As Oscar Wilde once wrote “One can exist without art, but without it one cannot live”. Those who love it can gather from art a view of life, the deeper meaning of a work, they can immerse themselves in the emotion which inspired the creation and discover the places which gave rise to the creative expression.
This special Autumn with its magical colours and characteristics reveals the land of Parma and its province to the open minded and discerning traveler with a wide range of stimulating exhibitions.
At Franco Maria Ricci’s extraordinary showpiece, the Labirinto della Masone in Fontanellato not far from Parma, can be found an original pictorial cycle by Sergio Hernandez from Oaxaca in Mexico who is a figure of great stature in the artistic world of Latin-America. He is the creator of a multiform production inspired by nature, insects and plants but also by the indigenous Mexican tradition as well as European art creating an unmistakable personal style between tradition and innovation. The exhibition is open until the 20 November. Within the Labirinto della Masone can be found some of the creative pathways explored by Hernandez in the recent past. This fascinating cultural park also boasts the largest bamboo maze in the world and is the seat of a permanent art collection consisting of over 500 works which trace the history of art from the XVI to the XX centuries.
The country house of masterpieces at Mamiano di Traversetolo to the south of Parma hosts the Fondazione Magnani Rocca with its prestigious collection of art treasures including works by Gentile da Fabriano, Filippo Lippi, Carpaccio, Durer, Titian, Rubens and Van Dyck amongst the old masters and from the world of modern and contemporary art works by Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, De Chirico, De Pisis, 50 works by Morandi , Burri and scultures by Canova and Bartolini.
Apart from the permanent collection, the Foundation hosts a major exhibition of Italian Pop Art until the 11 December; around 70 works from the most important public institutions and from prestigious private collections are on show. The artists are those who have written the history of modern Italian art, from Mimmo Rotella to Enrico Baj and Mario Schifano amongst them. Also on show at the Foundation until 11 December is the most famous painting of water lilies by Claude Monet on loan from the USA together with two other masterpieces by the artist who is considered to be the father of impressionism.
In the city of Parma itself, celebrations for the bi-centenary of the arrival in the city of Maria Luigia of Austria continue apace. The second wife of Napoleon Bonaparte was assigned the city in 1816 and she became an icon for the small Duchy as a lover of music, the arts in general, science and literature. Apart from the Glauco Lombardi museum which exhibits historical memorabilia of great interest about Maria Luigia of Hapsburg and her consort, Napoleon Bonaparte there are 2 special shows organized by the local municipality inherent to the life of the much loved Duchess: “Ferré and Comte. Great interpreters between fashion and art” until the 15 January 2017 in the Governor’s Palace on Piazza Garibaldi, and “In the Duchess’s Temple, between the real and the virtual. Maria Luigia, San Ludovico and artists from the Parma area” from the 15 October to the 27 November 2016 at the San Lodovico Gallery.
Art lovers visiting Parma cannot miss the National Gallery housed in the Pilotta Palace with over 700 works from the middle ages to the twentieth century. The Gallery runs alongside the Farnese Theatre and follows a fascinating itinerary allowing the visitor to discover the main protagonists of Italian and European art: from the Girl with her Hair in Disarray (La Scapigliata) by Leonardo Da Vinci, the Turkish Slave (La Schiava Turca) by Parmigianino, La Madonna della Scala (The Virgin of the Stairs) by Correggio to the carved capitals by Benedetto Antelami and the works of Canaletto and Guttuso to mention but a few.
Amongst the art treasures of Parma pride of place goes to its monuments: the Cathedral, considered to be one of the most significant works of Romanesque art in Italy with its sculptured masterpiece by Antelami and the frescoes of Correggio, and the Baptistery by Antelami entirely clad in pink Verona marble.