Van Gogh. I colori della vita

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

Piero Vignozzi
The garden of irises

When Vincent van Gogh knocked on the door of the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum for the mentally ill in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence on 8 May 1889, accompanied by the Protestant minister of Arles, Frédéric Salles, he did not know he was about to have an apparition. He walked along the avenue of white stones leading to the fine Romanesque church with the home of the institute’s director Dr Peyron on the left. Before going to him, he noticed some irises on the right against the stone wall at the end of the avenue. He looked at them admiringly. Once again there were flowers, with that colour of a fading sunset and an evening made of moss and silent breaths; of enchantment. Over the following days, dr Peyron’s prohibition to go outside the walls of Saint-Paul obliged him to make an exploration within. And in the garden he discovered precisely the irises, as the first subject for his painting in that new place in Provence.

The choice of the great Florentine artist Piero Vignozzi was easy when thinking of irises. He has painted these flowers many times over the course of his life; indeed, he has made them one of the most beautiful elements of his poetic and touching work, settled on the nothing of a glow of light. He started to work immediately on new versions of the irises in view of this exhibition. I have known Vignozzi for a long time, I have written many things on him, so nothing of his work should be a surprise to me. But on looking at the irises he has put on paper over these past weeks I was immediately struck with astonishment before so much beauty. Vignozzi has taken on Van Gogh’s sense of secret melancholy on entering the asylum. That being, the irises in the garden, the start and end of the horizon, the need to stay and the hope of going. Van Gogh put his soul into that evening-like colour, and Vignozzi likewise his own.

exhibition curated by
Marco Goldin

Padua, San Gaetano
16 January – 26 February 2021