Storia dell’arte 153, Gennaio – Giugno 2020
Opere al nero. Maurizio Calvesi tra iconologia e critica militante
The essay starts from the fundamental study by Calvesi A Noir (Melencolia I) published in the first issue of the journal “Storia dell’arte” in 1969; a cornerstone of iconological studies interpreting the famous etching by Albrecht Dürer in an alchemical key. The article highlights how Calvesi’s line of research on art and alchemy has been constantly related to his militant activity as an art critic.
In this intertwining Calvesi has had extraordinary collaborations with Fabio Sargentini and his gallery L’Attico (for example in exhibitions like Fuoco Immagine Acqua Terra, 1967 or Fine dell’alchimia, 1970) and with several protagonists of contemporary art in the sixties and seventies like Pino Pascali, Jannis Kounellis, Gino De Dominicis, Luca Patella and Vettor Pisani, in pioneering critical readings also related to his studies on Caravaggio.
The line of research culminated in the important 1975 book Duchamp invisibile (republished in an expanded edition in 2016), an alchemical reading of Duchamp’s work based on a vast and rigorous series of references, in the “alchemical” vision of the new painting of the eighties, also in its relationship with de Chirico,down to the intimate hermetic melancholy of a volume of poems published in 2011.