On the occasion of the 56th edition of the Venice Visual Arts Biennale, the Fondazione Casa dello Spirito e delle Arti Onlus, in collaboration with the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, is staging Stabat Mater Dolorosa, an installation by Giovanni Manfredini, Ennio Morricone and Anna Maria Canopi, inspired by the life of Christ and his passion.
Born out of a story of human suffering, which art has transfigured, Giovanni Manfredini’s Stabat Mater Dolorosa consists of a suspended copper crown of rose branches coated in gold. Only the music of the great composer Ennio Morricone, the voice of Anna Maria Canopi and two invisible threads hold the illuminated crown in place without any supports. As such it represents and speaks of the sorrow of the Virgin Mary and that of every woman and every man and the stations of the cross.
Although this artistic project stems from personal experience, it becomes universal. Like the lines in Jacopone da Todi’s prayer with the same title (Eia, Mater, fons amoris, / me sentire vim doloris / fac ut tecum lugeam; “O, Mother, fountainhead of love / let me feel the same pain / so that I may weep with you”), it offers redemption by glorifying the suffering of Christ, the Virgin Mary and humanity.
The journey of the crown begins at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini during the 56th edition of the Venice Biennale and will then move on to another six “stations”, from New York to Berlin, from Berlin to Istanbul, before finally arriving in Rome.
Giovanni Manfredini has held solo shows in Madrid, Naples, Rome, Berlin, Basel, Berne, London, Frankfurt and Stuttgart.
Principal collective shows: 54th Venice Biennale, MoMA, New York, Stedelijk Museum, Gand. His works have been shown alongside those of Caravaggio in the Cerasi Chapel in the church of Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome; a large triptych by him is in the Kaiserdom, Frankfurt; and many of his works have been acquired by private and public collections, including the Kunsthalle, Stuttgart, the Kunstmuseum, Bonn, the SMAK, Gand, the Fukuyama Museum of Art, the Gallera d’arte moderna, Bologna, and the MART, Trento and Rovereto.
Anna Maria Cànopi was born at Pecorara on 24 April 1931.
At a very early age she felt the vocation for the monastic life of silence and contemplation. She is the founder and abbess of Mater Ecclesiae, a Benedictine abbey on the Island of San Giulio on Lake Orta, in the province of Novara. She is a well-known and greatly valued author of many books on monastic and Christian spirituality. She is also an authority in the field of biblical, liturgical and monastic spirituality.
She collaborated on the CEI version of the Bible, the catechism of the Catholic Church and editions of the new missals and lectionaries.
She drafted the text for the Via Crucis of Pope John Paul II at the Coliseum in 1993. In 1995 she bore witness to her life as a Benedictine nun at the conference of European young people held at Loreto. On 30 August 2009 she welcomed to her abbey Gregory III Laham, Patriarch of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, who celebrated the Holy Mass according to the Greek Byzantine rite.
Ennio Morricone is an Italian composer, musician and conductor. During his career he has tackled all the kinds of compositions, both absolute music and applied music, first as an orchestrator and conductor in the field of recordings and then as a composer for theatre, radio, television and cinema.
Since 1960 Ennio Morricone has written soundtracks for over 400 films, often working with many Italian and international directors (such as Sergio Leone, Gillo Pontecorvo, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Bernardo Bertolucci, Giuliano Montaldo, Lina Wertmuller, Giuseppe Tornatore, Brian De Palma and Roman Polanski).
His production of absolute music includes over 100 compositions since 1946. He has conducted various orchestras worldwide, including the Orchestra dell’Accademia di Santa Cecilia (several seasons), the Orchestra Filarmonica e del Coro Filarmonico della Scala, the Orchestra del Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, the Orchestra of the Budapest Opera House, and the Orquesta Nacionales de España.
In his long career Ennio Morricone has received numerous awards including 8 Silver Ribbons, 5 BAFTA Awards, 5 Oscar Nominations, 7 David Di Donatellos, 3 Golden Globes, 1 Grammy Award, 1 European Film Award, as well as a Golden Lion and a Lifetime Achievement Oscar.
The Fondazione Casa dello Spirito e delle Arti Onlus was founded in Milan in 2012 by Arnoldo Mosca Mondadori and Marisa Baldoni in memory of Vittorio Baldoni and is presided by Emanuele Vai. The Foundation is the outcome of the founders’ long social and cultural work dedicated to the most vulnerable sections of the Italian and international community.
The Foundation has symbolically adopted as its inalienable heritage two art works, which together form an ideal diptych entitled The Death and Resurrection of Man. The first work is a Crucifix (donated by the artist Mimmo Paladino), and the second depicts the Resurrection (donated by the artist Pietro Coletta). The figure of Christ is thus the starting point for all the Foundation’s activities.
The cultural and project model of its Statute is inspired by the Evangelical message of the “Sermon on the Mount”, based on the recognition of the other’s need as if it were one’s own.
The Foundation thus sets out to give a voice, dignity and support to people who live in the existential margins of society, in a state of poverty, exploitation and social exclusion.
All the Foundation’s projects are based on the arts as a way of communicating the beauty of the Spirit which, according to the Gospel “blows wherever it wishes”. The arts are also the means whereby the presence of Christ “is incarnated” without ever being an imposition and can touch all people, both believers and non-believers. This implies a new idea of the city: inclusive, plural, looking to the future and to all those who will be tomorrow’s citizens.
The Foundation’s main aims include working so that culture has a primary founding value for human beings and their relations with the world, and so that the arts (in the widest sense of the term, therefore: music, painting, sculpture, poetry, literature, philosophy, theatre and dance) give a voice, support and opportunity for redemption to those who live on the margins of society.
Among the projects realised by the Foundation are: the Orchestra dei Popoli Vittorio Baldoni, a multi-ethnic orchestra bringing together children and young people of various ethnic backgrounds – endowed with a great talent for music and who often come from situations of extreme economic and social hardship – with students from the Milan Conservatoire and other music schools, which accompany the young talents in their artistic development; Porta di Lampedusa, Porta d’Europa, an installation by Mimmo Paladino in memory of migrants who have perished at sea, which the Pope visited when he went to the island of Lampedusa and where he held his first encyclical (summer 2013). Over the last few months the relationship with Pope Francis has grown even closer thanks to the project “Carry it everywhere: the Cross of Lampedusa”, based on a cross 2.8 metres high, made by the carpenter Franco Tuccio with the remains of wood from the migrants’ shipwrecked boats.
The Pope blessed Cross in the Vatican on 9 April 2014. Since then it has travelled on a cultural and spiritual journey, promoted by the Foundation and inspired by the Pope’s highly meaningful words “Carry it everywhere”. This journey has taken the Cross to parish churches, monasteries, and towns and cities in Italy, as a symbol of memory and prayer but also as a means of bringing together and uniting the faithful and lay people in the various communities.
Right from its initial activities focused on the social and cultural world, the Casa dello Spirito e delle Arti has been able to rely on the support, participation and friendship of many major figures on the Italian cultural scene, such as Ennio Morricone, Mimmo Paladino, Pietro Coletta, Giovanni Manfredini, Franco Cerri and Franco Battiato.