9 - Stating the truth

Elegiac chiaroscuro compositions came to me from some of Leopardi’s poems and his bright, vibrant verses: “Primavera d’intorno – Brilla nell’aria e per li campi esulta” (“Spring brightens the air around, exults in the fields,”) helped me whilst I worked on some of my spring paintings, keeping me in the trance-like state necessary to save me from photographic copying and to achieve that transfiguration in which artistic creation consists and which establishes itself, for each artist, into a reality seen and relived through the artist’s own temperament. (…) Artistic transfiguration cannot, for me, evade reality; that is, it cannot go against the laws of tones and values that are assigned to form and harmony. To say that by painting we transfigure reality is not to deny reality, but to affirm it as the only source allowed by nature to our first emotion, as the only possible and therefore legitimate suggestion from which nature succeeds in stimulating our humanity.

Carlo Fornara, from Giovanni Bertacchi’s Come nasce un paesaggio (How a Landscape is Born), in Le vie d’Italia number 12, 1936

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