JOHN GRILLO: THE BIRTH OF ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM
John Grillo is considered one of the most influential painters of San Francisco's School of Abstract Expressionism. His father painted and sculpted, inspiring him at a young age to paint portraits, landscapes and life scenes during World War II. After the war, Grillo found inspiration from Mirò, Henry Moore, Mark Rothko, Picasso and Motherway, which led to his spontaneous abstractions and dazzling action paintings. Grillo's work can be found at such prestigious institutions as The British Museum in London, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.
TITIAN: LA BELLA
The most celebrated artist of the Venetian Renaissance, Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) is unsurpassed as a portrait painter and member of the sixteenth century Venetian School. One of his most iconic artworks is the single masterpiece popularly known as La Bella (The Beautiful Woman). Made possible through the cooperation of the New York based Foundation for Italian Art & Culture (FIAC) and arte italia, the 29.5" x 39.4" oil on canvas painting was on loan from the Galleria Palatina in the Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy. A defining example of Renaissance portraiture, La Bella (1536), celebrates feminine beauty and exemplifies ideals of the time. Rarely seen outside of Italy, this prominent masterpiece traveled to only three exclusive locations in the United States including the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno.
arte italia presented Titian's Venice, an educational exhibition on the history of La Bella, her stunning dress and mysterious identity. Upon experiencing the expanded exhibit, guests received a complimentary voucher to view the masterpiece painting in the E. L. Wiegand Gallery at the Nevada Museum of Art.
Visitors spent their lunch hour with arte italia, and were treated to light Italian bites in their state-of-the-art kitchen, as well as viewed demonstrations by regional Italian chefs. A guided tour of Titian's Venice uncovered a replica of La Bella's stunning dress, her mysterious identity, sixteenth century Venice, and Titian's affinity for portraiture.
BEAUTY AND THE BEASTS
The University of Nevada Wolf Pack football team embodies the winning spirit. La Bella is the legendary glamour girl of the Italian Renaissance. Together, they presented an offer that produced a howl! FREE Wolf Pack home-game tickets were distributed to guests who visited arte italia's exhibition, Titian's Venice, Wednesday through Friday prior to each home game.
Click here to see more of Sharon Spangler's story on how the art of football mixes with the art of portraiture.
MICHELE CASCELLA: UN PITTORE SENZA TEMPO (TIMELESS PAINTER)
Born in Ortona, Italy, Michele Cascella (1892-1989) was a painter, ceramist and lithographer who spent much of his time throughout the 1960s and 1970s in Palo Alto, California. Cascella's artistry was exquisite, concentrating mostly on portraits and landscapes. He used various media in his designs such as oils, watercolor, pencil, pen and ink, and textiles. Un Pittore Senza Tempo was a retrospective of this prolific artist's career and was the first exhibition of his works in the United States in more than 30 years.
ROBERTO SONCIN GEROMETTA: RIFLESSI VENEZIANI (VENETIAN REFLECTIONS)
Through the ingenuity of noted Venetian freelance photographer Roberto Soncin Gerometta, Riflessi Veneziani showcased poignant images of Venice with stunning detail. Soncin Gerometta's vibrant photographs captured intimate moments throughout the city, reflecting the diversity and beauty of Italy's treasured coastal paradise.
DOUGLAS GAYETON: FROM TOSCANA TO SONOMA
Award winning Italian-American photographer Douglas Gayeton returned to arte italia with a new exhibit consisting of three groups of photographs overlaid with handwritten proverbs, stories, and messages: Italy's slow living culture in a sixteenth century Tuscan convent; local business in Sonoma, California, in 2009 and its impact on the world around them; and a 2004 documentation of Ville Sbertoli, an abandoned mental institution in Pistoia, that closed in the early 1980s leaving the building's contents intact.
IN CERCA DI UNA NUOVA VITA: ITALIAN IMMIGRANTS IN CALIFORNIA 1870 -TODAY
In Cerca di Una Nuova Vita documented the experience of Italian immigrants to California through three waves of immigration: 1850 to1924, 1924 to1970, and 1970 to present day. In Cerca di Una Nuova Vita highlights their struggle, determination, creativity, and cultural and economic contributions to the development of California in industries such as wine-making, fishing, agriculture and Silicon Valley technology.
Direct from Palermo, Sicily, Mimmo Cuticchio and his historical company brought their traditional Sicilian marionette theater Opera dei Pupi to Reno. A form of puppetry that flourished in the nineteenth century and dated back to the Middle Ages, magical tales were reenacted with marvelous 3-foot high wooden puppets celebrating the rich and ancient traditions of island culture. Sicilian puppetry differs from other marionettes in technique, figurative style, décor and speech. Their subjects are mainly long cycles, vicissitudes performed in installments based on epic-chivalrous literature and particularly on the Carolingian cycle. The programs of the Opera dei Pupi often portray the deeds of Charlemagne, his ancestors and descendants. This enchanting theater has toured the world from Paris and Berlin to Tokyo and Hanoi.
BEFFI TRIPTYCH: PRESERVING ABRUZZO'S CULTURAL HERITAGE
On loan from the Soprintendenza dell'Abruzzo e la Direzione Regionale dell'Abruzzo in L'Aquila, Italy, and exclusively sponsored by arte italia, this magnificent altarpiece was on display at the Nevada Museum of Art. Named for the village of Beffi in Abruzzo, this painted, three-panel artwork dates from the early fifteenth century. The central panel of the Triptych celebrates the Madonna and Christ Child, while stories of the life of Mary and Jesus appear on either side. The anonymous painter may have been a follower of the Sienese artist Taddeo di Bartolo (1362-1422) known for his narrative detail and vibrant color. For centuries, the large triptych was displayed on the high altar of the Church of Santa Maria del Ponte but was removed to a safer location following an earthquake in 1915.
RAPHAEL: LA VELATA (THE WOMAN WITH THE VEIL)
Through its relationship with New York-based Foundation for Italian Art & Culture (FIAC), arte italia presented a once-in-a-lifetime viewing of Raffaello Sanzio's masterpiece La Velata (The Woman with a Veil) in the E. L. Wiegand Gallery at the Nevada Museum of Art. Made possible through the cooperation of (FIAC), the oil on canvas painting was on loan from the Medici Collection of the Palantine Gallery, Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy. Completed in 1516, the single painting, La Velata, depicts a woman wearing a veil and embodies some of the high Renaissance master's distinctive qualities: control over pigment color and a serenity that contrasts with the style of his mentors and fellow icons of the era, notably Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. La Velata depicts a serene woman looking intently at the viewer. It is believed that the model for the painting is the same woman depicted in other Raphael works including La Fornarina. Scholars have suggested that the woman, Margherita Luti, was Raphael's lover.
RAPHAEL: LIFE OF AN ARTIST
Sponsored by arte italia, this extraordinary master painter's life, work and influence on the American collector was exhibited through a full range of interpretive materials that provided context for the painting.
ANGELO SPINELLI: BEHIND BARBED WIRE
On loan from the Italian-American Museum in New York City, Behind Barbed Wire documented life and culture in a Prisoner of War (POW) Stalag Camp through 92 photographs taken under risk of death. The photos were culled from 400 extraordinary shots, which constitute the largest collection of POW photographs in existence and were shot between 1943 and 1945, mostly in a camp near Furstenburg, Germany. The photographs chronicled the grim and mundane aspects of prison life, as well as the sometimes humorous ways prisoners learned to cope. Whether depicting the printing of a clandestine newspaper called "POW WOW," getting haircuts, sharing rations or singing in Easter and Christmas choirs, Angelo Spinelli's photos bring to life the rarely seen experiences of many Allied prisoners during World War II.
PRISONERS IN OUR OWN HOME: THE ITALIAN-AMERICAN EXPERIENCE AS AMERICA'S ENEMY ALIENS
Prisoners in Our Own Home, a groundbreaking exhibit from the Italian-American Museum in New York City, documented the treatment of Italian-Americans during World War II through stunning photographs and narrative texts. As they arrived at New York's Ellis Island, Italian immigrants viewed the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of American freedom and opportunity. However, in the early 1940s, their faith in these ideals would be tested by the designation of 600,000 Italian immigrants as "enemy aliens." The ultimate irony is illustrated by a report that over 70,000 Italian-American servicemen were sons of "enemy aliens." Prisoners in Our Own Home examined the importance of this little known episode in American history.
PANE AMORO (BITTER BREAD)
Chronicling the Italian-American immigrant experience, the documentary film Pane Amoro was produced and directed by the husband/wife team of Gianfranco Norelli and Suma Kurien. A New-York based independent film maker, Norelli has produced award-winning documentaries for American and European television for over 20 years with his wife. The pair was on site for the screening and fielded questions from an audience of over 200. The title Pane Amoro (Bitter Bread) comes from a popular Neapolitan song of the early 1900s which spoke of the immigrants' pain of being separated from home and family. The 103 minute feature-length documentary was the result of four years of research in the United States and Italy, and tracked the social, economic, and political transformation of Italians from immigrant victims of violence and prejudice to prominent members of American society. The film was broadcast nationally in Italy by RAI-Italian television in 2007, and has been screened in the United States at several universities including Yale. The screening in Reno was part of a tour to the West Coast.
DOUGLAS GAYETON: SLOW - LIFE IN A TUSCAN TOWN
Douglas Gayeton's Slow - Life in a Tuscan Town was a unique portrayal of rural Italian life and a tribute to the region's kaleidoscope of local characters whose culture centered around the everyday pleasures of growing, preparing and eating food. Imaginative and interactive photographs were layered with handwritten notes, anecdotes, recipes, quotes and historical facts that brought context and color to the subject of each sepia-toned image. Guests viewed intimate portrayals of townsfolk whose lives were bound to the rhythms of nature and exemplified the popular principles that defined "Slow Food," a global movement dedicated to preserving local food traditions, farming and production.
PLANTING ROOTS, REAPING THE HARVEST
Planting Roots, Reaping the Harvest traced the contributions made by Italian immigrants and their descendants to the Napa and Sonoma wine industry. The tradition of drinking table wine at home in Italy followed immigrants to the United States where the majority of Italians either made wine or purchased it from other Italian families. These beginnings led many Italians to grow grapes, sell them and/or make wine, marking the beginning of what continues to be the country's prime wine-producing area. Many of these businesses began as early as 1880 and were passed from generation to generation, continuing as leaders in the California wine industry. The exhibit included the story of visionaries, pioneers and entrepreneurs whose hard work and dedication left an imprint on commerce and history.