A modern pilgrim
No weight any more by now, taken away and set free from any earthly tie, melted in a wide sky wrapping up and taking in everything: this is Beraldo’s reality, that same reality he evokes in his paintings and frescoes, which are a never ending song of an infinite nostalgia taking the form of continuous dreams, like in Ungaretti’s rhymes:
from golden blue
And all Beraldo’s painting is, in fact, the recording of a long walk on a wide blue plateau, during a blinded and never ending noon, where everything coagulates in a sort of timeless eternity. And when the burning soil and the pressing sun stops the painter’s walking, he looks for a shelter to write down, with the privilege provided by distance, a story made of solitary places and silences, of abandoned landscapes, where men could hardly have access. It seems as if the painter had the privilege to tell what would actually be forgotten, and forgotten because never known.
And this nearly oracular dimension of Franco Beraldo’s art combines with that magic cadence that is always reflected by his canvases, by his frescoes. His art makes the observer think that within these Mediterranean places, inside and beyond these overhanging skies, there is space only for few secret inhabitants and that the Earth has moved somewhere else. Franco Beraldo’s world is crossed by a ray of pure light, never contaminated by everyday routine. On the contrary, Beraldo’s is a mythical everyday life, stuck in a moment once for ever and not absolutely changeable.
So maybe time does not exist either or it has never existed if, as Lucrezio wrote, “time does not exist in itself, but it gets its past, present and future tense from events. Noone feels it removed from object motion and still rest.” Beraldo has created his own universe originating from a reality that is already absolute before even being a reality in itself. The objective element, that charming and integrating presence of the Mediterranean coasts, is the starting point for an adventure that later develops in a long, mental personalism restlessly eyeing the landscape happiness, though always keeping, almost by definition, a note of piercing and painful purity.
And it is just here that we find the neo-15th -century roots of Beraldo’s painting, which in the formal reconstruction of images, in the unrhythmically cadenced scanning of the long sunny streets sloping down towards the sea represents the streets closer to each other, those same streets that seem to belong to a Montale’s rough itinerary. But then, and still more, the opened windows of the distant lonely houses and their windowsills with fruit-dishes say to us how a whole heritage of immemorial silences has perfectly settled down.
NIt is not a case, in fact, that from Piero della Francesca’ 15th –century- style, according to the exact critical remark of Paolo Rizzi, the painter passes to a sort of neometaphysics, that has not De Chirico’s absolute crystallization though, but that finds a possible mediation in Virgilio Guidi’s extended lagoon views. Within this very intense signal, Beraldo structures his composition as to give welcome to the atmosphere of the 20th century painting, especially Giorgio Morandi’s, which is present as a tutelary deity in many sequences of this interrupted journey. And it is just here that the painter reveals his originality, by shattering the scheme of this cultivated painting in order to include a note of touching nostalgia, which stirs up the dream of distances more and more.
Marco Goldin Rome 1995