Sandra Chia

Ex Chiesa di San Nicolo

This ten-year retrospective of paintings by Sandro Chia—curated by Bruno Mantura as part of Spoleto’s annual “Festival of Two Worlds”—suggested an autobiographical, pastoral cycle concerning the coming of age of the artist. In this light, A to perfido carro (To you, treacherous cart, 1980)—a picture of a mule bucking a small carriage in a picaresque landscape—can be considered an allegory of advent. The shimmering white cross and flamboyant orange glow around the carriage hood denote the presence of a very special passenger in what we may assume to be a Holy Perambulator.

This beleaguered traveler is elsewhere the subject of bucolic idylls and village persecutions, onanistic discoveries and provincial triumphs, and will eventually, perhaps immaculately, transcend to fatherhood. Adult eroticism leaves no discernible trace in Chia’s work. Homoerotic themes—the martyr-figures of Lo schiavo (

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