw uit het abstracte doek laat oprijzen als ware het een visioen uit een droom: de toeschouwer krijgt zo de gedachte en de essentie van de protagoniste te pakken.

Wat de beeldhouwkunst betreft, is de enige beeldhouwer in de galerie Claudio Caporaso uit Ligurië, die zich concentreert op de diepgaande en voortdurend veranderende identiteiten van de onderwerpen in brons. De geportretteerde lijdende zielen zijn geïdealiseerd en schetsen met grote gevoeligheid de hedendaagse geest van de mens.

De tentoonstelling Het portreit va de ziel geeft zo een volledig beeld van de hedendaagse maatschappij, realistisch in haar fenomenale kant, voortdurend op zoek naar een ontsnapping uit de dagelijkse angsten door middel van symboliek, dromen, emoties en illusies.

29 april – 26 juni 2022

Manzoni Kunst Galerie (Snellingerdijk 122, Oosterwolde)

English version

The portrait of the soul

“The animation of the canvas is one of the most difficult problems of painting.”

(Alfred Sisley)

The evolution of the portrait in the history of art can be equated with the evolution of the reproduction of the image from childhood to adulthood. The impulse to paint portraits is a spontaneous and primordial necessity: starting from an intentional portrait we arrive, thanks to the personal growth of the artist, at the physiognomic portrait that not only has concrete somatic features but also analyses the psychological character, spirituality and moral judgement of the subject. Even though in ancient times it was considered an inferior genre to the historical scene, for some historians the portrait is the oldest and most widespread artistic genre that tangibly follows the development of society’s culture: there are very few historical epochs and civilisations in which the portrait is not taken into consideration.

The exhibition Het portreit van de ziel thus aims to document the contemporary situation of this genre that has always had great appeal. The six artists present have achieved Alfred Sisley’s (1839-1899) goal: they have reached a stage of evolution where they are able to animate the subject of the work, that is to say, they infuse soul and spirit into the material by adding their personal artistic and creative touch. Let’s get to know them better.

Since 2015, Milanese artist Susanna Maccari has been concentrating on analysing the female figure in watercolours: her vital and watery touches are elegant and delicate, and show the inner strength, beauty and intelligence of women with pastel tones of extreme refinement.

With an extremely different technique, the artist Leonardo Vecchiarino from Foggia also investigates the Beauty of contemporary women: fascinating modern nymphs with a Pre-Raphaelite flavour (19th century), painted in oils with pale, cold colours, are set in completely surreal symbolic contexts made of collages showing fragments of everyday life.

Another important exponent of contemporary Lombard portraiture is certainly the artist Giorgio Riva who, with his works on wood, encourages us to interpret the female figure in a dreamlike, symbolic and transcendental version reminiscent of Art Nouveau (1890-1910): the spaces are suspended in time and convey calm and harmony thanks to the colour and graphic eyelets that create the image.

The young Brescian artist Laura Zani, a newcomer to the Contemporary Italian Art in the Netherlands project supported by Manzoni Kunst Galerie, is also well known to collectors for her ink works and fine art prints featuring portraits of children. Thanks to the play of light and the transparency of the media used, the artist creates a pure universe in which grace is natural and, as she herself says, “where you can still hope that anything is possible and where you happen to meet mermaids”.

The only Dutch portraitist in the exhibition is Marieke Samuels from Brabant who, thanks to her artistic poetics, makes the portrayed female subject emerge from the abstract canvas as if it were a vision from a dream: the spectator thus grasps the thought and essence of the protagonist.

As far as sculpture is concerned, the only sculptor in the gallery is Claudio Caporaso from Liguria, who concentrates on the profound and constantly changing identities of his bronze subjects. The suffering souls portrayed are idealised and sketch the contemporary spirit of the human being with great sensitivity.

The exhibition Het portreit va de ziel thus fully captures today’s contemporary society, realistic in its phenomenal side, constantly searching for an escape from everyday anxieties through symbolism, dreams, emotions and illusions.

Il ritratto dell’anima

“L’animazione della tela è uno dei più difficili problemi della pittura.”

(Alfred Sisley)

L’evoluzione del ritratto nella storia dell’arte può essere equiparata all’evoluzione della riproduzione dell’immagine dall’età infantile all’età adulta. L’impulso al ritratto è una necessità spontanea e primordiale: partendo da un ritratto intenzionale si arriva, grazie alla crescita personale dell’artista, al ritratto fisiognomico che oltre ad avere tratti somatici concreti analizza anche il carattere psicologico, la spiritualità e il giudizio morale del soggetto. Anche se anticamente è stato considerato un genere inferiore alla scena storica, per alcuni storici il ritratto è il genere artistico più antico e diffuso che segue tangibilmente lo sviluppo della cultura della società: sono davvero rare le epoche storiche e le civiltà in cui il ritratto non viene preso in considerazione.

La mostra Het portreit van de ziel vuole così documentare la situazione contemporanea di questo genere che ha sempre avuto grande fascino. I sei artisti presenti hanno raggiunto l’obiettivo che si prefiggeva Alfred Sisley (1839-1899): sono giunti a uno stadio evolutivo in cui riescono ad animare il soggetto dell’opera, ossia, infondono anima e spirito alla materia aggiungendo il loro personale tocco artistico-creativo. Andiamo a conoscerli meglio.

L’artista milanese Susanna Maccari dal 2015 si sta concentrando nell’analisi della figura femminile ad acquarello: i suoi tocchi vitali ed acquosi sono eleganti e delicati, e mostrano la forza interiore, la bellezza, l’intelligenza della donna con toni pastello di un’estrema raffinatezza.

Con una tecnica estremamente diversa, anche l’artista foggiano Leonardo Vecchiarino indaga la Bellezza della donna contemporanea: affascinanti ninfe moderne dal sapore Preraffaelitico (XIX secolo), dipinte ad olio con colori pallidi e freddi, sono inserite in contesti simbolici completamente surreali realizzati a collage che mostrano frammenti di quotidianità.

Un altro esponente importante per la ritrattistica lombarda contemporanea è certamente l’artista Giorgio Riva che, con le sue opere su legno, stimola ad interpretare la figura femminile in una versione onirica, simbolica e trascendentale che ricorda l’Art Nouveau (1890-1910): gli spazi sono sospesi nel tempo e trasmettono calma e armonia grazie al colore e agli occhielli grafici che creano l’immagine.

Anche la giovane artista bresciana Laura Zani, new entry del progetto Arte italiana contemporanea in Olanda sostenuto dalla Manzoni Kunst Galerie, è ormai conosciuta ai collezionisti per le sue opere ad inchiostro e per le stampe fine art che hanno per soggetto i ritratti di bambini. Grazie ai giochi di luce e alla trasparenza del media usato, l’artista crea un universo puro in un cui la grazia è naturale e, come dice lei stessa “dove si può ancora sperare che tutto sia possibile e dove capita di incontrare le sirene”.

Unica ritrattista olandese in mostra è Marieke Samuels dal Brabante che, grazie alla sua poetica artistica fa fuoriuscire dalla tela astratta il soggetto femminile ritratto come se fosse una visione di un sogno: lo spettatore coglie così il pensiero e l’essenza della protagonista.

Per quanto riguarda la scultura, l’unico scultore presente in galleria è il ligure Claudio Caporaso che si concentra sulle identità profonde in continuo mutamento dei soggetti realizzati in bronzo. Le anime sofferenti ritratte vengono idealizzate e tratteggiano con grande sensibilità lo spirito contemporaneo dell’essere umano.

La mostra Het portreit va de ziel coglie quindi in pieno la società contemporanea odierna, realista nella sua parte fenomenica, alla constante ricerca di una via di fuga dalle inquietudini quotidiane tramite le simbologie, i sogni, le emozioni e le illusioni.

29 aprile – 26 giugno 2022

Manzoni Kunst Galerie (Snellingerdijk 122, Oosterwolde)

English version

The portrait of the soul

“The animation of the canvas is one of the most difficult problems of painting.”

(Alfred Sisley)

The evolution of the portrait in the history of art can be equated with the evolution of the reproduction of the image from childhood to adulthood. The impulse to paint portraits is a spontaneous and primordial necessity: starting from an intentional portrait we arrive, thanks to the personal growth of the artist, at the physiognomic portrait that not only has concrete somatic features but also analyses the psychological character, spirituality and moral judgement of the subject. Even though in ancient times it was considered an inferior genre to the historical scene, for some historians the portrait is the oldest and most widespread artistic genre that tangibly follows the development of society’s culture: there are very few historical epochs and civilisations in which the portrait is not taken into consideration.

The exhibition Het portreit van de ziel thus aims to document the contemporary situation of this genre that has always had great appeal. The six artists present have achieved Alfred Sisley’s (1839-1899) goal: they have reached a stage of evolution where they are able to animate the subject of the work, that is to say, they infuse soul and spirit into the material by adding their personal artistic and creative touch. Let’s get to know them better.

Since 2015, Milanese artist Susanna Maccari has been concentrating on analysing the female figure in watercolours: her vital and watery touches are elegant and delicate, and show the inner strength, beauty and intelligence of women with pastel tones of extreme refinement.

With an extremely different technique, the artist Leonardo Vecchiarino from Foggia also investigates the Beauty of contemporary women: fascinating modern nymphs with a Pre-Raphaelite flavour (19th century), painted in oils with pale, cold colours, are set in completely surreal symbolic contexts made of collages showing fragments of everyday life.

Another important exponent of contemporary Lombard portraiture is certainly the artist Giorgio Riva who, with his works on wood, encourages us to interpret the female figure in a dreamlike, symbolic and transcendental version reminiscent of Art Nouveau (1890-1910): the spaces are suspended in time and convey calm and harmony thanks to the colour and graphic eyelets that create the image.

The young Brescian artist Laura Zani, a newcomer to the Contemporary Italian Art in the Netherlands project supported by Manzoni Kunst Galerie, is also well known to collectors for her ink works and fine art prints featuring portraits of children. Thanks to the play of light and the transparency of the media used, the artist creates a pure universe in which grace is natural and, as she herself says, “where you can still hope that anything is possible and where you happen to meet mermaids”.

The only Dutch portraitist in the exhibition is Marieke Samuels from Brabant who, thanks to her artistic poetics, makes the portrayed female subject emerge from the abstract canvas as if it were a vision from a dream: the spectator thus grasps the thought and essence of the protagonist.

As far as sculpture is concerned, the only sculptor in the gallery is Claudio Caporaso from Liguria, who concentrates on the profound and constantly changing identities of his bronze subjects. The suffering souls portrayed are idealised and sketch the contemporary spirit of the human being with great sensitivity.

The exhibition Het portreit va de ziel thus fully captures today’s contemporary society, realistic in its phenomenal side, constantly searching for an escape from everyday anxieties through symbolism, dreams, emotions and illusions.