Exhibition LIGHT OF PARADISE - Father Costantino Ruggeri

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"The how much and the which of that cheerfulness
Between collages and stained glass, the research of Father Costantino Ruggeri

pavia, Palazzo del Broletto, Sala discover - from 19 December 2023 to 31 January 2024

The exhibition hours will be as follows:
- Friday to Sunday from 17.00 to 19.30
- Thursday mornings from 10 a.m. to 12 noon
- Monday to Friday the exhibition can also be visited by appointment

The exhibition will host a glass craftsman who will demonstrate techniques to schools and interested parties;
will be present on Fridays 12-19-26 January 2024 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon and 2 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.

In canto XXX of Paradise, of the Divine Comedy, Dante saw a river of light that suddenly took on a circular shape, like a lake. It was the celestial rose of the angels and the blessed united by the same, unique joy around the radiance of God.

This exhibition offers an immersion of sight and mind into the exuberant imagery of the collages of Father Costantino Ruggeri (1925-2007), Franciscan friar, priest, and world-famous artist of vast and multiform production. In the links he established between collages and stained glass windows, in many churches in Italy and abroad, the powerful religiosity of his Franciscan spirituality emerges with spontaneous freshness. With the stained-glass windows, for which the collages were largely a preparation, he produced an overflowing and vital river of coloured light, rich in reverberations and mysterious messages, leading to the joyful experience narrated by Dante in Canto XXX of Paradise in the Divine Comedy.

The sequence of wall panels first guides the visitor to a preliminary and synthetic knowledge of the artist, his training, and his arrival at the Pavia convent of Canepanova; it then presents two large sections, one comprising the documentary corpus of collages and the other that of stained-glass windows, separated by the brief interlude of panels dedicated to Matisse and Vence, a master and work of reference that was meditated on for a long time but not imitated. On display in the showcases is a series of collages extracted from the 37 folders in which his father wanted them to be collected. A facsimile of the book he composed, based on a printed publication, to explore the famous Chapel of Vence can be leafed through by visitors. A sketch of a stained-glass window gives an insight into Father Ruggeri's stained-glass construction method. Short films introduce visitors to a first-hand knowledge of the father and the convent world in which he worked. The exhibition is the result of a long-term collaboration with members of the Pavia-based Fondazione Frate Sole and the Studio Ricerca Arte Sacra, heirs to the heritage and custodians of the father's memory. It seemed opportune and advantageous to be able to develop the story of the inventions between collages and stained-glass windows at the same time in two locations, in Pavia and Cesano Maderno, according to a direction that would restore the complementary nature of its contents on the basis of a single interpretative structure, with an appropriate dosage between distinct and identical panels. It was therefore decided to qualify the Pavia 'section' as a workshop exhibition and the one in Cesano Maderno as a documentary exhibition.

Father Constantine liked to perceive and make people perceive the joyful harmony of creation and redeemed men by inventing figures, now easier now more mysterious and always changing, with simple scraps of coloured paper. Like Matisse, he liked to make this childish game with scissors the moment of genesis of an art made of light. Perhaps he realised that, in the game, that joy brought by the angels to the shepherds on the night of the Saviour's birth exploded within him.