Art Gallery

The master Livio Orazio Valentini

On entering the hall of the hotel one can immediately admire the precious collection of contemporary art paintings and sculptures by the most celebrated artist from Orvieto of this century, Livio Orazio Valentini.

Painter, sculptor and master potter, for years a professor of drawing at the state school of Art in Orvieto, Livio Orazio Valentini was born in San Venanzo in 1920 but always had strong ties with Orvieto, where he lived and worked for most of his life and where he died in 2008.

At the age of twenty and for five long years he experienced the gravity of war and was a prisoner in the concentration camp of Buchenwald, an experience which left indelible marks and generated from the middle of the forties his artistic expression and strong love of life.

At the beginning of the fifties he dedicated himself to sculpture. He exhibited in Perugia in 1951 and was noticed by the critic Gerardo Dottori, the futuristic artist of aeropainting with whom he later exhibited in Rome.

Initially a figurative painter, he is attracted by the Informal which he re-elaborates with a personal and original style, giving life to what some critics have defined " Informal Orvietano". Always in the sixties his experience as a sculptor and potter and his constant production of religious art are memorable.

Sensitive to civil and social values, in his work we can find cultural examples which are evident in works of great intensity: the Crucifix(1962) in wood-iron and ceramic and the wonderful painting "L'Eccidio di Camorena.

In 1967 he moved his studio to Rome, in Via Monti della Farina, and Valentino remained in the capital for a year.

From 1968 to 1970 he created works with a naturalistic flavour: paintings and sculptures in clay, drawings and serial graphic work.

From 1970 Valentini adopts the theme of the violent relationship between man and nature .

On reflection on the exercise of the human "hybris" on the environment and animals he begins a long series of "the cycle of the birds". The painting even today is slightly informal and full of great theatrical expression.

Again in 1970, conscious that a city of enormous artistic tradition like Orvieto cannot be without a formative area adequate to its prestigious history, he contributes to the foundation of the Art institute.

In 1971 he participates in seminaries and research interventions at the University of Parma on the significance of expression, with Pietro M. Toesca: this is the occasion for a confrontation among intellectuals and writers and thanks to which Valentini obtains space and prestigious recognition.

In 1975 he leaves for Portugal.

Since 1977 the artistic past hadn't produced in the artist any fascination so as to produce a profound mutation in his style or aesthetic conceptions. Nevertheless, with his work "ten iconologies of the Cathedral of Orvieto" he began a dialogue with history which before this time he hadn't had. Valentini literally "took flight", "un-did" and re-designed lines of sculpture and themes of

sculptures from the façade of the Cathedral.

In 1979 he went to Berlin. His experience of "the wall" excited his sensibility and disdain. On his return to Italy he published a monograph :"A wall, an eccidio of birds" the work is one of criticism in which there are terrible images of the past and the present. All completed with writings by Lipa and Serge Goldstein, Michele Greco, Gerardo Ortese, Angelo Rossi, G.Cavazzini, E. Cantillo , D. Micacchi and P.M.Toesca.

In 1982 Valentini leaves for the United States on invitation by Professor Alan Grahan at the university of Atens (Georgia), the confrontation with American aesthetics seems to influence the public work carried out at the end of 1982 in Piazza Cahen in Orvieto the monument in honour of the 3rd regiment of the Granadiers.

In 1985 he travels to Nigeria where strong African sensations amplify the artistic prospective of an already mature artist.

In was also in 1985 that Valentini takes a journey into the past: after long observation of the frescoes by Signorelli in the Cathedral and a technique already experimented in 1977, the figures "take flight" and are brought back to the ground, the idea becomes a reality in work. First 6 lithographs are created and then a year later the pictorial cycle " Signorelli's apocalypse " exhibited between March and May of 1986 in the Cloister of S.Giovanni in Orvieto as the beginning of the celebrations of the VII centenary of the Cathedral

In 1988 he created a stand at "Cibus" for Barilla. In 1989, after visiting the Sala Elephas at the Spanish fortress in Aquilla he encountered the skeleton of an enormous animal from the beginning of the Quaternary. The encounter provoked an extreme emotion in him and so began the cycle " escape in the Quaternary": cosmic landscapes of huge dimensions, stories of creation, symbolic trophies in clay, sculptures in wood and iron.

In 1997 he stays in Aiken and presents the exhibition "Odissea" dedicated to the university of South Carolina. In 1999 he is invited , by the same American university, to hold a seminar on Italian contemporary art and a laboratory.

In 2001 he is in Charleston, with the exhibition Alter Ego, in occasion of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival and in 2003 yet again in Aiken to receive the degree "honoris causa" in fine arts and to lead the inauguration of the great work "Galassia ", carried out on commission for the same university. One of his monumental works is now housed at the university.

On the 9th June 2004 the huge symbolic structure created by the artist and situated in Orvieto Scalo at the centre of the roundabout which marks the entrance to the city is inaugurated. The so called "ceramic opera" dedicated to Orvieto, the united city. The work synthesises "the promise and the creative capacity to preserve and build" which after the work of consolidation of the tufa city concluded a significant cycle in the recent history of the city of Orvieto.

Years of work and confrontation on the consolidation and recuperation of the enviroment and structure: investigations, exams, historical texts through which the work of Valentini are brought to the attention of those who without a second thought pass under the immense natural monument which is the rock of Orvieto. A sign therefore that the work of Valentini is to remind us in the present and in the future of a significant experience which involved the city from November to the start of the new milenium.

The deep relationship between Livio Orazio Valentini and Orvieto is manifested in everyday life, in his ties with his friends, craftsmen and the people, in his conversations which animated his studio, in the passion which he communicated to his pupils at the Art Lyceum, it can be found in his work in the city which he carried out in the many years of his artistic carrier, in his capacity to represent his Orvieto where he has left emblematic signs, in his enthusiasm in confronting himself, in his commitment as a man and artist to talk about war in order to teach peace. "my ties to Orvieto are particular. After an intense period spent in Rome in contact with the great masters of the twentieth century, De Chirico, Guttuso and others, I came back to Orvieto because it is a formative city, because its monuments, its works of art are just a step away from the townspeople, because when you take that step the monument becomes personalized to each person. To the young I say- Orvieto forms you because in this city there is universal art, not in the small things but in the characterisation of Art"


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