The people from Assisi are assisani, and those from Perugia are perugini. From Spello, spellani. The citizens of hilltown Montefalco are montefalchesi and derutesi live in Deruta while folignati live in Foligno.
But can you guess the name of the inhabitants of the northern Umbrian town near the Tiber River, Citta’ di Castello? Castellani? Castellini? Castellesi?
You are not even close.
The locals of Citta’ di Castello are tifernati.
Archaeological finds indicate the presence of a village – Tifernum – of a native Italic people, the umbri as early as 1000 B.C. in the area of the present town. The villagers were able to resist the advance of the Etruscans for centuries and by the 7th-c. B.C., the wealthy borgo developed commercial ties with the Etruscans and other surrounding peoples, while maintaining their independence.
But in the late 3rd-c. B.C., the town is absorbed by the Romans and becomesTifernum Tiberinum, due to its proximity to the Tiber River.
In the early 13th-century, the town is known as “Civitas Castelli ” and will become part of the Papal States in the mid-14th-century – until the Unification of Italy in 1860.
In the piazzas, palazzi and churches of Citta’ di Castello, you’ll encounter architecture and artistic treasures of the Middle Ages….
…..and Baroque periods…
But the major draw to this Umbrian town of the Altotevere (“literally, “high Tiber,” i.e, upper area of the Tiber) is the contemporary art of Alberto Burri.
Senza dubbio. (“Without a doubt”).
As New York artist friend, Lucia Minervini, wrote for me about our recent visit together to Museo di Burri:
“Albert Burri; 1915 – 1995: was a rule breaker. Innovative, courageous and experimental with concepts of form, process and technique, Burri, with astonishing success, wove together many of the most avant guarde ideas of his time.
He violated the picture plane, used non traditional materials, unified process art, site specific installation, assemblage, color field painting, set design, and conceptual art – to name a few.
A high level, Umbrian ‘maestro’ on a par with Giotto, Simone Martini and Perugino, Burri’s work is not to be missed when visiting Italy’s “green heart”, the region of Umbria.” (And do see www.luciamariaminervini.com)
As of 1981, a part of the Alberto Burri collection is housed in the elegant late 15th-century Palazzo Albizzini….
……and includes 129 Burri creations dating from 1948-1989 and arranged in chronological order in twenty rooms.
The opening lines of the “Guide to the Burri Collection” compiled by the Fondazione Palazzo Albizzini Collezione Burri – given to visitors at the entrance – is a perfect introduction to one’s perusal of the Burri Collection: “As Burri himself requested, the exhibition begins with the works he felt best represented his career as a mature artist. The first three rooms convey the beginnings of a new artistic language, due in part to Burri’s use of unconventional materials including sand, pumice, sacking, tar and canvases, which demonstrate that the act of painting has no limits.”
I was captivated at my first encounter with this tifernate master..
…and the fascination was enhanced by the interpretations of Burri’s art by New York artist Lucia, visiting the Collezione with me:
One of the first works Lucia pointed out to me was Grande Bianco (Large White), done in 1952 and marking the start of Burri’s series of artworks featuring sacchi (sacking) and worn garments.
Lucia took note of the overlapping textures and the blending of colors.
Earlier Burri Sacchi creations had incorporated sacking used to send food assistance to Europeans post-World War II.
From 1952 to 1957, Burri’s Sacchi works mystified art critics and did not enthuse the public.
They do now.
Here are a few protagonists of Burri’s Sacchi series:
RTV and Roz (1953)
Grande Sacco (1956)
Two Shirts (1957)
The Fondazione “Guide to the Burri Collection” offers this insight on the Sacchi “the presence of holes, stictching, tears or cuts and craters of red. often interpreted as wounds, should simply be seengurative elements that play a part in the structure of the painting.”
In one of Burri’s earliest works (Catrame,1949) on display, tar (catrame) is the protagonist:
Burri created his art with sliced sheaves of wood (legno), too….as you can see in Legno (1959):
And Lucia was enthused with Burri’s creations of drappeggio (drapings, noting the artistic blending of materials and colors.
In his ethical recycling, one of the non-traditional materials Burri used was plastic – long before the worldwide concern for our planet swimming in plastic.
Grande Plastica (1963) is suspended in the ninth room of the gallery, surrounded by other plastica creations:
Burri created Grande Rosso Plastica in 1962–
…..and Plastica in the same year:
Rosso Plastica was made in 1964:
Mille grazie, Alberto Burri, for creating astounding art with your ethical recycling.
Click here to read about Burri and how he created his masterpieces.
Read about a favorite trattoria in Citta’ di Castello – for black truffles (and not only)