Reconstruct the life of Vincenzo Gemetto as if it were a mystery movie, with a mystery to solve and clues to follow. It was suggested by Neri Marcory and Art Knight with Gemito. The Mad Sculptor ”, a documentary film by Luigi Bengitore – Produced by Persona Produzione, in collaboration with Rai Cultura – broadcast on Wednesday January 25th at 21.15 on Rai 5.
The mystery is the protagonist of the documentary. Who was Jimito? A brilliant artist or a sick mind illuminated from time to time by the light of talent? An artist rooted in the past with his obsessive search for realism, or a pioneer of modernism who foresaw the destiny of art, to bring realism toward an absolute ideal? Was he an abandoned bastard who had just been born and formed by a Neapolitan chiaroscuro, or a completely European artist, comparable to Rodin and Medardo Rosso? To answer these questions we must start from the idea of ”division”: Gemito’s life is, in fact, divided into two parts, just as the Naples in which he lived was divided into two parts. On the one hand, the affluent European city, the destination of the last of the Great Tour’s fires and heading towards the freedom of the beginning of the century. On the other hand, the deep city, full of shadows and mysteries, the popular city where Caravaggio’s vicissitudes resound and where Gemetto finds the models that inspire him for his sculptures. However, the date that divides Gimito’s life in two is August 20, 1887, the day he was taken to the psychiatric hospital. But before that 1887, there was a very early appearance at the age of seven in a store; attending the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, from which he runs away because he is unable to adapt to the classical and mythical style; the sudden adventure in Paris, the world capital of art where the Impressionists and the early avant-garde were about to explode and which sees Gemetto triumph in all the intellectual salons of the time; His fame and success make him an international figure. Return to Naples, and the agonizing decision to accept the commission for a marble statue of Charles V which will lead him to a period of self-imprisonment that leads to hospitalization in a mental hospital.
When he emerges from his prison term at the beginning of the 20th century, he will paradoxically find a city of Naples looking instead only to the future: the avant-garde in architecture, painting and sculpture.
The documentary features Wanda Marasco, writer and author of a novel dedicated to Gemito (The Genius of Abandonment); Maria Simonetta de Marines, professor and art historian. Sylvain Bellenger, General Director of the Museum and Real Bosco di Capodimonte; Paolo La Motta, Neapolitan sculptor from the “Gemiana” tradition; Francesco Capasso, an artist of Caserta from the “anti-gemite” tradition; Jean-Loup Champions, French artist and curator of the Gemito exhibition held at the Petit Palais in Paris in 2019 and in 2020 at the Museo Capodimonte in Naples; Isabella Valente, Professor of Contemporary Art History; Antimo Casertano and Daniela Ioia, actors of the show “Gemito l’arte d”o crazy”.
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