Van Gogh. I colori della vita

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

Claudio Verna
On the wheat fields

When this contemporary painting project on the occasion of the Van Gogh exhibition in Padua took shape in my wishes, I immediately thought of Claudio Verna for the wheat fields. During his last period in Nuenen, Van Gogh had already looked with interest at wheat as a symbolic theme but he of course made it the glory of his painting with the series produced in the second half of June 1888 on the Crau plain near Arles. He then continued to paint wheat fields in Saint-Rémy and of course in the last month of his life amid the undulations of the hills of Auvers-sur-Oise. Wheat immediately became sensuality of colour but also a spiritual event for him. It was an almost stupefying power of an absolute presence and the turning to something supernatural with the power of that yellow.

It would have been too easy to turn to artists, skilled or very skilled, who have made wheat fields the plot of their story, in order to speak in painting of Van Gogh’s wheat fields. It would have been too easy. But right from the start I had Claudio Verna’s name in mind. He is one of the main exponents of abstraction - if these categories still make any sense - in Italy and abroad. I have to say it here, like a small confession. I called him and my voice ran to Rome, where he lives. It is impossible to believe, but he, an abstract painter, was in those very days finishing off a big painting inspired precisely by Van Gogh’s wheat fields. A big painting, beautiful beyond any doubt. He thought it would be unique, a single picture and that’s all. But he plunged his arms up to the elbows in the yellow of the wheat fields and is now painting as he never has before. Inlays, streaks, vortexes of a yellow that at times lights up with red and you feel, in every way you feel, that somewhere the voice of the wind of that June 1888 in Arles is rising. And Vincent with the wind.

exhibition curated by
Marco Goldin

Padua, Centro San Gaetano
16 January – 26 February 2021