Art and madness

Journalist Luisanna Peretti talks about the evening of Vittorio Sgarbi’s exhibition


On Monday 25 February, al the Filarmonico Theatre in Verona, a prestigious event featuring art critic Vittorio Sgarbi.

As part of the talk show festival Idem 2018/2019, the theme of the evening is madness in the world of art when, as told to us by Mr Sgarbi, art is no longer a way to tell a story in the service of a customer, but a representation of one’s self in reality.

With the aid of slides showing paintings and sculptures by world famous artists, Sgarbi elects Van Gogh, the impressionist master, as the ideal demarcation line between the world of, so to speak, “normal” artists and those who used art to express their genial madness.

In one of his famous self-portraits, Van Gogh succeeds in making us understand the malaise dwelling in his heart; he paints himself with a grim look on his face, a reddened eye, mutilated in body and soul, he manifests what he is in reality… a madman who uses art to soothe his restless soul.

Many more artists have used their canvases to transfer the craziness and anguish that tormented them. One of them is certainly Munch, feeling the need to let out of his body the scream that rises from his bowels as he is walking on an Oslo bridge, conveying it by painting dark and twisted waves chasing each other and surrounding him with striking and obsessive strokes of colour.

By and by, the show and tell adds more illustrious names, from Munch to Grostz, Ligabue, Francis Bacon, Alessandri and examples from Verona: Carlo Zinelli, from San Giovanni Lupatoto, who found the right way to heal himself with art after 20 years spent in an insane asylum, and Raimondo Lorenzetti, a living artist who loves to portray the force of his madness with the clashing human figures of his canvases, from whose poses transpires the unnaturalness of those who have no mental control over their bodies.

In the final analysis, art as representation of a vision of distorted reality, as the mirror of mad genius.


Luisanna Peretti

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