Press release

The Gaze of Michelangelo. Antonioni and the Arts

Defined by Martin Scorsese as “one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century and a poet whose vocation is to interpret our ever-changing world,” Michelangelo Antonioni (1912-2007) is considered one of the fathers of cinematographic modernity. His work, which tends to venture beyond the boundaries of the 'Seventh Art', was deeply inspired by visual arts and, in turn, eventually acquired a noticeable ascendant over them as it had done with both past and present-day film-making.

The famous director from Ferrara will be celebrated in an exceptional exhibition curated by Dominique Païni, a former director of the Cinémathèque Française, and organized by the Fondazione Ferrara Arte and the Gallerie d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Ferrara - Museo Michelangelo Antonioni in association with the Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna. The exhibition outlines the artist's creative life path, presenting his works in association with those of great artists such as De Chirico, Morandi, Rothko, Pollock, Burri and Vedova, and offering an original and suggestive dialogue between films and painting, literature and photography.

Like Roberto Rossellini, Michelangelo Antonioni made his own contribution to the shift in direction in Italian cinema, from the 'realist' ideal to a desire to explore more complex, psychological dynamics, to which the films Story of a Love Affair, The Lady Without Camelias and The Cry bear witness, being distinguished by a form of screenwriting that highlights tragic breakups, mysteries and separation. Antonioni's famous black-and-white trilogy, The Adventure, The Night and The Eclipse, his chromatic experimentation in Red Desert and the masterpieces of his maturity, such as Blow Up, Zabriskie Point and The Passenger reveal the Italian director's capacity to probe the human soul with innovative perception, clearly presenting the anxiety and concerns of the contemporary world, while maintaining a sense of elegance and seductive appeal.

The story of Antonioni's extraordinary career will be described and documented by a precious collection of works, objects and documents relating to his life and activities now owned by the Municipality of Ferrara. The exhibition include his films and documentaries; original screenplays and stills, including outstanding photographs by Sergio Strizzi and Bruce Davidson; his library, record collection and various personal and professional objects that reveal their owner's passions and interests; and, finally, his correspondence with the protagonists of various cultural milieux of the last century, including Roland Barthes, Federico Fellini, Andrei Tarkovsky and Giorgio Morandi. This material, now preserved by the Antonioni Museum Fund, will be exhibited together with the works of some of the greatest 20th-century artists in a highly suggestive setting, where images, sounds and words emphasize themes and topics that distinguished Antonioni's poetics.

Divided into nine sections, the exhibition provides a chronological overview of the director's life and a thematic analysis of a number of key themes present in his work. Such themes include the legendary mists of the Po Valley, which enshrouded the years of Antonioni's youth; these foggy northern settings can be seen in many of his films and form a contrast with the bright glare of the barren, dusty deserts of his maturity. His views of the modern metropolis, often inspired by the 'suspended' atmosphere of metaphysical painting, alternate with a canny premonition of ecological disasters and the financial, social and ideological crises lingering on the horizon of our consumer society. At the same time, the refined dark beauty of the actress Lucia Bosé - celebrated by a video installation created especially for the exhibition by the French artist, photographer and film director Alain Fleischer - and the radiant, sunny disposition of Monica Vitti represent the two poles of Antonioni's vision of the female world, while the indolence of male characters in the early Italian masterpieces is in contrast with his representation of the rebellious vitality of the younger generation in Swinging London or in America in the seventies. Finally, the exhibition will be completed by an installation, set up in the inner garden of Palazzo dei Diamanti, inspired by the famous tennis-game scene from the film Blow Up.

In the background, like a common thematic thread or leitmotif, one will note Antonioni's constant interest in the aesthetic and formal value of images, whether this is a detail captured from reality - from a documentary or photographic enlargement - or a creative reinvention, as in the watercolour paintings of The Enchanted Mountains. The final result is a complete artistic summary of the life of one of the greatest film-makers of the twentieth century. The exhibition offers a new examination of Antonioni's work, a tangible overview of his creative power and a reminder of the enduring relevance of his poetics and work.

The Gaze of Michelangelo. Antonioni and the Arts
Ferrara - Palazzo dei Diamanti - 10 March - 9 June, 2013

An exhibition curated by Dominique Païni and organized by the Fondazione Ferrara Arte and the Gallerie d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Ferrara - Museo Michelangelo Antonioni in association with the Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna

Opening hours:
Monday: 2.00 pm to 7.00 pm
Tuesday to Sunday: 10.00 am to 7.00 pm

Also open on Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, 25th April, 1st May and 2nd June.

Information and tickets
Call Center Ferrara Mostre e Musei, tel. 0532 244949

Media contact
Studio ESSECI – Sergio Campagnolo, tel. 049 663499



Corso Ercole I d’Este 21, 44121 Ferrara
tel +39 0532 244949