Top news stories from the world of Italian art and culture for the week ended 21st May 2023.
Opera based on Eco’s The Name of the Rose
La Scala commissions an opera based on the late Italian writer Umberto Eco’s 1980 novel The Name of the Rose. Set to premiere at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala in April 2025, it will be directed by Damiano Michieletto.
La Scala, together with the Paris Opéra and Genoa’s Teatro Carlo Felice, commissioned the work from Pisan composer Francesco Filidei.
“This is a very important work,” said La Scala superintendent Dominique Meyer. “We don’t want to just have a nice evening, but an event,” he added.
The project has the support of the Italian Society of Authors and Publishers (Siae).
Archaeologists uncover the remains of two more people at Pompeii
Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of two people at the Pompeii archaeological site. They are thought to be victims of an earthquake that accompanied the 79AD Mount Vesuvius eruption, Gabriel Zuchtriegel, the director of the archaeological site, said on Tuesday.
The skeletons were found during excavations at the Insula of the Chaste Lovers (Insula dei Casti Amanti).
They were lying on one side in what archaeologists say was a disused service room. Data suggests both died from multiple fractures sustained after parts of the building collapsed.
“Modern excavation techniques help us to understand increasingly better the inferno that destroyed the entire city of Pompeii in two days, killing many inhabitants,” Zuchtriegel said.
The remains are said to be of men aged at least 55. One had the remains of a cloth bundle containing six coins and five necklace beads around his neck. One of the pair was found with his arm up as if warding off a collapsing wall.
In the same room archaeologists also found an amphora and a collection of vases, bowls and jugs.
The collapsed masonry and remaining standing walls also show strong evidence of the strength of the earthquake that accompanied the eruption.
Cheap painting could be a Monet
Two weeks ago, a Piacenza lawyer and art collector bought a portrait of a girl for a knock-down price at Milan auction. A Bologna expert told local daily Libertà it could be a priceless work by French Impressionist master Claude Monet.
The lawyer, Carlo Romagnoli, bought the 104×74.5 cm work for a few thousand euros at the end of April. Art critic Vladimir Cicognani, a consultant for the Bologna lawcourts and chambers of commerce, now says it may fetch stellar prices after it is authenticated as a Monet.
“Yes, to say that it is a Monet is correct in my opinion,” Cicognani told Libertà. “It was probably painted around 1910, it’s a painting worth several million euros.”
He said although it was not listed in any catalogue, and was not one of Monet’s characteristic landscape works, it bore his signature.
Even despite the signature, said Cicognani, “signatures don’t really matter because I have studied this artist’s whole oeuvre and I recognise this painting as by him”.
Accademia holds image rights to Michelangelo’s David
A Florence court upheld the Accademia’s image rights of works over Michelangelos’ David on Monday. They ruled in favour of the museuem after a top publishing house used an image of the Renaissance statue for advertising purposes in one of its magazines.
Read the full article on Michelangelo’s David, here.