The two-year period 2020-2022 has a particular significance for Linea d’ombra, because it marks a notable achievement that was not at all taken for granted. I set up Linea d’ombra in autumn 1996, so twenty-five years will have elapsed since then in autumn 2021. We may call this our silver wedding anniversary with art. The companies that organised exhibitions in Italy at that time could be counted on the fingers of one hand and nothing allowed what would happen next to be foreseen in an always complicated and difficult sphere. Moreover, that company was founded by a 30-year-old who until the mid-1990s had had experience only of exhibitions related to the Italian Novecento.

What has happened since then is part of our history, and certainly also partly of the history of the exhibitions in Italy, to which Linea d’ombra has been able to make its contribution. It is one made up of more than eleven million visitors so far and of relations with more than a thousand lending museums on all five continents. These have allowed more than ten thousand works to come to Italy, many of which are true masterpieces. If there is only one thing I am pleased to remember, it is precisely the ability to have produced exhibitions never anchored to the announcement of individual names, but substantiated by paintings and sculptures of an often superlative quality. Many have helped us take this path, from clients and sponsors to all the associates I have had and whom I sincerely thank. Nothing would have been possible without them.

The first of the two exhibitions I conceived in agreement with the city of Padua, where Linea d’ombra has never previously worked, now takes place to make full sense of these twenty-five years. I have worked and written on Van Gogh, furthermore dedicating my first novel to him, while the second is about the last days of his life. This exhibition, fortified by more than a hundred works, with twenty lending museums led, of course, by the Kröller-Müller, is intended to place Van Gogh in the flow of his time, in the precise relationship with other artists who were important to him. There will be time to see it, in the meantime we present it for the first time with this book.

An exhibition that is therefore not only a monograph, but that also presents the oeuvre of the great Dutch artist trough rarely seen analysis and in this way places that wonderful work within unusual limits. From the two years in the Borinage mines in Belgium, to the time in Brabant, to the French years that are thoroughly investigated, with some works that are surely less expected in a project aiming also at the large public, it demonstrates once again how it is possible to bring together scholarship, in-depth analysis and emotions.