Van Gogh. I colori della vita

Padua, Centro San Gaetano
10 October 2020 - 11 April 2021

Andrea Martinelli
The eyes of time

Andrea Martinelli has been working on the mystery of a face, on its quintessence, for many years, forev- er for him. And then on the rapacity of the figures, on their always being on a boundary, placed on an edge. Resting lightly on the tray of a scales that just a breath of wind could make fall where the light no longer clenches the shade. They are drawings and paintings that state the condition more of dismay and astonishment than of suffering, as it may seem. Before the emotion of a departure, the uncertainty about the fate of a journey that one never knows where or how will take place. They are faces and figures that suffer the strength and power of time, to which they always entrust their eyes.

Yes, the eyes of time. Those that are manifested in the stunned gazes, full of life and death, of regrets and future. They are manifested as eyes in the eyes. Because they are a mirror and the painter is at the same time he who portrays and he who, precisely through that imaginary mirror, is represented. Even when he does not actually do what we normally call a self-portrait. The burns on Andrea Martinelli’s faces are like the dreamy, permanent and disappearing apparitions of the Fayum portraits. Being there and disappearing as a single thing.

Now, in a here and now, the painter is devoting himself to evoking the faces and figures that another painter, many years earlier, had evoked in his chipped and equally perfect way. Seeking the spirit of each one. And finding it. Following in Van Gogh’s footsteps alongside Joseph Roulin and La Mousmé, for example, through to the image that was of himself, Martinelli plants his flag in those eyes. It is his precise feature, his concern at always proceeding towards fate. And it is in these steps, in this space walked together, that the two painters for a moment breathe closely. Each marvelling at the other.