CULTURE AND TOURISM ON-LINE MAGAZINE

- JANUARY 2018 -
HOME - Bridge Italy - Best of Italy - Art miracles at Vigna San Martino
Best of Italy
Art miracles at Vigna San Martino Patron of the arts Peppe Morra lives on the charming hill. His friendship with the Viennese artist Hermann Nitsch has produced, along with the museum of the same name, so many performances and exhibitions that have created a sensation. The affinity binding the Naples of the miracle of the blood of San Gennaro and the carnality of the works of Nitsch by Pietro Marino
SHARE Facebook Twitter

 

      In Naples, on the hill of San Martino, below the charming mediaeval Charterhouse, almost on the trajectory the crow would fly to the Hermann Nitsch Museum, a piece of farmland stretches out over terraces of vineyards and olive groves with donkeys and even a greenhouse hosting exotic butterflies. It is called Vigna San Martino, and it was recently proclaimed an Italian National Monument. Peppe Morra, the fascinating character who has animated the Southern Italian artistic scene for over half a century lives right there. He has set up a Foundation in his name which organises exhibitions and events in a Baroque palazzo in busy Piazza Dante. It was Morra who in 1974 brought, for the first time to the south of Italy, the artist who in Vienna had become renowned for his perturbing, upsetting Aktionen.

      In the ancient heart of Naples together they organised a kind of procession which concluded with a spectacular sacrificial rite , amidst naked bodies and blood of butchered bulls. It obviously provoked a scandal, so much so that the police came and arrested and detained the artist for a night. But the Neapolitan and the Austrian had forged a rapport that over the years has produced more performances and exhibitions. Culminating in the setting up of the Museum in the former electric power plant , where its founder (now 78)spends the night when he comes down to Naples from the princely castle outside Vienna (Prinzedorf) where he lives, surrounded by an estate where peacocks stroll around. A minimal “second home” in the city steeped in “misery and nobility”( the title of a play by one of the greatest modern bards of Neapolitanism, Eduardo De Filippo).

      The city in which Baroque is exalted, in the palazzos, in the churches, and in the subterranean passages, with wounded crucifixes, parades of skulls and skeletons, penitential habits, of statues of dead noble ladies looking as if they are breathing under marble veils. The only city in the world in which the Miracle of the Blood takes place every year: the dissolving of the blood of San Gennaro in the phial kept in the Cathedral.

      A Mediterranean Baroque, certainly nourished by the prolonged Spanish domination, but which here found its most fertile ground. Naples is “death dressed up in color” wrote Bruno Barilli, a great, if almost forgotten author of the Italian Novecento. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, the “cursed painter” had understood this many centuries previously when he took refuge in the city while fleeing from Rome where he had mortally wounded a rival: here the shadows and lights in the works by the young man from Lombardy became immediately more dramatic.

      So, in 2010 – the year in which Italy commemorated the four hundredth anniversary of his death – Hermann Nitsch decided to come back to Naples to stage a ritual performance inside the chapel of Monte di Pietà, where the grandiose altar-piece by Caravaggio stands. “Le sette opera di misericordia”: it resembles a scene from a film shot in the alleys of Naples itself, there’s even a corpse which is carried in someone’s arms. The Austrian artist has thus paid homage to the Italian maestro, taking some of the panels which are normally kept in his Museum into the chapel. Almost as if to recognise, at a distance of centuries, the secret link that joins his theater of the body sacrificed to today’s civilisation to the ancient roots of nature, from which it has been transformed into the cultural anthropology of Catholicism.

      Now, when you enter the Nitsch Museum, before your gaze falls on the shrouds painted with blood and the phials of mysterious liquids, you come across reassuring bowls of fruit and vases of flowers. Almost as if to say that in the light of “Meridian thought” the Gothic agitations on the other side of the Alps have relaxed in the solemn melancholy with which art celebrates in its own way the endless rites of life and death.

 

More articles
Culture   Eugenio Barba On Life and Theatrical Thought and Practice Culture   Mark Bradford and Wade Guyton Million dollar American art that’s taking Italy by storm Culture   “Poverty is sexist” The young ambassadors of ONE in Paris against extreme poverty Culture   The middle-eastern origin of blown glass, the pride of Venice Culture   “You don’t know the South” 
The culture of the South relaunched in Otranto Culture   Those Southern women who express the world Culture   Dante’s Purgatory in an enchanting Matera Culture   Andy Warhol The immortal guru of Pop Art Culture   “Angels and saints in Chicago and Baltimora” Cultural exchanges between the University of Bari and the US Culture   Those farm women, thrilled at their first sight of the sea… Culture   My Puglia as seen from the UN Culture   The Fulbright Project? An extraordinary opportunity for a cultural exchange
Books   Not even love transforms the Stock Exchange of destinies Books   And the dream of conquest turned into a mirage of the desert Books   Joseph’s Gargano Books   The tragedy of Mattmark A book so as not to forget Books   Journey through the gardens of Italy Books   When poetry investigates “time” Books   Amidst the storms of life it’s the strength of a loving heart that wins Books   That valley in the Gargano so rich in history that must not be forgotten Books   Grottaglie and its pottery through the life of the benefactor Vincenzo Calò Books   Eighty years of joyful culture Books   Sergeant Romano’s siege like in a movie Books   The magnificent eighty Books   San Marco in Lamis seen from its bell-tower Books   A great love for splendid Castro Books   Better not come home... Letters between Italy and America during the first World War Books   Story of a poet between Puglia and America Books   Worked to death under the sun of Puglia Books   When forgotten objects tell a life story Books   Masserie of Puglia Journey amidst Beauty Books   An excursion into the Salentine dialect … Mai pe iabbu Books   The moral revival of the South can start from its “best” Books   Life, anyway! Books   Rainbow of women Books   Amidst the mountains of Val d’Aosta …in pursuit of the culprit Books   …Once upon a time there was the past Writing about it to preserve the memory Books   Disorder and experimentation in the museum-houses of Ignazio Apolloni Books   Salento stories …in search of lost time Books   Pietro Marti, the great standard-bearer of Salento culture Books   Even tycoons cry Books   If a “whale” island appears one night out of nowhere… Books   From his ancestral Calabria to Roma Precious memories of a lifetime Books   The importance of rediscovering “fraternity” Books   In the wax museum to seek the dream of a better world Books   Naples “Kissed by God and raped by Man” Books   Once upon a time there was the padre-padrone Books   Second World War The drama of the fallen Books   On the Savannah lagoons …to heal Books   The meaning of the 20th century in the saga of the Stille family Books   In Fellini’s La dolce vita the germs of today’s Italy Basilicata   Craco The “second life” of a ghost town Po Delta   The Po Delta park Natural beauty and history Bari   “Cieli americani” in Bari Verona   Verona Shakespeare celebrated its beauty without ever having seen it Courmayeur   Courmayeur All the charm of the low season Ferrara   You can still dream in Ferrara Ferrara   “Action!” Amongst Ferrara’s myriad sets Music   Porretta Soul Festival The Italian Woodstock of black American music Matera   Pasolini-Matera Fifty years ago the first Gospel in the Sassi Naples   “Wood Stone and Friends” Jimmie Durham’s magic vitalism at the MADRE Naples   The Hermann Nitsch Museum From horror to awareness Bologna   Do you want to be FICO? In Bologna you can Bologna   Bologna “The Learned”, “The Fat”, “The Red” Bologna   At the MAMbo Arte Povera on display Polignano   From Brooklyn to Polignano Twelve artists out to conquer Europe Movies   With The Revenant DiCaprio rises again and aims for the Oscar Movies   Quo Vado? When the southern redneck turns politically correct Movies   When the cinema returns to the future Best of Italy   Andria Pietro Zito’s vegetable garden This is where his prize-winning dishes originate Best of Italy   The best Milanese panettone is… Salentine San Marino   “From Hopper to Warhol” on the gentle hills of San Marino San Marino   San Marino Historic appeal amidst breathtaking panoramas Turin   Reggia di Venaria Reale A treasure rediscovered Turin   The Egyptian Museum of Turin The immortal appeal of the Pharaohs Turin   “For President” Photogenic qualities will win the elections Padua   So much… In the city of the three “withouts” Milan   EXPO 2015 Not just food Milan   The oneiric inspirations of Joan Jonas Milan   “Autunno americano” Milan celebrates the States Milan   MILAN The metropolis is still “to drink” (…and “to eat”) Florence   “American Dreamers” The new dream of eleven American artists on show in Florence Rome   Forty young Italians with ONE for the fight against world hunger Rome   “Empire State” New York is still the epicenter of art Travel   “A thousand and one Puglias” Travel   New Year’s Eve in Salento Naonis Viaggi and Bridge offer the first “tour of wonders” Travel   A taste of Italy from Puglia to Basilicata Venice   The immortal charm of the 
“Queen of the Sea” Venice   So many “Illumi/nations” with the Biennale d’Arte Rovigo   History and Art In the capital of the Polesine Rovigo   “Divisionism, the light of what is modern” 200 works on show in Rovigo