There is no time to lose. On November 25, that is, in a few days, the Parisian auction house “Artcurial” will auction the sale of a masterpiece by Girolamo Alibrandi, the “Madonna with Child and San Giovannino”. For this reason, a spontaneous committee of citizens addressed a appeal to Elvira Amata, the new councilor for cultural heritage of the Sicilian Region, so that he intervenes promptly so that the canvas of the great Messina painter is acquired to the Sicilian artistic heritage.
Numerous art historians, intellectuals and ordinary citizens signed the open letter. There are at least a hundred. Starting with Teresa Pugliatti, Franca Campagna Cicala, Gioacchino Barbera and Caterina Di Giacomo, former directors of the Regional Museum, Mirella Vinci, Superintendent of Cultural Heritage, Grazia Musolino, former director of the Superintendency and the Museum, Tosi Siragusa, director of the Regional Library. And many more.
What can be done in just six days to try to buy the painting is difficult to say, but it is certain that all the human and institutional resources must be put in place so that at least we can get in touch with the well-known French auction house and perhaps start a private negotiation. On the other hand, the starting figure is not prohibitive, 60-80 thousand euros, and there will certainly be many collectors or representatives of world museum institutions who will want to get their hands on a painting of this importance and artistic value from the Italian sixteenth century. The signatories of the letter are keen to underline that, while aware of the current great difficulty, in starting and carrying out the acquisition, they intend this initiative of theirs as an expression of affection for the artistic heritage of the city.
The picture, a panel transferred to canvas, as can be clearly seen from the photograph, is of dazzling beauty with its colors and harmony, which enhance the brushstroke of an author considered among the most interesting and significant of the Renaissance. Our painting is very reminiscent of the “Madonna dei Giardini” – which is located in the parish church of Santo Stefano Medio -, one of the artist’s most famous and most beautiful works, from a little later. Only black and white photos of the “Madonna with Child and San Giovannino” existed until today, since it had long since disappeared from the antiques market, since it had become part of the private collection of an anonymous person in 1983 who acquired, also in Paris, for 200 thousand francs. At the time, the painting was accompanied by a certificate from Mina Gregori, one of the most authoritative Italian scholars, who attributed it to Cesare da Sesto and Cesare Bernazzano.
Since then, nothing more had been heard, until the painting came back into circulation. To find out the art historian of Messina origins, Ranieri Melardi, an expert on the Peloritan artist, who last week launched a heartfelt appeal, through an article signed by Milena Romeo, for the Sicilian Region to participate in the auction. But nothing has happened since then. And this is also because the new president of the Region, Renato Schifani, had not yet appointed the councilor for culture.
In 1987 the Region intervened, in the case of the panels of “San Pietro and San Paolo”. Decisive at that juncture was the attribution to the great artist from Messina of the two works by Sergio Marinelli, with an essay in the magazine “Paragone”. Another element that would link the two panels to the Madonna we are talking about is the debate, still ongoing, between those who argue that the canvas (which we remember was on a panel) of the “Madonna with Child and San Giovannino” would constitute the central part of a triptych to whose sides would have been the two saints. Teresa Pugliatti takes sides against this hypothesis, in favor of Campagna Cicala, one of the leading experts of Alibrandi, who believes that the link between the three works lies in the morphological peculiarities of the tree that is located behind the Virgin, completely similar to the one behind San Paul.
Auction base 60,000/80,000 euros. Authoritative art historians have already pronounced themselves on the authenticity and value of the painting. The undersigned 246 citizens, trusting in the sensitivity and active industriousness of Elvira Amata, Regional Councilor for Cultural Heritage and Sicilian Identity, ask that the Sicilian Region intervene with the utmost urgency to acquire this work and return it to Messina, which has given the birthplace of the painter and preserves the most significant testimonies largely exhibited in the Regional Museum.
Vincenzo Abbate – Federico Alagna – Rosamaria Alibrandi – Claudia Aliotta – Giuseppa Alizzi – Lilli Aloisio – Benedetta Alosi – Angelika Ansaldo Patti – Nicola Antonazzo – Sveva Arcovito – Grazia Arena – Nino Armeli – Ninni Artemisia – Giuseppa Asta – Pippo Azzolina – Antonio Baglio – Marica Bandieramonte – Gioacchino Barbera – Liliana Barbera – Fabio Bedulli – Sergio Bertolami – Francesca Billé – Patrizia Billè – Giuseppina Bonanno – Gloria Bonanno – Attilio Borda Bossana – Francesca Borgia – Natale Borgosano – Salvatore Bottari – Valeria Bottari – Carmelo Briguglio – Patrizia Briguglio – Virginia Buda – Rocco Burgio – Mario Caggegi – Antonio Calabrese – Francesco Calogero – Lillina Calvo – Luciana Caminiti – Antonio Campagna – Lorenzo Campagna – Franca Campagna Cicala – Francesco Paolo Campione – Maria Cannatà – Laura Cappuccio – Paola Cardiano – Giuseppe Carullo – Rosa Catania Cucchiara – Oriana Celesti – Giampaolo Chillè – Franco Chillemi – Cettina Chiofalo – Antonino Cicero – Cinz ia Cigni – Francesco Cimino – Caterina Ciolino – Josette Clemenza – Roberto Cobianchi – Antonella Cocuccio – Francesco Coglitore – Nino Conti Nibali – Sergio Conti Nibali – Lina Coppo – Biancamaria Cordovani – Giovanna Costantino – Alba Crea – Maria Cucè – Carmen Currò – Elvira D’ Friend – Raffaella D’Amico – Michela D’Angelo – Rosario D’Anna – Fabio D’Arrigo – Agostino De Caro – Sergio De Cola – Antonella De Fichy – Luigi De Gregorio – Paola De Gregorio – Maria De Leo – Concetta De Luca – Lietta De Salvo – Eleonora Della Valle – Saverio Di Bella – Caterina Di Giacomo – Gianni Di Giacomo – Sergio Di Giacomo – Angela Di Giovanni – Lucietta Di Paola – Anita Di Stefano – Marialaura Dini – Eugenio Enea – Mario Falcone – Giacomo Farina – Ida Fazio – Vincenzo Fera – Giancarlo Ferlito – Giovanni Franci – Francesco Galletta – Anna Maria Garufi – Antonia Gasparro – Nicola Gazzamo – Gioacchino Gazzara – Giuseppa Gemellaro – Lorenzo Genitori – Marisa Genovese – Paolo Ghirlanda – Luigi Giacobbe – P Peter Giacopello – Enrico Giannitrapani – Giuseppe Giordano – Cesare Giorgianni – Agostino Giuliano – Giovanni Giura – Eliade Maria Grasso – Filippo Grasso – Maria Katja Guida – Nicolò Gullì – Luigi Hyerace – Marina Iannello – Caterina Ingoglia – Marcello Ingrassia – Giovanna La Maestra – Luigi La Rosa – Elena La Spada – Antonio Lanfranchi – Giulia Lanfranchi – Sara Lanfranchi – Stefania Lanuzza – Rosalba Lazzarotto – Adolfo Leporino – Davide Liotta – Giuseppa Liotta – Giuseppe Lipari – Lidia Lo Schiavo – Fabrizio Longo – Francesca Luppino – Giuseppe Magazzù – Francesco Maggio – Alessandro Mancuso – Antonella Mangano – Nino Mantineo – Rosa Manuli – Luciano Marabello – Rosa Marquis – Rosa Marra – Giovanna Martines – Laura Martines – Federico Martino – Giuseppe Martino – Pippo Martino – Ranieri Melardi – Giovan Giuseppe Mellusi – Domenico Mento – Rosanna Merlino – Rossella Merlino – Cettina Messina – Marcello Minasi – Paolo Musarra – Grazia Musolino – Rossella Musolino Savica – Cesare N atoli – Maria Luisa Natoli – Daniela Novarese – Antonella Nuccio – Francesco Nuccio – Carmela Orlando – Franca Orlando – Mariangela Orlando – Deborah Orto – Rosaria Ottanà – Stella Paino – Rosa Maria Palermo – Tina Palmisano – Sabrina Pandolfo – Maria Pia Pavone Alajmo – Antonella Piazza – Daniela Picciolo – Daniela Pistorino – Mariangela Pizzo – Giuseppe Polizzi – Silvana Polizzi – Carmen Pollicino – Corradina Polto – Daniele Pompeiano – Concetta Prestipino Giarritta – Santi Prestipino Giarritta – Valentina Prudente – Carmelina Puccio – Teresa Pugliatti – Carmen Puglisi – Giovanna Quartarone – Annalisa Raffa – Massimo Raffa – Giuseppe Rando – Giuseppe Restifo – Rosalba Ristagno – Gerardo Rizzo – Marilù Roberto – Maria Teresa Rodriguez – Angela Ruggeri – Domenica Ruggeri – Alessandra Salutari – Angelo Salvo – Marietta Salvo – Mario Sarica – Flavia Scalici – Rita Scamardi – Rosaria Scandurra – Pietro Scardilli – Hermann Schultze – Elena Scrima – Melina Sergi Prudente – Valeria Sestini – Antonietta Signorino – Guido Signorino – Salvatore Signorino – Pia Simone – Tommasa Siragusa – Irene Spadaro – Dina Spagnolio – Salvatore Speziale – Maria Spiccia – Claudio Staiti – Silvia Staiti – Mimma Stornante – Rina Stracuzzi – Cleide Sturniolo – Fabio Todesco – Sergio Todesco – Giovanni Travagliato – Aldo Trifiletti – Francesco Tripodi – Luciano Troja – Daniela Uccello – Mariella Urzì – Antonella Vadalà De Leo – Francesca Valbruzzi – Daniela Villari – Mirella Vinci – Antonio Virgilio – Mariateresa Zagone – Maria Zappalà – Marcello Zappia – Marco Zappia – Amina Zavan – Mariachiara Zucchetti ..
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