A painting, a poet, a director but also an actor. An extraordinary performance was staged at the Pinacoteca di Brera: Abel Ferrara in front of Vincenzo Foppa’s San Sebastiano recited the homonymous poem by Gabriele Tinti.
And so in an incredibly moving performance, the words became image and image, voice, invocation, acting. The arts have merged with each other: painting, poetry, acting, in a circle that has left the few lucky spectators literally enchanting.
Poetry with its evocative power to transfigure reality has given the painting of the saint, by one of the greatest exponents of the Lombard Renaissance, a new and unexpected dimension, expanding our boundaries of feeling.
The painting becomes a theatrical backdrop that amplifies the strength of the poetic verses, while the reading is a sort of invocation to the saint (protector against pestilence), an omen of rebirth after the current pandemic. The reading took place in front of Vincenzo Foppa’s San Sebastiano while also drawing inspiration from the other pictorial interpretations of the saint present in the Pinacoteca.
«From the Golden Legenda of Iacopone da Varagine», Pinti explains «we learn that in Italy, at the time of the Lombards, there was such a violent plague that the living were barely enough to bury the dead. It was revealed that the pandemic would not cease until an altar was dedicated to San Sebastian. Therefore from Rome the relics of the saint were brought to Pavia – where the plague was stronger than elsewhere – and the plague ceased. From then Sebastiano is the patron saint of all contagious diseases. This is not a theatrical performance, it is a reading of texts and having the image reference there is enriched with references that bring the actor a little with his ability, a little the image, a little the theme itself.».
This is not the first example of collaboration between Gabriele and Tinti and Abel Ferrara who together have already carried out two other projects in front of Christ at the Bramante’s Column e to the veiled Christ.
The event staged in Brera is part of the most complex “Ruins”, a project by Gabriele Tinti that collects a series of live readings performed in front of classical statuary and Renaissance painting. In recent years, the project has involved some important actors and some of the major museums in the world such as the Metropolitan in New York, the J. Paul Getty Museum and the LACMA in Los Angeles, the British Museum in London, the Glyptotheque of Monaco, the Archaeological Park of the Colosseum, the National Roman Museum of Rome, the Capitoline Museums, the Ara Pacis Museum, the Archaeological Museum of Naples and many others.
“Rovine” was awarded the 2018 Montale Out of Home Prize for poetry and was recently chosen to celebrate the rearrangement of the collections of the Getty Villa, to continue the dialogue begun with the exhibition of contemporary artists “Plato in LA” on the occasion of which some of the most celebrated artists of today’s scene have reinterpreted the impact of Plato on the contemporary world.
The project is carried out with funding from the Cariplo Foundation and the organization and promotion of the Brera Art Gallery in collaboration with Bulgari Hotel Milano.