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Mario Donizetti
presentation "The seven deadly sins"
by Silvana Milesi

"His timeless quality has made him famous throughout the world", Elsa Klensch said of Donizetti in a long documentary dedicated to him by "CNN International" in New York. A quality stemming from his being both an antiquitarian and modern man, an artist of his time who looks to the future from the gigantic shoulders of the past. A past spent in study over writings by Thomas Aquinas, Descartes, Kant, Hegel, the ancient Greeks, Aristotle, Parmenides, and Plato, the revered Plato, the most important thinker of all time.

Donizetti paints, studies and writes. Thought and painting. A treatise on aesthetics, "Perché figurativo (Why figurative)", in which he also points out the dire consequences of art which excludes form.

Donizetti lives the complex contradictory problems of modern art. With an obstinacy of moral nature, he battles against non-figurative avant-garde art which soon becomes rearguard as it follows dead-end paths. Destruction of the past leads to silence. Parallel to this is his commitment to protecting the artistic heritage, to be preserved and restored with due respect, technical competence and caution.

Comparison with men of his own time and the search for truth which he goes into in greater depth in painting: in his portraits, in the wonderful Crucifixion now in the Museum of the Treasury in the Vatican, or in his Seven Deadly Sins, reproduced in this book and which are so fascinating in their beauty and so rich in meaning, in apprehension, in the contradictions of our time and, overall, in a sensation of being suspended in eternity.

There are seven large paintings (210x150 cm.). These unfold page by page, carefully reproduced, first as a whole then in their most beautiful details and in the preparatory drawings Donizetti's beautiful drawings. The sequence follows the order which Dante, the great master of realism, set out the Seven Deadly Sins in the frames of Purgatory. Firstly, the Sins deriving from false love given over to evil and turned against others: Pride, Wrath, Envy; then Sloth, the tepid love, the idleness of the heart; and finally Avarice, Greed and Lust, the sins of immoderate love, of worldly cravings and passions. Triplets from the Divine Comedy introduce each Sin, a counter-melody of great poetry to underline the deep aesthetic and ethical commitment.

To re-propose the biblical and Dantesque theme of the Seven Deadly Sins in this "dark wood" of the end of the millennium, becomes an implicit call for reflection, an invitation to metaphorically start climbing the mountain where at every leap one of the seven "S's" is wiped off one's forehead. Nobody gets discouraged when "al cominciar di sotto è grave (starting from the bottom is difficult)", as "più va su, e men fa male (the higher you go the easier it gets)".

The theatrical dialogue between the scholar and the satyr was also unpublished. Through irony and sharp discussions, hypocrisy is laid bare, whereas the border line between what is believed to be a sin and what is believed to be a virtue moves continuously.

Finally, translation of the texts was considered to be a necessary completion to the book, both due to the importance of the artist (suffice to remember the portraits on covers of Time and the documentary by the "CNN" already mentioned above), and to gain a deeper insight into our art in Europe and in the world.