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"The 32 Villas of Andrea Palladio: Watercolors and Drawings by Giovanni Giaconi"
2002-04-15 until 2002-04-26
The Rotonde at the European Union
Brussels, , BE Belgium

Giovanni Giaconi is a designer, an expert in museum merchandising and a skilful surfer. But, most of all, he is a painter of Palladio's villas. After training in an architect studio, he has worked between Vicenza and New York, specialising in the renovation of historic buildings. This activity has been the framework of his main interest which arose after encountering the works of Ottavio Bertotti Scamozzi.

Scamozzi was an architect from Vicenza of the late XVIII, who reproduced with ink the facades of Venetian houses, showing a certain interest towards a realistic representation. Such works gave Giaconi the idea of applying to these monuments a portrait technique, not forgetting the tiniest details and the passing of time.

This idea is usually carried out in different phases: the on the spot survey, accurately measuring each element; the preparatory drawing (an impressionistic image of the house) drawn on paper with a fat pencil; ink on a tracing paper giving to the drawing neatness and precision; and finally the colour, spread with the transparency and the luminosity of the watercolours. Each piece of work takes about one month. In it, the photographic precision and the attention to details are placed out of context: the two-dimensionality of the facades is projected on a flat white background, enhancing the immortal elegance of Palladio's architecture.

This kind of work is realised mostly on the spot. This gives rise to relationship between the artist and the villa owners, who are often the descendants of the first owner. These relationships in many cases become friendships, on the base of their common passion for art and for art conservation.

Some times the owners themselves commission the watercolours. This does not mean that Giaconi is interested in an exclusive public only. In fact, the originals are reproduced in large scale on posters, post cards, presents. Giaconi doesn't forget multimedia: on the www.epalladio.com web site a didactic itinerary can be found among the villas on a virtual territory, with news on the villas and the relevant Giaconi's works. These works can also be seen directly. Giaconi has organised various exhibitions near Vicenza (villa Marcello 1997, villa Thiene 1999), elsewhere in Italy (Rome 1997) and abroad (New York 1998, Stockholm 2000).

Giaconi had always been aiming at painting all of Palladio's villas: thirty-two in all, scattered in the Veneto region and generally in good conditions. The present exhibition shows the result and offers to the public a selection of 32 pieces of work among drawings and watercolours (the two main phases of the artist's work). A gallery where culture, elegance, aesthetic taste come together so that they realise, through many two-dimension portraits, a whole portrait. Of Palladio and of his villas. But also of their refined painter.

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