18.04.2019 La Ricotta, 1962, or Evocation of Pontormo, Barocci and Pasolini

La ricotta (“Curd Cheese”) is a short film written and directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini in 1962
It is often considered the most memorable portion of Ro.Go.Pa.G and the height of Pasolini’s creative powers and social criticism.

In summary, the film deals with the film production of the Passion of Jesus with a director acting like Pasolini yet played by Orson Welles. The most biting social critique is shown through the main character of Stracci (meaning “rags”). Stracci is a poor and starving man who works as an extra (ironically, the “good thief”) who is not given pity or mercy. Stracci tries everything to get something to eat and he finally does. Unfortunately the ricotta cheese he avidly gorges on, combined with the awkward position he’s forced to assume while being “crucified” in front of the camera prove a fatal combination and he dies from indigestion. Stracci represents the poor and the marginalized people, “the ones who hunger for bread” who, according to Pasolini, are neglected by a society, which prides itself on being Christian. Thus, in this view, the Roman Catholicism of Italy is more concerned with status and prominence than helping the poor, a teaching of Christ that Pasolini admired greatly.

The production of the Passion, done outside of Rome, represents a corrupted society who is interested in superficial beauty and yet possesses a corrupted core. This is demonstrated with the extras’ lack of interest with the film itself, preferring instead to dance to ya-ya twist music, lying around during break time and tormenting Stracci.

This is also demonstrated in the elaborate poses the director has set up, evoking the great Italian Renaissance, particularly of Rosso Fiorentino and Pontormo and yet are far from respected.

Pasolini, in a disclaimer tacked in the beginning of “La ricotta,” affirms that the event narrated, the Passion, is the greatest event ever occurred, and as in The Gospel According to St. Matthew, stressed that he held in great respect the Christian heritage.
Despite this assertion, Pasolini was accused of holding contempt for the state religion and was sentenced four months of conviction, which he avoided by paying a fine .

The sentence was later declared void by an appeals court.

The Deposition from the Cross is an altarpiece, completed in 1521, depicting the Deposition of Christ by the Italian Renaissance painter Rosso Fiorentino. It is broadly considered to be the artist’s masterpiece. Painted in oil on wood, the painting was previously located in the Duomo of Volterra.
This painting has often been compared to the fellow Mannerist painter Pontormo’s near contemporary (1528) treatment of the same subject in his Deposition canvas in Florence.

Unlike Pontormo’s bright coloration and unitary collection of billowing figures, the Fiorentino depiction has two arenas: above is an Escher-like geometric struggle of laborers on ladders, removing the crucified Christ, while below, the women and men are subsumed in grief. Mary, pale and downcast, collapses in the arms of two women. Mary Magdalen in bright red, swoons to hug the Madonna’s legs. A grief-stricken apostle turns his face away. The somber landscape is virtually barren.

One reviewer describes the scene as “violent suffering …rendered by extreme expression, the concatenation of angular bodies, and the dazzling light that sharply draws clear folds on the clothing.”

Another states that this is the prototype of early-Mannerism, with “no logical spatial connection between the figures, the cross and ladders; the size of the figures appears arbitrarily chosen, and their elongated bodies and small heads” distort classical proportions.

Federico Barocci (c. 1535 in Urbino – 1612 in Urbino) was an Italian Renaissance painter and printmaker. His original name was Federico Fiori, and he was nicknamed Il Baroccio.
Baroccio was born at Urbino, Duchy of Urbino, and received his earliest apprenticeship with his father, Ambrogio Barocci, a sculptor of some local eminence. He was then apprenticed with the painter Battista Franco in Urbino. He accompanied his uncle, Bartolomeo Genga to Pesaro, then in 1548 to Rome, where he was worked in the pre-eminent studio of the day, that of the Mannerist painters, Taddeo and Federico Zuccari.

Mature work in Rome and Urbino
After passing four years at Rome, he returned to his native city, where his first work of art was a St. Margaret executed for the Confraternity of the Holy Sacrament. He was invited back to Rome by Pope Pius IV to assist in the decoration of the Vatican Belvedere Palace at Rome, where he painted the Virgin Mary and infant, with several Saints and a ceiling in fresco, representing the Annunciation.

During this second sojourn, while completing the decorations for the Vatican, Barocci fell ill with intestinal complaints. He suspected that a salad which he had eaten had been poisoned by jealous rivals. Fearing his illness was terminal, he left Rome in 1563; four years later he was said to experience a partial remission after prayers to the Virgin.[2] Barocci henceforth often complained of frail health, though he remained productive for nearly four decades more. While he is described by contemporaries as personally somewhat morose and hypochondriacal, his paintings are lively and brilliant. Although he continued to have major altarpiece commissions from afar, he never returned to Rome, and was mainly patronized in his native city by Francesco Maria II della Rovere, duke of Urbino. The Ducal Palace can be seen in the background of his paintings, rendered in a forced perspective that seems a holdover from Mannerism.

Deposition of Christ in Tomb (1592) by Federico Barocci, you will see when visiting Senigallia
The Chiesa della Croce or Church of the Cross, is a late-Renaissance-style, Roman Catholic church located on Via Gherardi in Senigallia, region of Marche, Italy. The interior is decorated in a Baroque-style.

The Confraternity of the Sacrament and della Croce commissioned a design of this church from the architect Muzio degli Oddi. Construction was complete by 1608. The confraternity was involved in charity. The facade has been attributed to Girolamo Marini.

The interior has six lateral altars. One has an altarpiece depicting Deposition of Christ in Tomb (1592) by Federico Barocci. This canvas has an image of the Ducal Palace of Urbino in the background.

“Io sono una forza del passato…”

Io sono una forza del passato…

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