THE APPROACH TO PAINT



     The ancient Greeks enjoyed a particularly intimate familarity with the gods, distant relatives too far up and too well-to-do to disturb unless on special occasions or under exceptional circumstances. Likewise they fully comprehended the kinship of all the arts, and the divine inspiration behind their origin. Thus priests, poets, also painters, remain custodians of the unheimliche, go-betweens, negociators with the unseen.

     Edmund Spenser:     

     "The Muses nine, daughters of Apollo and Memorie whose abode the poets faine to be on Parnassus, a hill in Grece... the Graces, three sisters, daughters of Jupiter... Goddesses of al bountie and comeliness... Boccase saith, that they be painted naked."

     The Muses were known to be sisters, and as in all families, siblings may be known to quarrel, bicker, feud, compete, collaborate, jostle, feel envy or empathy as the winds of fate shift. Art and Architecture, in our time, seem to coexist under a regime of détente, if not to say cold war at least a deferred rivalry. But at any moment these "sister arts" know how to stand together as a united multi-media family.

     Sandro Zendralli:  "For me architecture and painting are the same thing. This is why, for me, working in one or the other is pure joy. Neither are a chore. Therefore I have always slept soundly at night, because even if I had enormous responsibilities to confront the following morning, I had already worked out what to do ahead of time.

     "From the beginning I knew I had to be the first person to believe in myself, in order to be able to transmit this enthusiasm to my clients. Some of them still remember today what I used to tell them... It always makes me smile. When it came to the architectural plan, in practically every project I would begin with one drawing, basement, ground floor and upper stories superimposed one over another on a single sheet, to the point that only I could make any sense out of it. Maybe this is something that unconsciously has been carried over into my painting."

     "Le Corbusier as a painter adopted cubism. However, to my mind his use of color is not expressive enough. He is genial, but not sufficiently expressive. I see him more as a sculptor than as a painter. I respect him very much. If you think that while they constructed the post office in Bellinzona in 1930 (which I restored some years ago), Le Corbusier did his Ville Savoir with that garden on a slope. He was so far ahead of his times. Or take, for instance, his beautiful furniture: the LC armchair, or the chaise longue inspired by Marcel Breuer.

     "Frank Lloyd Wright is another architect that I like very much because of his capacity to set his constructions into the terrain. They seem to grow out of the ground like a plant. His other talent is to give the right proportions either in small or large volumetries: his sense of proportion makes him unique. His most beautiful projects are the house at the waterfall, or his work in the desert: the habitation whose semi-circular form functions as a protection from storms, opening itself only on one side as if it were a theatrical stage set.

     "Mies van der Rohe, on the other hand, is the opposite of Wright: we can see that probably better in the Casa van Svort than in his skyscrapers in Chicago. I appreciate the lightness of a project like Casa van Svort, where he does not base the building directly on pilasters. Their external position creates a tension that guarantees the stability of the structure and as a consequence evokes the illusion of greater lightness.

     "Some years ago I went to Pompeii. I was struck by the knowledge, and at the same time, the ingenuity that characterized the people of that city. They had this extraordinary gift to embelish their everyday life, they knew how to entertain themselves in a very elegant way, maybe thus unconsciously contrasting their tragic destiny. They worked all day long, small artisans like the shoemaker, the baker, you can still make out something like a small courtyard emporium... you can tell they lived as a very happy community. The quotidian mystery of the entire city lends a highly emotional dimension."

© 2014 SANDRO ZENDRALLI