11/03/2014 | The pure paintings by Lorenzato on show

Works by the artist from Minas Gerais, who synthesises the popular erudite in his artistic production, are presented in São Paulo.

In the opinion of the Minas Gerais artist Lorenzato (1900-1990), the Renaissance painter Rafael Sanzio was excessively polished up. Among other factors, this definition was made by the artist’s own experience, in the 1930s, of restoring a fresco painting by the Italian artist at the Villa Farnesina, in Rome. Lorenzato said that he preferred the works of another of the great artists of the time, Masaccio, and also read the historical work Life of Artists, by Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574), spoke five languages – yet still lived for decades on the outskirts of Belo Horizonte, out of the limelight and with little money to his name. For a long time, he worked as a wall painter and stonemason until he was forced to take early retirement at the age of 51, after an accident. Even more so, since he was a youngster and until he died, he dedicated himself to creation of his art, sculpture, and the exercising of a “pure type of painting”.
This latest definition is that of professor Laymert Garcia dos Santos, the curator of the exhibition Lorenzato: The Grandeur of Modesty, that shall be inaugurated this Tuesday (11th) in the evening, at the Galeria Estação art gallery with the launching of a book about the painter and sculptor, written by Maria Angélica Melendi. In the 36 works on show, pictorial works of art created between the 1950s and 1990s, one can see just how much it amounted to a case of “prejudice” to say that the artist was naïf or primitive. Pictures and even a fresco of the 1980s depicted motifs such as houses, landscapes and fruit trees; these compositions are always figurative because “he paints what he sees”, says the curator, referring to the purity present in the paintings by Lorenzato. These are not intuitive creations, but rather accomplishments of an artist showing mastery of techniques, use of colour and light. Hailing from an Italian family, he lived in Europe between 1920 and 1948 and has training at the Royal Academy at Vicenza, Italy, as well as travelling around the museums of the Old Continent.
However, at the same time, some lightness flourishes in his compositions of “perceptive and non-intellectual appeal”, made of the “serene look” to Nature. For example, there is one fascinating moment in the exhibition, which is a sequence of sights of hills and skies, at sunrise and also nearing sundown (“passions of Lorenzato”) in which the painter “reduces the participation of other elements” – but does not actually touch abstraction. The Earth is in the foreground (and, in one of the paintings, it is impregnated with shapes of shadows of leaves). Then come the areas of the heavens, in either blue or red.
While it is indeed true that this exhibition, with all works for sale, has a marketing aim, this is an opportunity to see, in São Paulo, a significant collection of the Lorenzato’s production, beyond the limits of Minas Gerais, where, in a certain form, he was left aside. Many of his paintings belong to Minas Gerais collections and one of the few institutions that bear his works in their collections is the Pampulha Museum, in Belo Horizonte. One of the favourites of Minas Gerais sculptor Amilcar de Castro, Amadeu Luciano Lorenzato was a “marginal” of the arts, and did not limit himself to any “isms”; he liked the freedom to do things, but at the same time “studied well”, in the words of Laymert Garcia dos Santos. In addition, he brought freshness to painting, all the more because of the trade of being an artisan with a simple life.
The curator of the exhibition also says that Lorenzato used materials taken from his work in the building trade – including limestone, cement and special mortar for sticking vitraux – in his works (produced by Mr Lorenzato himself using wood and textile fabric). This artist from Minas Gerais would also add wax to the paint used in his works (inspired by a technique used by Leonardo da Vinci); sometimes, he developed a temper; However, his experience as a stonemason allowed Lorenzato to create a unique characteristic in his work, which is the act of “combing” their compositions. “Only he managed to use the comb, a bit like what wall painters do when imitating wood and marble”, says Mr dos Santos. The technique – “as Van Gogh used his paint brush” – adds “vibration” to his work and is a “breathing vector” on the pictorial scene.
Camila Molina - O Estado de S. Paulo

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