Art and Archeology (Artisti moderni )
Prehistoric cave paintings, bronze ornaments, rock designs, the curve of a vase, all the relics of former civilizations have been a reoccurring inspiration to artists over the centuries. We look to prehistory for insight into the most basic human desire for expression in art.
The first mark or object that we know from prehistory resounds within us as a connection to the artist’s expression of what was most meaningful to him.
Whether to honor nature, allay fears, make magic, or to decorate and make beautiful objects, these artists speak to us over the centuries . They show us what it is to be human.
In particular, the archeological work at Starza near Ariano Irpino, is stunning in the depth of prehistoric finds.
The landscape, with valleys and rolling hills scarred by earthquake and successive habitation infuses us, if we let it, with a sense of mystery. The movement of human life echos through the ages . In the swirls of decorated pottery or incised geometrical decorations, we are thrilled by the simplicity and beauty of design. Objects of everyday life in prehistory evoke a life richer in beauty and more sophisticated than we might have imagined.
Thanks to the discoveries and care of archeologists and related scientists and their supporters we are able to know these objects and sites and to gain inspiration and insight from this knowledge.
We artists follow, thousands of years after the first artists, a continuum unbroken in the search for meaning through artistic expression.
1. “Ariano La Starza”. 2006
Acrylic on paper
45.7cm x 61cm
This painting is a landscape memory of the area near La Starza.
Symbols of the Bronze age and fragments of ceramic designs are integrated in the painting to symbolize the conjunction of the ancient past and the timeless landscape.
With bold brushwork and strong color the dynamic landscape is expressed, reminding the viewer of the mystery of the primal forces of nature.
The artist shows her joy and wonder at the beauty of the shapes, color and design of these fragments.
The objects seem to dance in a rhythm of the centuries.
Luca Calandrini (Avellino – Italia)
A hypothetical reconstruction of the disaster which occurred nearly 4000 years ago, when a Vesuvian eruption no less terrible than that of AD 79 buried the village found at Nola. The picture shows the terror of the inhabitants, clearly visible on the faces of the men in the foreground, and realistically portrays the catastrophe: the explosive eruption is brightly coloured, and the reds and violets hurled against the blue background of the sky emphasize the huge mass of the volcano which dominates a nature as yet uncontaminated.
This detailed reconstruction is based on the information gleaned from the meticulously careful excavation conducted in the village in Nola. The reconstruction of the huts, with roofs that reach down to the ground, corresponds to the imprints of bundles of straw found covering the wooden frameworks. The surroundings of the reconstruction of the village show the day to life of the local people, completely in harmony with the natural world. The warm and diffuse colours are those of a summer morning, and everyone is busy, blissfully ignorant of the terrifying disaster that will soon be upon them.
The picture was purposely created on a base resembling fired clay in order to transport the viewer inside the huts found at Nola. The idea had its origin in the presence of the artist during several phases of the excavation of this exceptional discovery. A few artefacts found in the huts are featured: a vase, a headdress composed of plaques cut from young pigs’ tusks, a female figurine, perhaps a domestic hearth divinity. The almost simplistic portrayal and the traces of lamp black which evoke the fire of oven and hearth, the fragments of coarse pottery and shreds of cloth which remind us of the mark left by those present in the huts, all serve to represent the primitiveness of the Bronze Age people who settled around Nola.
The painting has an intentionally rough and simplistic finish. To this end, fingerprints were left on the freshly painted board during the execution of the work and the picture of the vase was made in an imprecise fashion, as was often the case with common ware vessels themselves.
Christian Jegou (Paris-France)
I have been an illustrator since 1970. Early on, I became interested in documentary illustration and historical reconstruction of all epochs. Archaeology has allowed me to create numerous images for publication in books and magazines.When dealing with archaeological scenes, I gather information, especially by talking with the researchers who work in the field, and afterwards I give my imagination free reign until the image forms in my mind. Later, I collect the available pictorial evidence relevant to this picture and use it to imagine myself in the period in question. Then I only have to draw the scene with all these components in order to create the final illustration.
I painted the flight from the village of Nola under the eruption of Somma-Vesuvius (c. 1700 BC) for the magazine “Focus-Italia”. In preparation, I worked together with the archaeologists, who gave me a series of detailed documents on the current state of research and discoveries made at the site of Nola. On this basis, I made a sketch which the archaeologists commented upon, and then produced the illustration published in “Focus”.