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Dentro le mura di Verona

FOREWORD BY Maria Cristina Castellazzi

Despite sincere thanks to Maria Pia for the pleasant task of writing the introduction to her new work, I feel the inadequacy of words, which are almost heavy in comparison to the light, elusive, rarefied images that the artist offers us.

The images in this collection leave everyone absolutely free to interpret them, as free and guided only by her sensitivity was the hand of the artist in capturing the essence of these places and these faces and in wonderfully combining them on the pages of this book in a mix of colour and dynamism.
Unusual associations of great effect that summarize the ex-perience of the modern and varied humanity that inhabits and gives life to this ancient place within its walls.
This is the skill of Maria Pia Severi in her ability to describe the atmosphere of Verona, fo-cussing the lens on the ‘just before’ and the ‘soon after’ of a moment. A photographic style that combines painting and poetry. Her way of shooting, rather than photographing, draws a detail, while the dynamism, by confusing the geometric contours, multiplies the spatial limits and gives the viewer the feeling of greater vision encompassing several and deeply diverse elements in the same moment.
“Sad is the life (and it’s like this for most) that simply sees, hears, and feels objects that only the eyes, ears, and other sensations register.”
(From: Theory of Double Vision, Giacomo Leopardi, Notebooks, 1821)

FOREWORD BY Carmine Siniscalco

Maria Pia Severi’s photographs – or I should say, her photographic works of art – create a harmony that is well suited to images of a city – whether landscapes or figures – which name automatically conjures up Romeo and Juliet, the two teenagers made eternal by the verses of Shakespeare and thus surviving their mortal remains, and the magic of the per-formances by a master of visual imagery, Zeffirelli, in the starry nights at the Arena of Verona.
I do not want to leave out some details: Maria Pia is stubborn, not willing to take advice and unabashedly self-centred, self-confident even if it does not show at first sight, humanely generous, of a helpful disposition and undoubted goodness, rational, like all women of her land, but capable of sudden unexpected flights of fancy, unsettling and unpredictable at once, with a hint of sincere unexpected madness, an imaginative story teller, childishly affectionate, touchy and clever… But in a naive manner, with the innocence of a teenager of past times. That is what sets her apart, and makes her an artist.

FOREWORD BY Lorella Pagnucco Salvemini

“There is no world without Verona walls” wrote Shakespeare. Mysterious sentence, which fires the imagination and excites fantasy. What did the Bard mean, or, perhaps, suggest? He has already made, four centuries ago, of Verona the temple of love – poignant, impossible, and tragic as it is when love is true. It is through images, in this case, that we steal secrets. It takes an enchanted look to succeed. It takes a great visionary. It takes an artist.
Maria Pia Severi is all this: to see is not enough for her; she wants to see through and beyond, going further and further. She will not settle for reality, but yearns for what it conceals. She never remains on the surface. Whether the photographer focuses her camera on the façade of a monument or the soft flesh of a woman’s face, she superimposes glazes, flickering evanescence, hues at times vaporous and delicate, sometimes nervous and impetuous, until the images dissolve like on a painting by Boldini, or until they break down in a lyrical abstraction like in Kandinsky and Klee.

Let us discover, then, the Verona of Maria Pia Severi, where atmospheres, lights, sounds, scents, colours create these visions hovering between dream and reality – suspended, vague, elusive, seizing the moment and consigned to history. How many secrets in a room, behind a smile, in a lightly sketched swaying of a girl passing by. How many mysteries, and how much passion. How much life. Piazza Bra, Piazza delle Erbe, the Roman Forum. Juliet’s house, Castelvecchio, the poetical sweetness of the Adige, the magic of the Arena at night: images that we see now again as if it was for the first time, driven by an atypical angle of a shot, an unusual approach, a detail never noticed before.

However, what strikes our attention is not only the careful attention to detail. There is more to these powerful shots. There is the originality of an emotional gaze that does not fail to touch. There is movement and there is volatility, there is the rhythm of life, its very breath. We find the ineffability of the moment and the ancient wisdom that brought Heraclitus to state that “panta rei”.

Everything flows, in fact. Everything comes and goes.

Everything comes and goes, Maria Pia Severi seems to want us to remember, except art.