William Tode, a Renaissance artist of the 20th century
The long artistic itinerary
William Tode is one of the great protagonists of the contemporary art. Its cultural affairs go
from the figurative arts to the literature, to the classical music, to the archaeology. For almost a thirty years he has been one of the busiest and meaningful artists of the Italian neoralism, especially in the world of the fresco, where one are considered of the last great wall affrescatori, heir of the lesson of the Tiepolo.
Tode is born to Gonzaga, Mantua, April 10 th 1938, and since small it reveals strong artistic dowries. To three it receives in gift a box of water-colors and crayons from doctor Anthony Soldi, physician of family and friend of the father Prospero, that it realizes the talent of it disegnativo, and it will teach him him, ex bicyclist mason and painter dilettante, the first stylistic rudiments.
To six it is on its way to the study of the sketch, of the painting and of the sculpture from the teacher Edoardo Neri and then from his/her daughter Iris near the local evening school ‘Art and Job’, to which is enrolled out quota because of the young age.
To fourteen it frequents only for a two years the Belle Arti of Modena, under teacher Luigi Spazzapan’s guide, one of the most greater protagonists of the Italian abstract expressionism. The young Tode discovers the French painting of the impressionists, but I is above all Cézanne, Gauguin and Van Gogh to enchant him/it with their colors and their forms.
In 1954, just transferred him to Rome with his/her family, Tode it loses his/her mother that had only quarantadue years. The art and the school will console its endless pain.
In that same year it finishes his/her artistic studies to the Belle Arti, frequenting the courses of fresco of the teacher of the School Roman Alberto Ziveri, for an only year, for economic reasons. You withdraws from the school and, alone it privately prepares him to sustain, from external the examinations of state for the diploma. In few months of intense study it prepares the five year-old program, introducing a thesis of history of the art on Michelangelo I design. And it achieves the diploma in mural painting performing in good fresco and to days, in the great classroom of the institute, the death’s Triumph, a vast monochrome fresco to complimentary green earth to Luca Signorelli, that received the applause and the admiration of the commissioners artists Ziveri, Mafai, Martin, Gentilini, Bartoli and Ferrazzi.
The impassioned study of Peter of the Francesca, of Masaccio, of Luca Signorelli and of Michelangelo, they will be for the young artist an inexhaustible source and of decisive importance for his/her future aesthetical evolution and of career, and of ‘frescante.’
The didactic methods of the academy of the Belle Arti in the street Ripetta, to Rome, you/they must be tightened him, incompatible with his/her rebellious spirit. It harshly breaks up with the teacher Franco Gentilini, and you/he/she is expelled from all the Italian academies. Together to one friend of his, it decides then to go to France to Paris.
It has beginning, so, his/her decisive adventure to the French academy, where it enters later to alone seventeen years to have overcome the rock-cliff of the entrance examinations, performing in front of the commissioners, in few more than three hours, a vast cardboard of nude, created to memory.
To Paris the young artist knows Giovanni March, and you/he/she becomes his/her friend.
Thanks to him it starts to frequent the stamperia of art ‘Her Mercier Charbonnel’, the greatest of Europe, where it experiments all the possibilities of the graphic techniques, and it realizes a lot of lithographic stones. Close to him they often work Georges Braque and Gino Severini.
One day, it is January 16 th 1956, while he/she is working on a maternity, introduces him in the stamperia his/her friend Giovanni March. With him there is the great Picasso. What a test liking for that young artist. And he/she invites him/it to do it visits him in his/her studio.
It knows then Jean Paul Sartre, Bernard Buffet, Roger Vadim, the teacher of the nouvelle vague, and] Greek uliette, to which it will make a beautiful portrait.
With the friendship of Roger Vadim, William Tode will land to new experiences. The French director, in fact, invites him/it to live the season of the cinema, making to participate him/it as actor and scenografo to the film Her Sang et the roses.
They are of this period the portraits of Mel Ferrer, Brigitte Bardot, Yves Montand, Simone Signoret, Hilt Martinelli and Annette Strojbergh, with which the artist ties him with an intense and impassioned friendship.
Tode is literally abducted from the cinema seduction and interprets some films in dramatic roles, working with Vadim, Vittorio De Sica and Luchino Visconti.
For some ‘seasons’ it enters the theatrical Company of Esmeralda Ruspoli and Giancarlo Sbragia as scenografo, costume designer and actor, interpreting roles of the Greek classical repertoire, in the amphitheater of the Oak of the Rate to the Gianicolo in Rome, and in the Roman Theater of ancient Wafer.
He/she works in the film Cleopatra, of which it is one of the most important scenografis, and in Desiderio and the ecstasy, the film devoted to Michelangelo, where the artist integrally realizes, to greatness of the original ones, all the frescos of the Chapel Sistina, in one year and a half of job.
With the film The seized of Altoona of Vittorio De Sica, interpreted by Sophia Loren and Maximillian Shell, William Tode, in 1966, it definitely abandons the world of show business and of the cinema, abdicating to a contract that would have brought him Los Angeles as scenografo and costume designer.
The vocation and the love for the art and for the music, will bring him/it in the world of the color, among its friends and companions, that after all had not abandoned never, having never stopped making art and to actively participate in the cultural life of the Italian neoralism.
Between 1975 and 1977 it realizes one of his/her masterpieces, the Shooting of the patriots Basque, an oil on cloth of great dimensions, three meters and eighty for two and seventy.
Beginning from 1979 the neoralism of William Tode, defined by Giulio Charles Argan ‘aesthetical and psychological romantic mole’, it enters crisis. And the artist returns to recover the stilemis cubofuturisti, contemporarily beginning the searches on the analogies between music and color.
The cycle of the Tristano is born, then one hundred paintings to oil and encausto, almost all of averages and great dimensions.
In 1980 it has the charge from the administrators of Mantua to take care of the
commemorative show on the bimillenario of Virgilio, with the collaboration of Ettore Paratore, Charles Bo and Giulio Charles Argan. To that show, inaugurated by the President of the Republic Sandro Pertini, William Tode he/she invites the great sculptor Henry Moore and all of his/her friends of the group neoralist: Renato Guttuso, Tone Zancanaro, August Murer, Giacomo Manzù, Ernesto Treccani, Aldo Borgonzoni and Anthony Ruggiero Giorgi.
The great lesson of the Italian mural painting, that Hellenistic pompeiana and that Renaissance, have brought Tode to risk him in pictorial enterprises of vast dimensions.
Between 1963 and 1965, it realizes a vast pictorial complex of frescos in the center of the society Plasmon, to Rome: over 1500 square meters paintings, that develop the theme of the Myth of the man. It realizes besides a sculptural job, in terracotta, of quarantaquattro panels of altorilievi that represent the evolution of the human civilization, from the genesis to the modern civilization, that is found in a private collection in Rome.
To Florence, in the Romanesque church of St. Michael to St. you Save, in three years of job, from 1967 to 1970, the artist realizes a cloth that represents the Nativity and a splendid Crucifixion of over sixty square meters, been incomplete unfortunately for the incomprehensions and the vetoes of the cardinal Florit.
William Tode has realized different plastic monuments to the resistance. In bronze, it is the bas-relief raffigurante the country Civilization, become by now the ‘Marcora Prize’, as also his/her Virgilio, a statue that is assigned to the Riders of the job.
In almost ten years of job the artist creates in his/her Villa ‘The Poetry’ a vast cycle of frescos in the various saloons. Between them it detaches the impassioned Homage to the world of the music, realized in the time of the auditorium, over centoventi square meters, had realized since 1977 to 1987, with hundred figures and nude that symbolically represent the salient moments of music of authors that are particularly dear and congenial to the personality I delay romantic of the teacher. Marie Angèle Thomas, pianist Belgian italo, for the
inauguration of the cycle of the frescos it magistrally performs, in first absolute, the poem of Tode Desdemona and Otello.
In the meantime the artist also devotes him to the ceramics. For which, beginning from 1980, it elaborates and it experiments new technologies. As in his/her ceramic fresco, for instance, that allows him to create vast decorative panels that mark an evolutionary phase of the ceramics to ‘third fire’ for the world of the industry of the tiles. In 1989 and in 1990 you/he/she is invited, only contemporary artist, to the ‘Cer Saie’ of Bologna. Shows of its ceramic manufactured articles are been prepared to Barcellona, Frankfurt, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Tokyo and Sidney.
For five years, from 1990 to 1995, William Tode works to the realization of the frescos in the Renaissance Building Ginanneschi, center of the town hall of Castel Di the Plan, in the Amiata, where you/he/she has also planned and directed the architectural restaurations of the monumental complex realizing the archaeological Museum and the splendid polyvalent Saloon in the ex places of the carriages.
Tode realizes besides the frescos for the assessorato to the public education of the commune in Mantua, in the ex center of the work national maternity and infancy. They are three hundred square meters painting, that illustrate themes that go from the genesis to the resistance, to the Nazi lagers, to the world of the fables and the nature.
Other cycles of important frescos are found in the public and private buildings and in the churches to Benevento, Red Mountain Calabro, Modena, Catania, and in the commune of Zocca, in the province in Modena. The most recent have been realized in the summer of 1998 in the field of the terremotatis to Scopoli, near Foligno, where the artist has created a Crucifixion and an original Annunciation playing on the meaning simbolistico of the colors and the states of mind of the characters.
During the summer of 1999 you/he/she has created in the church of Saint Maria in Piancastagnaio, in the province in Siena, a Crucifixion on a ‘new cardboard’ of 80 meters you square, in which the martyrdom of Christ is inserted in the narrative cycles of its life as the Annunciation and the Transfiguration.
Always in 1999, to celebrate the Jubilee 2000, William Tode you/he/she has created the show Legenda maior, life and works of Saint Caterina from Siena, a show itinerante that has touched the more important historical centers of the street Francigena, the street that conducted the pilgrims to Rome during the Jubilee.
From 2000 to today the teacher you/he/she has worked in untiring way. And you/he/she has realized marvelous works, that have been exposed in the two last great shows had prepared near the Gallery of Modern and Contemporary art of Arezzo since October 1 to November 6 th 2005, and near the Gallery of the Court of Formia from on April 30 to May 24 th 2006.
The composer musician
In youth William Tode has made musical studies of composition with prestigious teachers as Felice Lattuada and Olivier Messiaen, with which you/he/she has deepened and sharpened the technical compositiva during his/her Parisian stay in the years 1955-57, while in painting and graphics it elaborated his/her cubofuturismo.
In music its passionate nature has brought him/it to meditate on the romantic slow world
that is him similar, studying with endless love the music of Richard Wagner, Franz Liszt, Ferruccio Busoni, Richard Strauss and Arnold Schoenberg, and, above all, the complex orchestration of Gustav Malher, that for a long time has seduced him/it.
Its personality of musician has gone also moulding with I bring him some French culture, in conclusive way with the acquisition of the lyric melodismo of Gabriel Faurè and Cesar Franc, and you/he/she has known how to conceive a complex and articulated notation pianistica that, also tied up to the tradition, you/he/she is done freeeer, having overcome the conditioning of the ‘wisecracks’ and of the ‘measures’, as also the abandonment of the ‘tonality of key.’
William Tode is considered from the musical criticism the last heir of the sinfonismo pianistico of Listz, for the monumentality of his/her epic Poems for piano of which you/he/she has already given 27 compositions, seven Nighttime, n. 7 ops. 97 (1994), 26 preludes, op. 102 (1994), 8 compositions liederistiche for voice and piano, op. 107 (1994), chimera, instrumental compositions like his/her last duo for cello and piano twos Dialogue op. 130 (1997), and the trio for sax – piano and cello The spirit of the universal brotherhood op. 128 (1997), and the poem for orchestra of arcs – soloist flute and piano Magic night op. 122 (1997), and for the great orchestra his/her first symphony You rising spellbound op. 110 (1993-95) devoted Antoine De Bavier, his/her friend and quite a lot compositions to the manager of orchestra for soloist guitar.
Its last creative works are the intimate Pages, a nostalgic Serenade op. 128 (1998) for two pianos and an Imagination for violin and piano op. 132 (1998-99).
Expressive they are considered from the criticism his/her Muraleses, pictures and memories of a life of artist, op. 118 (1996), a poem for articulated piano in sixteen ‘pictures’, from the infancy to the death of the beloved mother happened in 1954; an arduous writing, an elaborate counterpoint on refined melodic lines of great dramatic and passionate intensity: perhaps his/her masterpiece, together with Llanto por Ignacio Sànchez Mejìas op. 79, his/her homage to the great Spanish poet Garcia Lorca.
With the Sonata n. 1 on the name B.a.c.h. for piano, op. 133 (2002), the teacher reaches a great deal an original expressive limit in his I musical, articulating this sonata in 8 movements more 4 sottomovimentis modulanti, that does of it, of fact, a monumental spirited composition fermentante a cheerful existential dimension, in a rich harmonic development that the characteristics exalt of an intense solarità.
The appointment for the cultural good
Invited by the teacher Mario Salmi, general manager of the Antiquities and Belle Arti, to replace him as regent superintendent with House Vasari, in Arezzo, William Tode, mindful of the love for Peter of the Francesca, ax and it moves him to the Tuscan city, where a new cultural experience begins, that will definitely mark its artistic life.
The monumental architecture becomes the constant of its creative job, and it devotes the best of itself to plan and to build the Museum of his ‘friend Peter’ in the architectural plesso of the Building Pretorio and of the arc of the Hung Medieval of St. Sepulchre, in the province of Arezzo, in alone ten months of intense graphic studies, reliefs and restauration. At the same time however the artist obstinately fights with the executives of the central institute for the restauration in Rome, to save from the I degrade the splendid Madonna of Monterchi of Peter of the Francesca.
To House Vasari, looking through where in the dusty files the papers and the original manuscripts of George Vasari they are preserved, Tode recovers in a packet, ever inventoried and studied by some, the last twenty-seven letters that Michelangelo Buonarroti wrote to his “friend messer George”, in the period in which you/he/she was working to his/her artistic will, the Pity Rondanini. Those letters are of an absolute importance, since they reveal us the human and moral condition of the old Michelangelo, patient and solo, abandoned by everybody by his/her/their relatives and by the students.
Tode holds rightful to bring her to knowledge of everybody, delivering in her hands of professor Mario Salmi.
The strong personality of William Tode is out of all the schemes. Too much individualist, the artist he doesn’t allow to condition from the hierarchical roles of the various superintendents.
This way, for ‘to promote him/it’, they transfer him/it to the center, to Florence. Before in Building Pitti, and finally, for the teacher’s interest In the Bemporad, to the Offices, with the duties of head office studies. The emergency flood in Florence, sees in the first row it for the safeguard of an unique patrimony and irripetibile. The jobs are submitted him for the project of restauration of villas medicee as that of Cerreto Guidi, and it perform architectural sketches as if they were of the cardboards for frescos.
Working once more for his/her Michelangelo in the restauration of the Graves Medicee, seriously damaged by the flood, while it is performing some wise man in the marmoreal floor, Tode recovers a secret staircase bulwark. And it brings some exceptional mural sketches to the light, realized to charcoal by Michelangelo: they are studies for sculptures, squirts of heads, hypothesis of figures for the graves, of which nobody had ever had knowledge.
William Tode lavished him to be able to count and to attribute the paternity of that squirts to Michelangelo; him ‘experts’ they held, instead, that were works of a manierista, perhaps of the Giambologna. They are by now departed forty years. And shrewdest criticism has finally delivered the absolute paternity of that mural sketches to Michelangelo.
The architectural restaurations of Saint Maria of the Flower, after the flood, you/they have revealed the reality of Saint to the researchers Reparata, the small Romanesque basilica built on the ruins of a pagan temple, that Arnolfo of Change had literally buried under the flooring of his immense cathedral. Investigating between the ruins and the finds, Tode brings the grave of Phillip Brunelleschi to the light, a modest sarcophagus of stone sandstone, on which this registration is engraved: “Hic honest east corpus veers… ”
Near the foundations of the Bell tower of Giotto, Tode finds again other sarcofagi, anonymous. In one of them, despite there is no registration, it realizes that there can be the bare ones of Giotto. Following studies confirm its intuition: those bare, very probably belong to Giotto.
Before leaving his/her beloved Florence, for a further charge, Tode elaborates, together to others two colleagues of his you design, the project Great Offices, to the purpose to restore the ancient camminamento through the ‘corridor vasariano’, Old Bridge, to come so, without going out of the dimension museale, directly to the Museums of Building Pitti. The project is introduced with the preparation of a show near the academy of the Sketch in Plaza St. Mark, inaugurated by minister Giovanni Spadolini, responsible of the newborn office of the cultural Good. Distance twenty-five year-old solo from the presentation of that project, to expire some second millennium, he/she will take the by the executive phase of the jobs.
In 1975 one ‘bonus’ it brings him/it to Mantua, in the Ducal Building, to take care of the dark evil of the Chamber of the Bridegrooms, famous masterpiece of Andrew Mantegna, degraded by the capillary damp that is slowly bringing him/it to the forgetfulness.
The financings for the restoration of the complex, however, are cut. And the artist succeeds in completing only the recovery of the Studiolis of Isabella of Este, together with the other jewel, the so-called apartment of the Dwarves, where of his same hand performs the recovery of the Roman plasters, that the workers and the employees don’t know how to perform ignoring the technique of it.
Its tenacity and the unrestrained love for the art, see him/it busy in a new and weary job of restauration of the whole Palace gonzaghesca. They are born so his/her polishes, the planimetries, the prospectuses, the sections, the virtual reconstructions of what you/he/she has gone destroyed in the complex historical stories for that the court of the Gonzagas has interested over three centuries.
Disappointed and embittered for the total indifference of everything how much it surrounds him/it, it decides to abandon, definitely, every charge of the office of the cultural Good.
The shows it is the museums
And’ difficult to enumerate the one man shows and the collective ones to which you/he/she has participated William Tode. They make him/it the catalogs, the critical critiques of the daily paper and the special services of the specialized magazines as the Bolaffi of the graphics and the painting 1970-1973, for instance. We can remember only his over one hundred personnels, you prepare both in Italy and to the foreign countries.
The works of William Tode are present in the most important Museums of the world, among which we remember: the Gallery of Modern art in Rome, Building Braschi, Hermitage to St. Pietroburgo, Museum Pusckjn and Museum Tetriakov in Moscow, Museum of Kiev, Norodnj Galery of Praga, Museum of State of Praga, where its great picture is preserved Shooting of his/her/their Brothers Bucks painting to alone sixteen years and given by the Italian communist Party to the executives of the ‘Spring of Praga’, Gallery McKormick in Chicago and to New York, Museum of the Ceramics, The Salomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Museum Kunsthalle in Hamburg, Museum of Art of Philadelphia, Musée National of Art Modern of Paris, to the Kunstmuseum of Basilea, Museum Elegant of Arts in Houston.
Over three hundred graphic works they are preserved in the Museums of State of the Popular Republic of China, to Peking, Nanchino, Schanghaj. Other works are situated in collections deprived of Sidney, Calcutta, Museum of State of Sofia, Museum of the People of Bucarest and to Constancy, always in Romania.
William Tode has written numerous critical essays of art and music. They remembers, among the others, the following volumes: Universal history of the fresco; psychic Pathology of the color and his/her analogies with the music; a monograph on Stephen Gobatti, musician and the recent Enkaustos, the painting to encausto.
Edited by biographical news Sabino Vona, artistic manager of the Foundation ‘The Poetry’ and of Matteo Vasciarelli, the teacher’s merchant.