Dante’s Inferno, Botticelli’s Primavera, Michelangelo’s David—classicism, a theme so prevalent in the Italian arts throughout the centuries, has stood the test of time. But how does its relevance hold today, in an age of science, technology, and modernity?
Such is the subject of I’ll Be There Forever – The Sense of Classic, the stunning first contemporary exhibit presented by luxury Italian fragrance brand Acqua di Parma, now on view at the 17th-century Palazzo Cusani in Milan through June 4.
Seven of today’s most prevalent Italian artists—Rosa Barba, Massimo Bartolini, Simone Berti, Alberto Garutti, Armin Linke, Diego Perrone, and Paola Pivi—were asked to rethink classicism. The result: seven site-specific installations on the piano nobile of the baroque 17th-century Palazzo Cusani.
Juxtaposed with a hyper-classical backdrop of pastel frescoes, ornate chandeliers, gilded mirrors, and stuccoed ceilings, each modern interpretation creates a dialogue between the old and the new. Short films by Rosa Barba recall the cinematic styles of the great Federico Fellini. Diego Perrone’s “La fusion della campana” reinterprets architectural elements from Athens’s Acropolis.
Curated by art critic Cloe Piccoli, director of Acqua di Parma Contemporary Projects, the exhibit demonstrates that classical ideas, however reinterpreted in the modern age, endure. They remain as relevant and influential today as they were in the past, and will undoubtedly be in the future.
Lindsey Olander is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @lindseytravels.
From left: “The Hidden Conference: About the Discontinuous History of Things We See and Don’t See” (2010); “The Hidden Conference: A Fractured Play” (2012); “The Hidden Conference: About the Shelf and Mantel” (2015). By Rosa Barba.