Rome’s historic Via Margutta flooded with artworks calling for peace
By Andrea Cuesta
Rome, Apr 30 (EFE).- Rome’s historic 100 Pittori (100 painters) open-air festival returned to Via Margutta for its 117th edition which is an artistic celebration of peace.
Rome’s famed Via Margutta, once home to painter Pablo Picasso, has been flooded with thousands of artworks calling for an end to the war in Ukraine.
“It is very important because exhibiting on the street allows us to communicate with the public and to convey our emotions as artists without intermediaries,” Roberta Imperatori, a painter and director of the 100 Pintori association, told EFE.
The first time an open-air show was held on Via Margutta, which had always been a refuge for artists and craftsmen, was in 1953, when several painters who were living on the street, including Picasso, gathered for an impromptu community exhibition to liven up the gloomy postwar atmosphere.
More than half a century later, the historic road remains a go-to place in the city’s art scene with dozens of galleries, antique shops and the annual event which brings together art lovers and curious tourists.
Imperatori has been participating in the festival for years, and for her the festival allows her to show her works, in which women take center stage, “calmly.”
Her paintings launch the Spring edition of the festival, which rose to fame with the rom-com Roman Holidays.
The movie was shot the same year the festival opened, possibly taking advantage of the popularity that the film had given the lane in Rome’s Bohemian quarter, and which starred Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn.
After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the street has once again been flooded with the creations of a hundred painters and two sculptors, including Lanfranco Finocchili, a member of the association, Serbian landscape artist Elena Shamrina and painter Laura Conenna, who makes color-saturated beachscapes.
“After two years of inaction, we have once again paraded through the most important avenue in Rome in terms of art exhibitions,” Conenna said with a beaming smile.
This year organizers have dedicated the festival to Italian figurative painter Paolo Salvati (Rome, 1939-2014), who created wondrous and intensely chromatic depictions of nature.
Participants of this year’s edition have drawn from Salvati’s style: “We have shown his colors and his poetic way of painting that conveyed love, both for art and for humanity,” Imperatori explained.
She added that Salvati’s message of peace had become very important for this year’s festival amid Russia’s bloody invasion of Ukraine.
Participants have sought to convey a “message of peace with the colors and the forms,” Imperatori added.
References to Ukraine appear subtly in the use of color, but also more directly in different paintings.
One artwork featured two people embracing, one painted in yellow, the other in blue (a nod to the colors of Ukraine’s flag), while holding a white dove, another depicted a landscape of a wheat field against a cyan-blue sky. EFE