The relationship between Versilia and art is ancient and deep. For more than a century, writers, poets and intellectuals have chosen these places to spend periods of rest, creating cenacles destined to last throughout the summer, and making appointments for the following year.
Marble quarries, sculpture workshops and foundries, then, are excellences that since Michelangelo’s time have attracted sculptors and artists from all over the world: here they find raw materials of the highest quality, but also craftsmen capable of translating their artistic inspiration into works of all sizes.
In questa tradizione si inseriscono le mostre d’arte che, da diversi anni, sono diventate una delle attrattive dell’estate in Versilia. In this tradition are the art exhibitions that, for several years now, have become one of the attractions of the summer in Versilia. In this article, we offer a brief review of the exhibitions of summer 2023: without claiming to be exhaustive, but with the hope of arousing your curiosity.
Forte dei Marmi: between contemporary and early 20th century
The exhibition ‘Accadde in Versilia’ (Happened in Versilia), set up at the ‘Fortino’ until 5 November, refers precisely to the magical moment experienced by Versilia at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. To recount that period, the exhibition focuses on three great protagonists, Plinio Nomellini, Lorenzo Viani and Moses Levy, with a wide selection of their masterpieces.
As well as recounting a period and a reality that is now distant, these works illustrate the styles and poetics of each artist well: from the cheerful, calm images of Versilia offered by Nomellini and Levy, to the dramatic expressionism of Lorenzo Viani with his images of poverty and pain.
Among the events hosted at Villa Bertelli, we highlight the exhibition Mimmo Rotella.. Il genio poliedrico: cinque tecniche a confronto,with about fifty works by this master of contemporary Italian art, exponent of international pop art and Nouveau Réalisme.
Walking along the seafront or the centre of Forte, finally, one cannot fail to be struck by the monumental expressiveness of Gustavo Velez‘s works. Until 18 September, the exhibition ‘Being Geometric’ by the Colombian artist presents eight works in marble, steel and bronze.
Pietrasanta, the city of galleries
In Pietrasanta, the ‘Little Athens of Versilia’, art is indeed among the great protagonists of the season. Welcoming visitors this year is the exhibition Fragility, by French sculptor Bernard Bezzina.
Monumental works, in marble and bronze, are positioned in Piazza Carducci and Piazza Duomo; in the Sant’Agostino complex, on the other hand, there are creations in cedar wood, glass, oil, and cotton paper. These include a complex 250-kilo installation that took seven months to complete.
But Pietrasanta is also famous for its private galleries, so numerous that it is impossible to account for them all. Among the summer 2023 exhibitions, Astrale, by the Tuscan painter Giuseppe Biagi, at the Galleria Susanna Orlando is definitely worth a visit: on display at Via Garibaldi 30 are large watercolours created by successive glazing and dedicated to the Zodiac, in a highly evocative setting. The Via Stagi branch of the same gallery instead hosts preparatory sketches for the works and some small watercolours.
Accesso Galleria presents instead the group show Res naturales, with about 40 works dedicated to the theme of nature:
Susanna Bauer‘s extraordinary dried leaves decorated with very fine crochet works, Angela D’Ospina‘s hypnotic imaginary landscapes, Marina Kiselyova‘s flowers reproduced with botanical precision, Amber Sena‘s hyper-realistic tree trunks, Sian Smith‘s luminous oils on chiffon and Michael Weiss‘s acrylic insects.
Finally, the Milanese Alessandro Busci is the protagonist of Ragūn – music on water, at the Barbara Paci Art Gallery: 14 new works, created on unconventional supports such as steel, copper and aluminium and worked with acids and enamels: works that, starting from the Versilia landscape, come close to abstraction.
Seravezza, a jewel to be discovered
Situated behind Forte dei Marmi, at the foot of the Apuan Alps, Seravezza is gaining an ever-increasing number of affectionate visitors. It is home to the magnificent Palazzo Mediceo, a Unesco heritage site and venue for exhibitions, such as the one dedicated this summer to the painter and sculptor Vito Tongiani.
Next to the palace, the Arkad Foundation is a place of extraordinary beauty: below the large workshop dedicated to marble and sculpture, there is what was once the Palazzo Mediceo’s ‘fish market’, a large semi-subterranean room where trout were processed. An evocative gallery has been created here, which houses a permanent collection of contemporary art and temporary exhibitions: until the end of September you can visit Presenze. Sculptors in Versilia in the 1980s,with works by Gigi Guadagnucci, Arturo Carmassi, Pietro Cascella, Pino Castagna, Daniel Couvreur, Jan Dries, Nardo Dunchi, Gio’ Pomodoro and Viliano Tarabella.