In front of the façade of the MAR – Ravenna Art Museum, near the Basilica of Santa Maria in Porto, there is a huge sculpture made of terracotta and painted with acrylic paints representing a horse realised by Mimmo Paladino.
Brought to the city in 2005, on the occasion of the solo exhibition “Mimmo Paladino in scena”, the artist then decided to temporarily leave it in Ravenna, until he decided where to put it.
Recently, the Museum bought the statue and included it in the contemporary art collection among other artworks by Paladino, which it already owned: the sculptured group Assediato (1991-1992), the preparatory cartoon of Albero della vita (1984), which the artists created for the public green area Parco della Pace, and the mosaic Vanità (1988).
The horse, which is a leitmotiv of Palladino’s career, has become a symbol not only of the museum but of the entire city itself.
With its 5 metres height, the horse’s slim legs stands on a bronze base. From its body develop its arched neck, a pointed muzzle and its hollow eyes, typical of Palladino’s figures.
The statue exudes an archaic and at the same time modern simplicity, recalling the themes and iconography of Don Quixote, on which the artist worked in the same year, as well as that of the Trojan horse.
This work, as many others, shows the synergy Paladino manages to obtain between painting and sculpture, as his works of bigger dimensions suggest best, from canvases to three-dimensional objects.
Born in Campania in 1948, Domenico Paladino was one of the main exponents of the Transavantgarde, an artistic movement that saw a return to painting and figurative arts after the conceptual currents of the 1970s. He perfectly interpreted the rules of Eclecticism and intellectual nomadism, coded by Achille Bonito Oliva in the 1980s.
His production draws from a vast imagery, inspired by different epochs and styles. He especially takes inspiration by exploring a repertoire of primitivistic tradition.
Today, his works are housed in some of the most important international museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.