When madness joints art…

…creativity has no bounds and immagination seems to go beyond our known paths…

This time Siena is the destination of our Tuscan journey: the exhibition “Arte, genio e follia – il giorno e la notte dell’artista – Art, genius and madness – artist’s day and night” is currently being performed at the museum estate “Santa Maria della Scala” (January 31st – May 25th). It is a cultural itinerary which develops through sevaral topic sections and deal with the complicated relation between Genius and Madness throughout all the artistical and cultural movement in history.

It’s not chance that the annual date with the “Culture Week” will take place just in April, during the week from 18th to 26th; the event, promoted by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, will have as promotional slogan, and title of the exhibition as well “la cultura è di tutti, partecipa anche tu! – culture is everyone’s heritage, you too should share in!” There are several events in all Italy in which you may take part, but I would like you to focus your attention on the exhibition in Siena, where once again well-known artists are the protagonist of the event, but presented as “poor, normal people”. As the Cultural week wants to point out, everyone can create and enjoy art, not some privileged only.
The exhibition develops through 9 paths which focus on the condition of those people supposed to be “mad” throughout history, on how the sector studies and researches have changed their points of view, some internees’works that psychiatrist have collected to demonstrate the overwelming creativity of those people , which could be as laudable as those important names’ that have left a trace in history: Van Gogh, Munch, Ligabue, Strindberg e Kirchner. The exhibition pays homage to all of them showing the expression of their genius creativity with a bit of that madness which is necessary to give life to their masterpieces; we suggest you not miss Messerschmidt’s facial expressions, which turn into sculpture the personal madness of the artist.

The entrance to the exhibition also includes a visit to the near mental home “San Niccolò” which, according to the psychiatrist trends of that period, was conceived to give people the possibility to dedicate themselves to daily activities.

Besides San Niccolò, there are other Tuscan cities where mental home or villages have been built, as Florence for example, where at the end of the 19th century San Salvi was opened, or Volterra, which became popular thanks to the presence of Ferri mental home. Both of them housed some leading figures of the scientific and cultural community: the poet Dino Camapana, who had been committed to Florence for 14 years, and Oreste Ferdinando Nannetti, astronaut and mining engeneer, has left a whole graffiti repertory over the walls of the hospital in Volterra…just to confirm that madness is not always a disease to be treated.

Even if he turned out not to be mad, public opinion and the religious community as well (holder of knowledge at that time) believed that he really was: Galielo Galilei, ad hoc Tuscan and founding father of the modern, scientific thought, radically renowed the theories about cosmo and vision of Universe. He was forced to refuse his astronomic – scientific ideas/concepts which Catholic Church considered in opposition to the Holy Bible and Aristotle theories, which were the basis of that time opinion. Even if who was really mad came to evidence in retrospect, Galileo was forced to give up his theories and choose the exile, but as the development of the scientific belief and our society proves, science has delved deeper into his theories over the years, elaborating his concepts even more.
For all these reasons, Florence has decided to pay homage to this important man (who contributed to the development of history and human knowledge so much) with an exhibition. It has been taking place since March 13th and till August 30th at Palazzo Strozzi and has been called “Immagini dall’universo, dall’antichità al telescopio – Images from Universe, from past to telescope”. The exhibition shows how universe, and theories over it, has been differently conceived through history and human development….an interesting experience you should not miss to attend; for further information about it, please have a look at…

We’ve come to the end of this unusual “exclusively Tuscan” path, but if it’s true that there is no great genius without some touch of madness, we can proudly state that Tuscany is plenty of mad people!

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