To fill a rainy spring day in Turin with colour, there is nothing better than a fine art exhibition. On the 16th of April, the De Chirico exhibition “Neo-metaphysics and contemporary art” was inaugurated at the GAM Torino and is an absolutely must-see event.
The GAM Torino itself is one of those Turin museums where you can breathe in the beauty and where you always want to return. The museum itineraries are frequently renewed and in the end, you can never see and enjoy everything as the museum hosts more than 45,000 works of art. Few people know that Turin was the first Italian city to decide to collect modern and contemporary works of art in the Civic Art Museum born in 1863. The modern art collection immediately became so substantial to the point of requiring in 1895 the establishment of two separate collections: the Civic Museum of Ancient Art preserved in Palazzo Madama and the Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art which was housed in the Crocetta area. The first, existing building that was used for the museum was destroyed during World War II, Thus on the same site, the building which still houses the GAM Torino today, was built.
To welcome us in, a huge bronze tree trunk acts as an entablature of a portal that separates the city from the sacredness of the museum. It is a work created by Giuseppe Penone for the occasion and celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy. We enter and on the ground floor is the exhibition that brings together De Chirico’s latest works with works by other contemporary artists who were inspired by him. De Chirico was an absolute genius and a visionary in starting, at the beginning of the twentieth century, the metaphysical experience, that he later shared in 1917 with Carrà. Beginning in the 1960s, his primacy was recognized by his contemporaries and his example was taken as an inspiration for many of them. On display, therefore, you will find works by Ugo Nespolo, Mario Schifano, Mario Ceroli, Luigi Ontani, all knowingly juxtaposed to those works by De Chirico, of which they are explicit citations, tributes or simply from which the authors have drawn inspiration for their artistic journeys.
A separate section is dedicated to the inspiration that De Chirico drew from Michelangelo’s studies and in general to the great value that the artist always attributed to drawing. In fact, De Chirico placed himself in opposition to impressionism and futurism hoping for a return to order, intended as a return to classicism. De Chirico had always considered himself a classical artist, as in line with the Italian pictorial tradition, based on design, form and volume. On show you will see various drawings and art studies, because it should not be forgotten that for the artist drawing is the divine art, drawing means discipline and technique. And you will also see works by contemporaries, such as Tano Festa, who, starting from De Chirico’s lessons, reinterpret the classics from the history of art, such as Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam“.
The sculpture and shadows section follows, central themes in the artist’s production. And then finally the self-portraits: self-representation and self-study, another aspect deeply investigated by De Chirico, and another starting point for contemporaries.
The exhibition path is very well structured and pleasant, the captions make the exhibition understandable, without weighing it down with too much information. I highly recommend it: don’t miss this journey of beauty and enrichment!
You leave the museum with a feeling of pleasure and fulfillment, and if the day is still rainy, do as we did: a stone’s throw from the GAM is the historic Caffè Platti, founded in 1875. A journey into the past with the wooden facade in mahogany and the coffee room with furnishings and large mirrors in the 1930s style. You will be able to admire elegant, gilded chandeliers and a stucco decorated ceiling.
Here you can taste the most cherished and traditional pastries that for us Piedmontese are strictly mignon (unlike the rest of Italy) and a hot chocolate made by hand, as it was once upon a time.
And voilà, this is Turin, where contemporary and traditional are part of our everyday life.
GAM Torino – Civic Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art
Address: Via Magenta, 31, 10128 Torino TO
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10.00 – 18.00; Monday closed
Adult full price – 10€;
Adult full price + De Chirico exhibition – 12€;
Reduced price – 8€;
Free admission on the first Tuesday of each month – unless a public holiday. Free admission for Museum and Torino Card holders.
Address: Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 72, 10121 Torino TO
Hours: 7:30 – 21:00