Museums and exhibition halls in Rome’s Complesso del Vittoriano, the “Altar of the Italian Nation,” are known for hosting great art. The complex was built as a “symbolic monument” to “celebrate Vittorio Emanuele II of Savoy, the first King of a unified Italy”. Two incredible showings are now running:
- Fernando Botero
- Giovanni Boldini
Colombian Artist Fernando Botero
The Botero show celebrates the Colombian artist’s 85th birthday and exhibits art from almost 60 years of his career – 1958 to 2016. His signature style, known as “Boterismo, depicts people and figures in large, exaggerated volume, which can represent political criticism or humor, depending on the piece”.
“Botero’s paintings transport the viewer into a fantastical, dreamlike dimension pervaded by nostalgia and echoes of a world that no longer exists or is fast disappearing”.
Botero’s work was displayed in several categories – sculpting, still life, political and religious, nudes, and memories of Latin America. It was simply incredible seeing his paintings so close! I spent several hours viewing the big, bold, beautiful paintings and sculpting. Although he lived much of his life in Paris, Colombia and Latin America had a profound effect on his art. He was “attracted to the work of Spanish painters Francisco de Goya and Diego Velázquez“.
Italo-French Artist Giovanni Boldini
The Boldini show reconstructs “step by step the outstanding career of the artist”. He “superbly conveyed and exalted female beauty – revealing the innermost mysterious soul of the ladies of the period, whom he regarded as fragile icons”. The exhibit includes Boldini’s most representative oils and pastels, drawings and engravings, and a few works by his contemporaries, a group of Macchiaioli artists.
“Giovanni Boldini, the protagonist of the Belle Époque, was an extraordinary painter who immortalized in his portraits the most beautiful women of Parisian high society.“
Boldini’s elegant work is amazing – but viewing his small, delicate brush strokes was a transition after viewing Botero’s much larger images. Boldini lived to be 89. In his later years, he had to give up painting because of a loss of vision.
Rome’s Fire Artist – I Say
In the alcove, between the floors of where Botero and Boldini works were displayed, the museum presented a retrospective pop-art exhibition “Combustion” by the Fire Artist, I Say, who opened Dicò Art Gallery and is known in the US and Rome.
I Say divides his work in three categories – Burning, Celebrity, and Urban. Many of his creations are “in private collections of leaders – both Italian and international – from the world of culture, entertainment, finance, and sport”.
I thoroughly enjoyed ALL three exhibits, but admit Botero was my favorite. It was a privilege to see his work in person!