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A rock horse, tall, thin and with a human face – artwork by Mimmo Paladino - welcomes us outside, a Paleolithic warning, an astute and courageous Achaean amulet on which breaking into the bowels of contemporary art in town. At its side, not far away, a huge, proud, golden hay bale in mosaic made by the internationally renowned artist from Ravenna Marco Bravura brings us back to the ancient symbols of the agricultural Romagna and its eternal mosaic tradition, but its dynamism, its furious and rich speed reminds us that art, in Ravenna as elsewhere, is a living thing, unstoppable, fluent and always new, shrewd girl of gigantic stride.
The Art Museum of the City of Ravenna, which is located in the sixteenth-century Loggetta Lombardesca (from the name of architect Tullio Lombardo who designed it), consists of three parts.
Inside the Pinacoteca - where, at the time of our childhood, in a large wing of it were exposed hundreds and hundreds of stuffed animals, fascinating and terrifying species of insects, reptiles and birds that still occupy the darkest dreams of my nights – are shown works ranging from the fourteenth to the twentieth Century, paintings of the most famous local artists such as Longhi, Rondinelli and Guaccimanni, panels of Guercino and Vasari, an amazing nude woman by Klimt, the "Tree of Life " by Paladino, compared to which the faintly kitsch tree of Expo Milano 2015 shakes and bends, and masterpieces by Manzoni, Schifano, Vedova and Saetti – a painter intimately dear to me since I had the unexpected honor of living in his house in Venice during my university studies.
The legendary funeral statue of knight Guidarello Guidarelli from Ravenna deserves for sure a special notice, since over centuries Lord Byron and D'Annunzio have already written on his glory. The body of the knight is lying, calm in his armour, caught in the exact moment of transition from life to death. His face is extraordinarily sculptoreal and real, eyelids half-closed, his mouth slightly open in a grin, in a grimace of pain and suffering that can only inspire human emotion and pietas in the eyes of the viewer. So no surprise for the ancient legend, which still attracts legions of female visitors from all over the world, according to which single women who lay their lips on the painful and live ones of the worthy Guidarello certainly will marry within the year. People say it works, and not infrequently. All you can do is to try it, of course.
At the ground floor, along the perimeter of the elegant porch of the Loggetta, lives instead the Mosaics Collection of Contemporary Art, an amazing, unique and miraculous collection of mosaic works of extraordinary value, exceptional, exciting and colourful masterpieces transposed from artworks by the greatest Italian artists of the twentieth Century such as Guttuso, Vedova, Campigli, Birolli, Africani, Cagli, Paladino, and the refined "Le Coq Bleu", blue, nocturnal, dreamy mosaic realized from an artwork by Marc Chagall in the late '50s.
The last part of Mar is dedicated to temporary exhibitions which have been in the last few years the feather in its cap. Sice 2003 the exhibitions curated by Art Director Claudio Spadoni have gained in just a decade a recognized international status of prestige in rapid and continuous growth giving to Mar a prominent and avant-guarde role within the national museum system.
The secret of this success lies in the high quality of exhibitions, thanks to the attention and education of the editors who have been able to choose always courageous, unique, indirect themes showing stunning works of the greatest artists in history with class, elegance and furtive insanity.
Finally, allow me to quote a little nostalgic memory, impossible to omit. In the eyes of who is writing, in fact, it remains imperishable in memory the solo exhibition of Alberto Giacometti, which took place in these rooms back in the autumn of 2004. For the quantity and quality of paintings and sculptures on display - works theretofore only seen in the books - it was an unprecedented thrilling exhibition, certainly superior to the ones on the Swiss artist held in Rome and Milan in 2014. It was a fine revolution, an amazing gift to citizenship, a rosette that Ravenna proudly pinned on his brilliant chest and which today it is still proud of.
How to get there
On foot: a few minutes from the railway station ( 500 mt).
By car: follow the signs to Museo d'Arte della città di Ravenna/Loggetta lombardesca/giardini pubblici. Pay and display parking near the museum.