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Remembering Antonio Paolucci, minister of beauty

About thirty years ago in the Piazza del Pantheon in Rome I saw a figure well known to me who was crossing it alone. Era Antonio Paolucci, appointed a few days ago as Minister for Cultural and Environmental Heritage in the Dini technical government. This was very impressive. For the first time one art historianand illustrious like Paolucci, was awarded such a position.

Paolucci after all – who died on 4 February at the age of 84 – he was by unanimous recognition one of the greatest art historians of this country and beyond. He had been superintendent, truly prestigious, in various locations until arriving in Florence which almost identified with his amiable and authoritative figure, even though he was not Florentine. He was from Rimini and very attached to his land and to its culture, as he then amply demonstrated in the last phase of his tireless activity as a scholar, official and organizer, culminating as general director of the Vatican museums from 2007 to 2016. A luminous career that has few comparisons in the history of studies and of protection of the Fine Arts.

Cultural heritage

Antonio Paolucci: “Paris is inspired by the restoration carried out in the nineteenth century”

Francesco Erbani

We were serious friends and I wasn’t that surprised to see him minister on foot and without people around, approaching me with his usual mild and polite tone, a true, old gentleman who certainly doesn’t change because he has now reached that position. I rejoiced with him and immediately promised him that I would never disturb him except for truly important matters but none of them happened to me, and so I only saw him once or twice in his study at the Collegio Romano, always very busy and calm.

Minister he remained so for just over a year between 1995 and 1996, strengthening everyone’s esteem and respect in the field, so much so that the following year, 1997, the new government appointed him Extraordinary commissioner for the restoration of the Basilica of Assisi earthquake, and it is moving to remember his dedication, competence and concrete operational capacity supported by profound doctrine and above all awareness of how certain crucial responsibilities that life can bestow on us must be addressed.

A few years later, at the end of 2001, I joked with him: «they should call you to solve the post-Twin Towers problem. You know how it is, when I saw them collapse I thought I was seeing the collapse of the vault of Assisi again.” He looked at me with good-natured patience: «Of course, of course! It’s actually a huge cultural and moral issue, things that concern us directly, right?”

You have to read the truly remarkable book that Paolucci published as soon as he finished his ministerial office to understand what he meant, the Italy Museum. Diary of a Superintendent-Minister (Syllables, 1996). He had collected a whole series of articles mostly written by the ministerial front and there one senses the calm and at the same time total involvement of an eminent scholar who experiences his research activity as a concrete intervention and incessant dialogue with the community.

Paolucci he was precisely this: a great person capable of leading a vital sector of our society such as that of cultural heritage simply by doing his job, while also constantly knowing how to describe it at a very high level of elocution and writing.

It came from the lesson of Roberto Longhi and he was the study companion of a handful of formidable personalities destined to powerfully innovate the history of Italian art such as Giovanni Previtali, Luciano Bellosi, Giovanni Romano, Bruno Toscano, Alessandro Conti and many other very deserving ones that it is impossible to mention here. Soon everyone realized that compared to his fellow travelers he had an edge: he was one of the greatest speakers of our country.

A conference, a lesson, a presentation by Paolucci were a sort of exhilarating and serene journey into arduous spaces of historical-artistic knowledge that appeared to those who listened to be easy, evident, actually beneficial to our lives.

Paolucci expressed himself in a conversational way, not so much explaining as, in fact, telling about himself and the discipline. And while he talked about art you understood that that easy path is actually the The steps to Parnassus of which the ancients said and said well. You realize that you always wanted it but didn’t know it.

#Remembering #Antonio #Paolucci #minister #beauty
– 2024-04-13 06:57:52

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