Giovanni Pini 1929-2020, in the painter’s studio: a poetic itinerary in memory

The Three Lives of Giovanni Pini. An artist who made poetry his stylish signature, a Hellenist, an expert on the language and culture of ancient Greece at an international level, a talented professor who, after university, taught Greek and Latin in high schools in Fermo, Cesena and finally, for example, for many years at the Liceo Classico Evangelista Torricelli in Faenze: a natural place for a teacher like him, with a passion for Greek culture and, above all, a natural ability to transfer this feeling to the children who followed his lessons with fascination.

Four years after his death, Professor Giovanni Pini is commemorated by the anthology exhibition “In the Painter’s Studio: A Poetic Itinerary in Memory”, which will be open and accessible from April 27 (starting at 10 a.m.) to May 26 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. in the exhibition spaces of the Church of Santa Maria dell’Angelo in Faenza.

An iconic place because it is located next to the Liceo Ginnasio Evangelista Torricelli”, where he taught for many years.

The exhibition features around a hundred paintings created using four different techniques: oil paintings on canvas and panel, pastels on cardboard, natural dust and sand on panel, and collage on panel.

The tribute exhibition dedicated to Giovanni Pini is organized by the Association Former Students of Liceo Torricelli Faenza in collaboration with the Pini family and the Diocesan Museum, under the auspices of the municipality of Faenza and with the support of La BCC Banca di Credito Cooperativo Ravennate Forlivese Imolese and Chemifarma.

The initiative also includes a study day entitled “Giovanni Pini painter, teacher, Greek scholar” scheduled for Saturday June 1st (10:00 a.m.) a few days after the end of the exhibition at the Auditorium Palazzo degli Studi (via Santa Maria dell’ Angelo, 1 in Faenza) , which will be attended by the architect Franco Bertoni, artistic director of the Ugonia Museum in Brisighella, professor Giovanni Casadio, professor at the University of Salerno and professor Luigi Neri, former principal of Torricelli-Ballardini High School.

Giovanni Pini embodied the Epicurean motto lathe biòsas (hidden alive) because his modus vivendi was completely focused on being and on expressing his own interiority, far from the mirrors of appearance, in the silence of his creative dimension.

Professor Pini – with the modesty that characterized him – defined himself almost unobtrusively as “self-taught and craftsman”, but he was more than anything a homo faber of Renaissance memory thanks to his form mentis, his classical culture and modus pingendi. In fact, over the years he sang his own well-defined poetics, experimenting and coining specific techniques.

And the voice of poetry stands out clearly in Giovanni Pini’s paintings, quiet and rare works that reflect his shy and reserved character. The artist, who always painted freely, described the Romagna plains, old houses and hills, sometimes the sea or canal huts, always reducing the composition to the essentials and filtering the atmospheres with a soft, light, quiet chromatic range. Houses, trees, roads, ditches, from which the removal of details allowed the soul to be told.

Giovanni Pini, born in Bologna in 1929, attended classical studies and then graduated in ancient literature at the University of Bologna. To the study of the classics – translated from the Greek by Panàrion of Epiphanius, a Greek bishop and writer of the 4th century, revered as a saint and Father of the Church, a monumental work on which Pini worked for ten years, and published by Morcelliana. The House of Brescia published three books of Epifania totaling 2,576 pages – always combining his love for drawing and painting, which he had pursued since his youth, although he never attended art school, persisting in this activity throughout the summers in which he was a teacher of Greek and Latin at secondary schools in Fermo, Cesena and finally in Faenza. After leaving teaching in 1989, Pini devoted himself entirely to art, painting until his last years on the farm where he lived in the countryside of Solarolo. During all these years he held various solo exhibitions and participated in group exhibitions where he achieved gratifying successes.

Pini was a singer of nature, of his Romagna, creating pictorial solutions of great charm: the landscape of the Faenza countryside and the hills – among which the tower of Oriolo dei Fichi stands out – and the huts in the lower area of ​​Ravenna, as well as his nocturne, vibrate softly enveloped in a sweet, dreamy, elegiac, until velvety atmosphere.

The lyrical colors of the landscapes are obtained with pastels that Pini himself made using and grinding natural elements, graduated in a wide tonal range.

Another technique used by Pini is the sui generis collage, which testifies to the modernity of his experimentation, in a constant dialogue with the most significant artistic experiences of the twentieth century, starting with the experience of the historical avant-gardes, evoking with the same wisdom – to quote Franco Basile – the “chromatic chords of Braque” and ” the shrouded atmospheres of Morandi’, the ‘flashes of De Pisis’ and the ‘cloudy drafts of Sironi’, the ‘refined intricacies of Dubuffet’ and the ‘wise parts of Gauguin'”.

For this reason, Pini’s art represents a perfection that celebrates the territory of Romagna in a continuous and constant dialogue with the cultural currents of the “Short Century”.

A painting by Giovanni Pini in his words

Giovanni Pini explained his way of painting as follows: “My painting has always been more interested in color than in sign. In an amalgam of colors, both in watercolor, which I preferred to use in paste and without water, and in temperas or oils, I found and continue to find the most sympathetic expression of my painting. Although I did not limit myself to only one type – any – color, in my constant self-taught, I gradually experimented with various mixtures and composite techniques, repeatedly studying and testing them to obtain adequate expressions. So I tried several ways to remove the sometimes distracting sheen of the oil, for example by mixing the colors with chalk and sand to get a more porous and opaque density. Tempera colors used on absorbent paper with the addition of wood glues acquire a less bright tone than ordinary temperas. With the matte, chalky but warm tones of pastel colors, effects are achieved that are impossible with other techniques. However, pastels cannot be overlapped because when overlapped they precipitate into a dull and meaningless mixture. So in order to have an almost infinite range of intermediate tones, I made myself by fusing in a suitable glue colored earths with other commercially available pastels (“Lefranc” or “Rembrandt”): and I use these pastels made by me. Another experiment I have been practicing for some time is collage: not only collage with papers according to old techniques from the beginning of our century, but collage with other materials such as stone or marble dust, sand, plaster. , cut stones. A very strong adhesive fixes them to the substrate and the paint remains flat and opaque. These materials offer a very limited spectrum of colors, from white to greyish purple, from ocher to brown, from black to brick red, yet it is sometimes attractive to play with only a small selection. Colors are naturally compact and rigid, but with appropriate measures it is also possible to obtain subtle shades and chiaroscuro”.

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