A Painful Song of Love (Van Gogh’s Last Day)

Seven paintings by Matteo Massagrande for a dramatic monologue by Marco Goldin

Vicenza, Basilica Palladiana
7 October 2017 - 8 April 2018

The show is on display in the last gallery of the exhibition path and it is included in the Van Gogh. Tra il grano e il cielo admission ticket.

Here are posted three of the seven works conceived by Matteo Massagrande for the exhibition Canto dolente d'amore. L'ultimo giorno di Van Gogh. Each of them are followed by comments written by Marco Goldin.

“And seeing, from the small high window, the snow-white light filter in”

by Marco Goldin

Matteo Massagrande has painted the white light of the snow-cloaked evening, which expands in the immensity. At the same time, lit candles spread their white light that melts without losing consistency. It’s the evening before night; it’s time that follows destiny. It’s not a room, it’s not nature. It’s not just a room, it’s not just nature. It is the stream of light moving silently toward the soul. And the windows are clear as wide-open eyes and the door looks at the shadow and the windows look at a clearing. And from the small high window the painter lets the night appear in arabesques of snow. The painting speaks of all this falling white and snow, in its tongue of silence and colors.
Because then the subtle, enchanted texture of that light only expresses the beginning of the journey into a previously known space. Sheltered from the snow, sheltered from the breeze only just stirring the branches, the room is like a world. And everything is suspended, everything floats, all the light rests on a bed where life has passed, whether a long time ago or recently, the painting doesn’t say, because that is not its task and because painting cultivates the secret of the heart, the beat of the person who has left. That’s how Massagrande preserves the place that has been lived in, the place presumably of love. He preserves absence as a precious stone of snow, when everything is sealed, when everything has already happened. What remains is the essence of a breath, the joint beating of the heart. The painting makes all this appear, while the spirit still dwells in the room and someone may have just left it. Painting in the wake of the great artist Andrew Wyeth, Massagrande states both the everyday and the sacredness of fate. He makes light both resistant and vaporous, he manages to strike a spellbinding balance between the room and infinity, between the snow and the cosmos. Contemporary painting has rarely expressed such rarefied poetry, in the way it focuses on being and non-being, which is never nothingness, but a void that resounds and scents. Massagrande has known the time of presence and that of the farewell, the hour of love and of non-love. He was not afraid to paint with a pure heart and a free spirit.
That’s why, snow is held in the hands.

[Matteo Massagrande, “And seeing, from the small high window, the snow-white light filter in”, 2017 | mixed media on panel, cm 80 x 80]