El Dorado

Paolo Canevari - Golden Work - Dalla serie Monuments of the memory
21/10/2023 - 21/01/2024
Museo Pietro Canonica a Villa Borghese

"The "fondo oro" (gold background) in the works of contemporary Italian artists

Representation with a "fondo oro", a painting method with traces dating back to early Christian and Byzantine times, has never ceased to attract artists, influencing their practices and stimulating new interpretations right up to contemporary times. "El Dorado" offers a reflection on the persistence of this fascination through the works of artists who are all Italian, but different in terms of research and generation. The works - some of which were created especially for the occasion - bear witness to the topicality of the 'gold background' and underline the importance of anchoring to history in contemporary research.

The exhibition does not limit itself to a technical investigation of the didactic nature of the 'fondo oro', it is aimed more to explore its origin from an historical and theoretical point of view to reveal its more mystic contents related to its quality of light and abstraction and its ability to achieve a figuration of absolute and timeless space.

In addition to the rooms that house the collection, the exhibition also takes place in the more intimate spaces of the Museo Pietro Canonica, a rare museum example of an artist's home located in the green surroundings the Villa Borghese, where the works dialogue with the rooms of the Fortezzuola, residence and atelier of the Italian sculptor from 1927 until his death in 1959.

The Centro Studi Roccantica, after producing the exhibition La Vita Nova. L'amore in Dante nello sguardo di 10 artiste, curated by Alessandra Mammì (Museo Barracco - Rome, June-October 2021), thus offers a new exhibition project dedicated to contemporary art interacting with a venue of the Roman museum heritage.

The exhibition is accompanied by meetings in which the artists will be asked to compare their approach to the gold background with scholars from different disciplines.


Museo Pietro Canonica a Villa Borghese
Opening hours

From October 21, 2023, to January 10, 2024
Tuesday to Sunday:10-16
December 24th and 31st: 10-14
Last entry always half an hour before closing

Closed on Mondays, December 25th, and January 1st.

Entrance ticket



Promoted by da Roma Capitale, Assessorato alla Cultura, Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali
Curated by Alessandra Mammì
Production Centro Studi Roccantica
Support Kairos Partners


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