ITALY - MICHELE GUIDO

In his research, we find that he pays particular attention to the idea of the garden. The interest is focussed on that subject in order to acquire a more suitable knowledge of nature. From the idea of the garden which proves to be so fundamental, especially in English Romanticism, enabling us to consider categories such as the sublime and the picturesque, so essential for defining the poetic art of that period, but also useful for reconsidering the variegated world of botany and its taxonomy, admirably revealed in the eighteenth century by Carl von Linnée. Although used in a different way, this interest also developed in Wolfgang Goethe who, in his famous Italian Journey, often mentioned his visits to the historic Italian botanical gardens in various places during his long stay in the peninsula, where he skilfully alternated between sites of great naturalistic beauty and art towns in which he had the possibility to get to know interesting archaeological sites and the most famous art collections. Michele Guido shares this penchant and attitude, and for this reason he looks back in time to concentrate on some examples of the Arabian gardens typical of some places in the South of the Italy, but also found, for example, in Venice, albeit hidden behind high boundary walls, as in the old horti conclusi. Hence his attention to the relationship between plants and their therapeutic and officinal properties, consulting precious medieval herbariums, typical, for example, of the School of Salerno, which was famous for its tacuina sanitatis, or handbooks. In this sense he seems almost to aim to reconstruct that ideal microcosm in which art and nature finally live side by side in harmony, bringing together colours, perfumes and sounds in a pacifying and therefore therapeutic perceptive synaesthesia, symbolically summed up in the emblematic lotus blossom. 

 

Text by Saverio Simi de Burgis

 

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