Vittorio Bellini: The ‘Via crucis


‘This great and in many ways unmitigating figurative creation, this true and proper ‘dramatic act’ in canvas and colour, is de-stined to represent one of the most forceful and surprising contributions to the pictorial arts of the last few years. The artist, Vittorio Bellini, hither to almost virtually unknown, was born in 1936 in Vertova in the province of Bergamo. Al-though he has always painted, it is only since a short while ago that he has been able to gradually abandon the occupations that the necessities of life bad forced him to take up, and to dedicate himself to his definitive pictorial personality. The art of painting, however, was not some kind of “violon d’Ingres” for him, but a constantly implacable basic necessity and a constantly implacable urgent need. And he made his de-cision, convinced by the times, by the progressive maturation of his experience, and maybe even by the gradual accumulation of years, coupled with the feeling that by now the decisive ‘die’ should be cast. The fruits of this decision have been such as to at once redeem the long and painful postponement which for years was forced upon him. But the terms of this constraint, the inevitability of pro-viding for himself and for his fa-mily, have endowed the heart of this Bergamascan artist with so much love and truth, and so much desire to participate in the destiny of man, that his work has shown, from it’s very first viewing, qualities of absolute in-novation and maturity. The sheer force shown in Belli-ni’s labour, and his evident ori-ginality in the panorama of Ita-lian art (and not only Italian), lies in the very naturalness with which the voices and forms of his traditional cultural background, that of the most popular and realistic expression of the Bergamascan spirit, have been wedded to the dramatic and urgent manifestation of the most recent forms of Expressio-nism, which, once again, have spread outwards from Germany to excite and inflame the best and most significant art of Europe. All this is visible and tan-gible, both in the ideas which have inspired the Stations of the Cross, which are often reduced to fragments or explosive meditations on details of the martyred body of Christ, and in the formulation of each of these. The enormous and composite whole thus acquires the completeness of the ancient cycles which depicted the passion of Christ without sacrificing anything of the interrogatives, que-stions, shouts, screams and invocations which are characteristic of modern times, and the initial religious innocence suffers the shock of contemporari-ness when it is transformed in-to a work of art and loses none of its values. It puts these values to the test, and taking the whole tragic weight upon its shoulders, seems to fall and rise again, as if it were asked to re-peat the same rhythms of the ‘Via Crucis’ itself. A profound, primitive, original strangely intangible feeling of what it was and continues to be like to be Christ of the universe and of man invades the whole design and its component works. Belli-ni, strong in his innocence and his dearly earned and suffered humanity, seems to fear no obstacle or hindrance. He faces and overcomes them all, as if he refers the completion of his creation not only to himself, but to Christ, seen and experienced as the sense, centre and mea-ning of man, as his brother, fellow sufferer and saviour. And whilst modern art seems unable to go beyond the moment of martyrdom, Bellini actually suc-ceeds, and closes his cycle with the painting to the right of the imposing ‘Christ taken down from the Cross’, in which the fi-re and blood of the painting on the left become gold and light in the incandescence of resur-rection, and from whose magma of redemption finally emerges, a symbol of hope at last, the do-ve of the Spirit and of Peace.’


20 Agosto 1989 - 27 Agosto 1989


Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions