PAINTING STONE is the fifth exhibition at Villa Lontana which references the Santarelli Collection as an archive and starting point for its curatorial thinking. In this exhibition our focus is on how stone has been used as a surface with which to create something new—another layer and therefore another surface. Among the greater focus on classical statuary, the Collection contains oil paintings on stone dated between the XVI and XVII century, many coloured marbles and architecture fragments from Imperial Rome and a selection of Paesina stones which have been the starting point around this exhibition.
The Paesina stone is the most singular example of ‘pictorial stone' in the limestone family because of the depictions it enables it is also called: landscape stone. Painters and engravers used it as a background in oil paintings, where the landscapes depicted on these stones by nature were completed by the artists’ additional imagery. The specificity of these works on stone bears a close relationship to non-linear ‘histories of painting’. The surface of the stone is used to stimulate relationships with its natural formation of geometric patterns and tonal nuances, some of which suggest a more ‘expressive’ gestural instigation.
Adelaide Cioni, Isabella Ducrot, David Kakabadze, Lucy McKenzie, Anne Minich, Francis Offman, Christopher Page, Delfina Scarpa, Mario Schifano, Jeffrey Stuker and Vivian Suter respond in different ways to unpack and enjoy the complexities, dynamics and visual excitement to be found in painted marble. “If you look upon an old wall covered with dirt, or the odd appearance of some streaked stones, you may discover several things like landscapes, battles, clouds, uncommon attitudes, humorous faces, draperies [...] Out of this confused mass of objects, the mind will be furnished with abundance of designs and subjects perfectly new.” (From “A New Method of Assisting the Invention in Drawing Original Compositions of Landscape” by Alexander Cozens, ca. 1785).Download Press Release