A "Genetic" Inheritance

Written by  Gerardo F. Dasi

«A city's pride and admiration for its artistic heritage are a measure of its cultural emancipation.»

In the course of a talk given at the annual conference of the Centro Pio Manzù in Rimini, the heart surgeon Christiaan Barnard offered a highly evocative figure drawn from his medical experience: «A doctor must look inside the body just as a sculptor looks inside a block of marble; he must know that inside the body there is a man, just as inside the block of marble there is a figure to be moulded». Everyone, he added, ought to regard his own past, the history of his family, city, and nation as a "genetic" inheritance made up of traditions and memories to be studied and put to the best possible use.

A great human lesson, and one that should also provide food for thought for a community such as Ferrara, whose artistic and cultural heritage has been consistently undervalued. «There is no more secure bond with one's own world than art», wrote Goethe: and it is in this spirit that Ferrara should address itself to the task of introducing the general public and the media to its treasures.
Just as Rimini did with the Trecento riminese, a splendid exhibition commemorating the work of the masters of the Romagna and the Marche regions, so could Ferrara reassess the value of its great art collections, the fruit of a vein of European creativity that in internationally oriented times such as ours the city is virtually obliged to exhibit.
The idea is to refurbish the image of the "Ferrarese workshop", a high point in the Italian school of art, with figures such as Cosmé Tura, Ercole de' Roberti, and Dosso. Now the good news has arrived: from February to May 1996, the palazzo dei Diamanti will house an exhibition entitled La leggenda del collezionismo. Le quadrerie storiche ferraresi, an extraordinary opportunity to revisit a vital, precious world of which the city should be proud.

Finally, therefore, La leggenda del collezionismo ferrarese will come to light, supported we hope by the city's art lovers, starting with the schools, which should seize this chance to introduce young people to a fundamental piece of the city's history, a paean to beauty and form expressed over the centuries that need fear no comparison with other Italian and European schools of painting, now matter how noble their lineage.

A city's pride and admiration for its artistic heritage are a measure of its cultural emancipation; Europe, and the entire world of art and culture owe a debt to the art created by our fellow citizens over the centuries.