RAGUSA – Prof. Carmelo Occhipinti, a professor at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, opened the three-day international study event “Baroque Heritage – words, forms, perspectives” this morning. Professor Occhipinti’s looks at the Baroque unhinged the traditional perception of the architecture and artistic works produced in the area of Ragusa and Southern Sicily between the 17th and 18th centuries. This morning at the Abbey Church in Ragusa, Occhipinti made a reflection “drawing on the testimonies of the period of reference, not those of art historians who lived in the following two centuries.” “It is important to study an era,” remarked Carmelo Occhipinti, “to draw on the sources of the era itself and to understand what an era’s perception of itself is. Then we realize that the category of Baroque is useless, because it is a category formed much later than the historical period it intends to define. The result is a perception of an era that is completely different from what we get from art history and architectural history texts produced in recent decades.” “Sixteenth- and eighteenth-century artists and artisans claimed to make modern works under the banner of continuity from the sixteenth century. The indisputable masters, such as Raphael and Michelangelo, had in fact taught them to look at classical art not to imitate it but to surpass it, precisely in the direction of modernity. Thus Piero da Cortona claimed to imitate the ancients in order to surpass them in the direction of an effect of vitality, dynamism and movement that Raphael had already been able to impart to his works. We are the ones who tend to contrast these two artistic visions, which are actually in continuity,” added the Ragusa-born professor.
During the institutional greetings, the ff president of GAL Terra Barocca, Domenica Ficano, greeted the distinguished guests who for the entire weekend will help spread the wealth of the unique destination “Enjoy Barocco.” “Three days are very interesting,” he said, “to interweave the traditions and cultural-historical activities of this area.
Doing the honors was the mayor of Ragusa, Peppe Cassì, who, in tune with the mayor of Caltagirone Fabio Roccuzzo, remarked on the importance of working in synergy between the baroque territories of the Val di Noto. Roccuzzo, who is also president of the Unesco Operational Unit of Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto added, “We are an integral part of a large Unesco site, we have a duty to work in this direction, without claiming or parochialism.” Reflections shared by Scicli councillor Peppe Puglisi and Santa Croce Camerina councillor Caterina Gambino, who spoke on behalf of the municipalities belonging to the LAG. LAG director himself, Salvatore Occhipinti, on the other hand, outlined the bets pursued by the local action group, “among them ‘Enjoy Barocco,’ as the first stage of the commitment to sustainable tourism, agribusiness development and social inclusion.”
Also important were the words of Paolo Patané, director of the Val di Noto Late Baroque Towns Managing Body. “The great effort to activate this managing body must continue with contact with the territories. For us, it is crucial to reach out to the network of operators, of which Gal is a fundamental expression, and in general to the citizenry. The crucial step now is to get out of the elitist approach and promote community participation.”
As Marco Platania, university professor and DMO Enjoy Barocco coordinator, and Santo Burgio of the University of Catania explained, networking is important. “The unique destination ‘Enjoy Barocco,'” Platania said, “groups more than 100 companies working in the sector and aims to increase the reputational capital of the unique destination, to make the Val di Noto area a competitive tourist destination in international markets.” “The quantum leap,” Burgio explained, “is to cross homogeneous networks in which we have become accustomed to confront each other. For this reason, Barocco Heritage starts with literary looks at the Baroque, on today’s day, and then tackles the theme of Baroque construction sites and finally, on Sunday, initiates the confrontation between the cultural and economic circuits. We all have to do our part.”
On today’s day, space will then be given to lectures and readings dedicated to the theme of the relationship between Baroque art and literature.
Chair Sandra Condorelli (University of Catania). After Professor Occhipinti’s talk, Massimo Lucarelli (Université de Caen Normandie) traced “The 20th-century idea of Baroque: the Ungaretti case” while Claudio Castelletti from the University of Rome Tor Vergata spoke on “The Imaginative Vate: Baroque Art and Architecture in the Poetics of Gabriele d’Annunzio.”
Also highly anticipated and much appreciated was the talk by Prof. Olivier Bonfait (Université de Bourgogne) with “The Baroque before the Baroque. For a prehistory of the notion from De Brosses to Briganti,” which provided the French view of the late Baroque.
In video link Marcello Fagiolo (CISB – International Center for Baroque Studies) spoke about “The Fall and Resilience of Baroque Civilization in the Historiography of the Twentieth Century,” while Marina Cafà (University of Rome Tor Vergata) and Ezio Donato (University of Catania) with “Literary Journey in the Baroque Landscape of Sicily” captivated the audience present.
Baroque Heritage will move to Modica tomorrow, May 6, for the second day of studies entitled “Baroque-era architects and building sites in Sicily and the Mediterranean.”
Alongside the scientific events, a series of special events have been planned, thanks to the municipalities of the Terra Barocca LAG, with extraordinary openings of palaces, performances, concerts, guided tours, theatrical tours, and museums open at night.