Art Night Rai Story

Art Night

The reconstruction of the life of Vincenzo Gemito as if it were a mystery film, with a riddle to solve and clues to follow. It is performed by Neri Marcorè and “Art Night” with “Gemito. The Mad Sculptor”, a documentary by Luigi Pingitore – produced by Persona Produzioni in collaboration with Rai Cultura – will be broadcast on Rai 5 on Wednesday 25 January at 21:15.
The riddle is the real protagonist of the documentary. Who was Gemito? A brilliant artist or a sick mind occasionally enlightened by the light of talent? An artist anchored in the past with his obsessive quest for realism, or a forerunner of modernism who saw art’s destiny to push realism to the absolute ideal? Was he an abandoned foundling, newly born and shaped by the chiaroscuro of Naples, or a thoroughly European artist who could be compared to Rodin and Medardo Rosso? To answer these questions, we must start from the idea of ​​”split”: Gemito’s life is actually divided in two, just like the Naples where he lived was divided in two. On the one hand the rich European city, the target of the last fires of the Grand Tour and moving towards the freedom of the beginning of the century. On the other hand, the visceral city full of shadows and mysteries, the beloved city where the echoes of Caravaggio’s vicissitudes reverberate and where Gemito finds the models that inspire him for his sculptures. However, the date that divides Gemito’s life in two is August 20, 1887, the day he is admitted to the psychiatric hospital. But before that there is a very precocious debut at the age of 7 in a shop in 1887; Attends the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, which he escapes because he cannot adapt to the classical and mythographic style; the sudden adventure in Paris, the world capital of art, where the Impressionists and the first avant-gardes explode and Gemito triumphs in all the intellectual salons of the time; his fame and cross-border success make him an international character; the return to Naples and the painful decision to accept the commission for the statue of Charles V in marble, which will lead him to a period of self-imprisonment to the point of confinement in a psychiatric hospital.
Paradoxically, when he emerges from his self-imprisonment at the beginning of the 20th century, he finds a Naples that instead looks only to the future: avant-gardes in architecture, painting and sculpture.
The documentary stars Wanda Marasco, writer and author of a novel dedicated to Gemito (The Genius of Abandonment); Maria Simonetta De Marinis, professor and art historian; Sylvain Bellenger, Director General of the Museum and Real Bosco di Capodimonte; Paolo La Motta, Neapolitan sculptor of the “Gemiana” tradition; Francesco Capasso, Caserta artist of the “anti-Semitic” tradition; Jean Loup Champions, French artist and curator of the exhibition on Gemito held at the Petit-Palais in Paris in 2019 and at the Capodimonte Museum in Naples in 2020; Isabella Valente, Professor of Contemporary Art History; Antimo Casertano and Daniela Ioia, actors of the show “Gemito l’arte d”o crazy”.