The Meeting and exhibitions
Right from the start, exhibitions have been a feature of the Rimini Meetings, with an average of fifteen each year. Over the years they have gradually become more prominent and their effectiveness as a primary form of communication is increasingly evident. Most of the displays presented on the premises and as part of the various editions of the Meeting have had this didactic quality: they are archeological, photographic, scientific and historical. At the same time there are also exhibitions of the work of modern and contemporary artists with an international reputation. Examples are "Christ and the Crucifixions of Graham Sutherland" in 1981; "The Primal Cry of Horror" devoted to Francis Bacon in 1983; "Conceptual Art: the New York School", with works by Kosuth, Weiner, Lewitt Barry, Huebler and Wilson; "Henry Moore", an exhibition of drawings; and "The Sacred in the Work of Sassu."
In 1984 the Meeting, in partnership with the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation in Venice, presents "Action Painting", with important works by masters of the movement and a solo exhibit devoted, not long after his death, to William Congdon, a painter who had attended the Meeting on a number of occasions.
Columbus and the discovery of American is again at the center of interest with an exhibition curated by Pof. Paolo Emilio Taviani. Finally there is an exhibition devoted to the Jesuit reductions in Paraguay.
Among the exhibitions presented in 1985, of particular interest are a solo exhibit devoted to George Segal and “The Joy of Living, or Antipolis,” and a didactic exhibition on Picasso curated by Daniel Giraudy of the Picasso Museum in Antibes. Also presented is an exhibition titled “The Religious World of Ancient Egypt” curated by the Egyptian museum in Turin.
In 1986 comes “Monumental Chagall” with a display of the stained glass windows for the chapel of the Cordeliers in Serrebourg, Moselle, curated by Sylvie Forestier of the Chagall Museum, Nice.
In 1987 the Meeting displays Georges Rouault’s “Miserere” series in Rimini as well as a collection of works by Guttuso. Also on display are 90 works by the photographer Liu Heung Shing presenting a series of “non-postcard” images of China.
In 1988 visitors to the Meeting are fascinated by the tapestries of Rubens from the Diocesan Museum of Ancona. Then, through images, reconstructions and objects, an exhibition guides visitors to the discovery of the prehistoric temples of Malta.
In 1989 the Meeting presents an exhibition of “Portraits and Self-Portraits” by the Surrealist André Masson.
In 1990 China is in the limelight with the exhibition “Fifty Years at the Imperial Court. Giuseppe Castiglione, Painter to the Emperor of China,” organized in conjunction with the Musée Guimet in Paris.
Working in partnership with another important French institution, the Centre National de la Photographie,
the Meeting presents a “Tribute to Henry Cartier-Bresson.”
In 1997 the Meeting devotes a solo exhibition to the work of the Italian artist Maurizio Bottoni titled “The Infinite in Detail,” curated by Marco Bona Castellotti.
A successful experiment was made in 1985 with a large archaeological exhibition devoted to “The Aztecs and Their Roots”, which prolonged after the end of the Meeting. Since 1992, the major exhibitions – the most important and significant – have been presented in well-appointed museum spaces in Rimini, at some distance from the Meeting itself.
The major exhibitions usually close when the Meeting ends, but they open some months before. They are always curated to the highest standards and so help advertise the Meeting while fostering the city’s growth as an important center of cultural tourism. The following are the major exhibitions so far organized by the Meeting:
1992 “The Cities of the Gods. Ten Pre-Columbian Cultures of Mexico”, curated by E. Matos Moctezuma, in conjunction with the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia, Mexico, and the Civic Museums of Rimini.
1993 “The Euphrates and Time. Civilizations of the Middle Euphrates and Syrian Gezira”, curated by Olivier and Maria Grazia Rouault, in collaboration with the Syrian Antiquities, the Musée du Louvre and the Civic Museums of Rimini. With 500 valuable exhibits, many displayed here for the first time, the exhibition presents over 16000 years of history on the banks of the Euphrates.
In the same year there is a very important artistic event: “Cagnacci,” the first major anthological exhibition devoted to the seventeenth-century painter, curated by Daniele Benati and Marco Bona Castellotti.
1994 The Meeting draws on the resources of 47 departments of the archaeological heritage to present
“Ancient Peoples of Italy,” an exhibition under the scholarly supervision of Sabatino Moscati and Pietro Giovanni Guzzo. The country's origins are documented with over 1000 exhibits.
1995 The exhibition “From the Year 1000 to the Year 2000. Treasures and Peoples of the Black Sea” is produced in conjunction with the Academy of Sciences, the Archaeological Institute of the Republic of Ukraine, the Historical Museums of the Crimea, and the Hermitage of St. Petersburg. “The Trecento in Rimini. Masters and Workshops in Romagna and the Marches”, with the scholarly collaboration of Daniele Benati, Miklos Boskovits, Paolo Dal Poggetto, Andrea Emiliani, Everett Fahy, Michel Laclotte and Federico Zeri. On display are 70 paintings from all over the world, documenting the unexpected appearance of one of the major schools of Trecento painting, its development and its equally sudden and mysterious demise.
1996 This is the year of “From the Earth to the Nations. The Spread of Christianity During the Early Centuries.” The exhibition presented over 300 remarkable archeological and historical exhibits dating from the 1st to the 4th centuries, shedding light on the origins of Christianity and its dissemination. It was produced with the collaboration of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, the British Museum, London, the Israel Antiquities Authority, Magdalen College, Oxford, the Vatican Museums, the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology, the Capitoline Museums, the Museo Nazionale Romano, Rome, the City Museums of Rimini, and numerous other institutions. Those involved in its organization include Fabrizio Bisconti, Elena Cavalcanti, Angela Donati, Margherita Guarducci, Paolo Liverani, Marta Sordi, Giancarlo Susini and Carsten Peter Thiede. More than 100,000 visitors see the exhibition, which later tours five continents in its photographic version.
1997 “Dostoevsky” is an exhibition devoted to the life and works of this great Russian artist and thinker, curated by Vladimir A. Kotelnikov and Anna Vicini of “Russia Cristiana”, with the didactic contribution of Fabio Baroncini and in conjunction with the Institute of Russian Literature, the Academy of Sciences, the Museums of St. Petersburg, and the Civic Museums of Rimini.
1998 “Romana Pictura. Roman Painting from the Origins to the Byzantine Period” opens in March with the collaboration of institutes such as the Capitoline Museums, Rome, the Museo Nazionale Romano, the
Archaeological Museum of Naples, the Vatican Museums, the Archaeological Service of Pompeii and the Civic Museums of Rimini and many others. More than 200 works of art record the history of ancient painting from the 2nd century B.C. to the 6th century A.D. Its layout is symbolic, passing from profane and early Christian art and from decorative to didactic painting.
A few weeks earlier, in Ravenna, the Meeting inaugurated the exhibition titled, “Kemet: At the
Springs of Time”, devoted to the birth of Egyptian civilization.
1999 The exhibition “Gaetano Previati 1852-1920. A Protagonist of European Symbolism” runs from 8 April to 29 August at the Palazzo Reale in Milan. Curated by Fernando Mazzocca, it presents an extraordinary parable of the master of Ferrara displayed in pictorial cycles of great visionary power.
“The Form of Color. Mosaics from Ancient Times to the Twentieth Century", curated by Marco Bona Castellotti, is held from 22 August 1999 to 6 January 2000 at the Palazzo del Podestà in Rimini. This outstanding exhibition reveals the artistic qualities of mosaics, from the earliest examples in Hellenistic and Roman times to rare and extraordinary works by great twentieth-century artists.
2000 "To the Ends of the Earth. Sculpture and Art in Portugal 1300-1500", 9 April-3 September, at the Palazzo del Podestà and the Palazzo dell’Arengo in Rimini, under the patronage of the Presidents of the Italian and Portuguese Republics. It reveals the extraordinary cultural, artistic and social epic of Portuguese art. The exhibition was selected as one of the official events for the Great Jubilee of Holy Year 2000.
"Peter and Paul: History, Cult and Memory", 30 June-10 December, at the Palazzo della Cancelleria Apostolica in Rome, promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Laity, in conjunction with the Vatican Museums and with the support of the Administration of the Heritage of the Apostolic See: the history of the princes of the Apostles, their presence in Rome in the first century AD, and the signs and memories of later centuries. The exhibition is among the official events of the Great Jubilee for Holy Year 2000.
2001 "Realisms. Figurative Arts, Literature and Cinema in Italy from 1943 to 1953." This major exhibition devoted to on an important phase of Italian twentieth-century culture is curated by Luciano Caramel, Ermanno Paccagnini and Mario and Luca Verdone. It is held at the Palazzo dell'Arengo and Palazzo del Podestà in Rimini from 19 August 2001 to 6 January 2002.
2002 “The Adriatic in the Trecento. Paolo Veneziano and Painting Between East and West” is the title of the exhibition presented in the fascinating setting of Castel Sismondo, curated by Francesca Flores D’Arcais, Professor of Medieval Art at the Catholic University, Milan.
2003 “The Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo. The History and Reception of a Masterpiece” is an exhibition organized by the Meeting in conjunction with the Vatican Museums. Its aim is to present Michelangelo’s greatest achievement in a wholly new and fascinating light, accompanied by his original drawings and sketches. The exhibition is again presented in the splendid setting of Castel Sismondo, Rimini.
2005 “Constantine the Great. Ancient Civilization at the Crossroads between East and West” is a major exhibition presented in Castel Sismondo, Rimini, between 13 March and 5 September 2005. A great emperor, Constantine in a period of religious, political, social, geographic and artistic upheaval, and a cultural renewal that is still distinctively European. Over 250 art masterpieces from 34 major museums tell the story of our roots and mark the confines of the new world.
2007 “The Space of Wisdom. Hagia Sophia in Istanbul” is the title of a major exhibition which the Meeting produced with the support of the Embassy of Turkey in Rome. A photographic report made specially for the occasion and valuable Byzantine artworks from the Vatican Museums, the treasury of the Basilica of San Marco in Venice and other Italian museums recount the history and recreate the atmosphere of the former Basilica of Hagia Sophia, on entering which Justinian exclaimed: “Glory to God who made me worthy of this! O Solomon, I have surpassed you!” The exhibition is highly appreciated in the Orthodox world, as testified by a message from the Patriarch Batholomew I.
2008 In collaboration with the Vatican Museums, the Meeting offered its public the exhibition entitled “Exempla. The rebirth of the antique in Italian art. From Fredric the Second to Andrea Pisano”, was held in Rimini from April 14 to September 7, 2008, and designed by Marco Bona Castellotti and Antonio Giuliano. An extraordinary exhibition for many reasons: the original ingeniousness of the idea that it sustains, the quality of testimonies gathered, the amount of testimonies, the studies involved and that brought new attributions. More than 100 pieces of art work described the return to the antique, from Fredric’s classicalism, the pure imitation of classical models, to that of Nicola Pisano and of all the other authors enlightened by the Christian experience created something new, expressing a content of profound truth and humanity.