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Time to Art: three exhibitions not to be missed in Puglia

picasso martina franca

Mirò, Picasso, Artemisia and the Earl’s painters: three reasons to visit Puglia this summer

There are many reasons to come to Puglia.

The sea. Cliffs, like moon scenery, mythical caves that run for 800 kilometers.

The old towns. Small gemstones set between sea and olive trees where life still flows slowly.

The food. A blaze of flavours, aromas, colours. Enjoy them with your eyes closed to awaken dormant memories.

And then there is the art. A “slow” art. Far from the long queues at the box offices of the great museums of the world capitals, Puglia has rediscovered, in recent years, an artistic vocation, hosting – every season – interesting exhibitions spread throughout the heel of Italy’s boot. Thus, small towns suspended in time have become the cradle of great and immortal works.

Here are the exhibitions not to be missed in this spring summer.


Picasso and the other half of the sky

Martina Franca | Ostuni | Mesagne

Until 24 April




217 works by Picasso, many of which have never been shown before. 159 graphical works, 35 ceramics and 1 drawing for a multi-venue exhibit that will interest 3 different cities: Martina Franca (Palazzo Ducale), Ostuni (Palazzo Tanzarella) and Mesagne (Castello). An ambitious project that wants to combine, through a single exhibition and a single ticket, three different cities with similar artistic, cultural and traditional features. In addition to the Spanish painter’s works, the exhibition includes a watercolor by Dora Maar, artist and life partner of Picasso and 19 artworks by another of his late muse: Françoise Gilot. This thorough portrait of what is considered the greatest artistic expression of the Nineteenth century will also feature – as in an exhibit within the exhibit – 80 photos by Edward Quinn, the Irish photographer who from 1951 to 1973, the year of Picasso’s passing, was a close friend of him. The exhibition also includes 8 shots by Robert Capa and 3 by Françoise Gilot


Joan Mirò

Graphic Works 1948-1974 | Castle of Carlo V | Monopoli

Until 24 March




A journey through the creativity and extremely poetic surrealism of Miró. The exhibition makes the visitors discover the Miró’s wonderful world with an anthology of 90 artworks from four complete series, Parler Seoul, Ubu Roi, Le Lézard aux Plumes d’Or and Les Pénalités de l’Enfer ou les Nouvelles – Hebrides. Four masterpieces dated from 1948 and 1974, telling Miró’s “poetic dream” and his ability to make fantastic images look as real, created through a completely personal language.


Dialogues 3.0

Pino Pascali and Claudio Cintoli | Pino Pascali Museum | Polignano a Mare

Until 24 March 



On the 50th anniversary of the death of Pino Pascali, the Polignano a Mare Foundation named after him hosts a visual dialogue between the artist and Claudio Cintoli. Two great artists, which characterized with their vitalism Rome’s cultural landscape in the second half of the Sixties, one of the most fruitful and dynamic periods in the recent history of the capital. This exhibition rightly puts them in parallel, identifying differences and similarities. The retrospective in Polignano compares in particular the late Pascali with a little earlier or a little later works by Cintoli. The whole effect is beautiful: it is nice to see together the giant Arco di Ulisse, the high waterfall of Liane and the big Cesto together. They are great reinterpretations of a Mediterranean mythology made of woven glass wool. While the weird Cavalletto is made of raffia and acrylic fur.


Artemisia and the Earl’s painters

Castle of Conversano

Until 14 April




Not an exhibition on Artemisia Gentileschi but on the private collection of Earl Giangirolamo II Acquaviva d’Aragona. Sixty paintings that mark the return to Puglia of works from museums and private collections including Il Trionfo di Bacco by Finoglio, held in the Museo Nacional del Prado and a never-before-seen painting by Artemisia Gentileschi (Caritas Romana), a painting of great appeal inspired by Caravaggio, found in the Earl’s collection. It will also be possible to admire Fortitude Pares (Cupid and Death), a painting coming from the collections of the Cathedral Museum in Malta, held there using the unofficial name Battistello Caracciolo.

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