24 August 2023

Exhibits: Pino Settani’s “I Tarocchi” lands in Venice

from 30 August to 26 November 2023 in the prestigious Le Stanze della Fotografia in Venice

Pino Settanni (1949-2010) was one of the most original, lively and eclectic contemporary master photographers. An artist who in recent years has been increasingly rediscovered through exhibitions and publications after the acquisition by the Luce Archive of his entire photographic collection, made up of over 60,000 images. A massive heritage that Luce is engaged in preserving and digitizing. Well known for his portraits, especially of Italian and international film protagonists, an appreciated photojournalist who travelled throughout Southern Italy and in war zones such as the Balkans and Afghanistan following the Italian Army, an extrovert polygraph of serial projects, from the 60s to the 2000s Settanni went through an endless range of different genres and techniques. Nevertheless, one trait of his work has always been constant, making it truly special: the barrier breakdown between painting and cinema. ‘The photographer with the brush’, ‘the painter with the camera’ are just some of the definitions used over the years to describe him and his personal and inimitable style.
Now an exhibition is to celebrate this Maestro, one of the most important. ‘I Tarocchi’, held from 30 August to 26 November 2023 in the prestigious Le Stanze della Fotografia in Venice, a venue dedicated to international photography masters, is a joint initiative by Marsilio Arte and the Giorgio Cini Foundation. The exhibition is organized by Archivio Luce Cinecittà, in collaboration with Le Stanze della Fotografia, Fondazione Giorgio Cini and Marsilio Arte.
In 1994, Settanni devoted his art to creating a photographic series of tarots, the famous cards of European tradition, prompted by the reading of Italo Calvino’s The Castle of Crossed Destinies, and paying a personal and decisive homage to the studio painting of his main iconographic reference, Caravaggio.
After studying the history of pictorial images dedicated to card playing and artists such as Dürer and Brueghel the Elder, and six months of strenuous work in his studio, Settanni gave life to an unprecedented work: for the first time tarot figures were photographed with human features. Taking the Marseilles Tarots as a model for the major and minor Arcana, the photographer had actresses and models pose for him (with the only exception of a man for the Fool figure embodied by actor Mario Scaccia), setting up the entire photoshoot: from the preparatory sketches to the black backdrop (the master’s trademark), from the cut of the ingenious costumes made with four basic colors fabrics – red, yellow, blue and green – to the poses and the props. The result is exceptional in composition, richness, humor, and significance. The ‘photographic’ painting of his inspirational artist, Caravaggio, is combined with a scent of theatrical staging and the dynamics of a film set. A rare and playful blend of the arts and combinatorial freedom where Settanni merges a centuries-old tradition such as tarots – a Western cultural heritage – with avant-garde, unbridled and ‘pop’ experimentation.
The exhibition at the Stanze della Fotografia presents the audience with 61 images – the 22 Major Arcana, the 16 Minor Arcana, and an original selection of backstage photos showing the photographer himself on the set: revealing and amusing images discovered during the digitization of the Settanni collection at the Luce Archive.
The tarot cards presented in dazzling prints in Venice reveal a further aspect of a brilliantly versatile photographer, an artist who led his viewers into the life of the jet set and the humanity of the fragile, into the secret beauty of many places and, as with the magical outpouring of this card game, into that of European culture, breaking down the boundaries within the arts swung between seriousness and lightness, reality and dreams.

Ultime news

Restorations • Venice

‘L’oro di Napoli’ by Vittorio De Sica restored by Cinecittà pre-opens Venice

The classic film by and with Vittorio De Sica, L’oro di Napoli (The Gold of Naples, 1954) starring Eduardo De Filippo, Sophia Loren, Silvana Mangano, Paolo Stoppa and Totò, will be the Pre-opening film on Tuesday August 27th of the 81st Venice International Film Festival of La Biennale di Venezia, on the 50th anniversary of the death of Vittorio De Sica and the 70th anniversary of the film.