The icons had value as they focused the people’s feelings and prayers, but – only if they aroused amazement and devotion – did they acquire value.
Thunderstruck by the Madonna and Child on the throne and two patrons of Paolo Veneziano at the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice, I started working on it without quite knowing why. I was inspired by her powerful and composed beauty, archaic and classical at the same time, the direct gaze that moves me because it seems to belong to the sphere of truth – like a revelation.
Paolo Veneziano revisits the typical Byzantine iconography of the Madonna Platytera (or “the widest”) in a Western point of view, the one that bears on her body a tondo painted with the image of Jesus and holds it with her hands, something that did not happen in the Byzantine painting, while her beautiful mantle envelops the faithful in prayer. With empathy I began to work around it to conceive, conceived. It was natural for me to use poor materials, even waste materials that held up well its compositional elegance, to replace the bolus gilding of the halos with the iron filings of the keys that symbolically open doors – or with the cake cards (MADONNA 1) that recall the antique lace, or decorate her cloak with images of prisoners or models taken from newspapers (MADONNA3) still insert in her womb my children or the world (- the black hole of the whole universe, MADONNA2) feeling in that image as a continuity with the archaic ancestral female divinity; I made three great variations and compositions.
In the same way, the choice and attraction for the Annunciation by Simone Martini, now in the Uffizi, was immediate. In MADONNA SIMONE the Madonna with a book in her hand portrays herself as if to express a hesitation, her weighting. In the painting I have placed, side by side with her, women from different eras and an image of a guerrilla – like pieces of a single large canvas.