Why Have Italian Artists Had a Centuries-Old Fascination With Gold? A New York Exhibition Provides a Clue

Casoli De Luca Gallery opened an Upper East Side pop-up exhibition this November.

Installation view of
Installation view of "ORO d'ITALIA" at Casoli De Luca, New York. Photo: Dario Lasagni, courtesy of Casoli De Luca.

This month you can add another another stop on your Upper East Side art viewing itinerary: Rome’s Casoli De Luca, the young gallery venture between dealers Sergio Casoli and Mattia De Luca, has opened a pop-up space in a 63rd Street townhouse this month. 

“ORO D’ITALIA” (“Italian Gold”) is a gilded journey through Italian artists’ centuries-long fascination with gold. Intermingling works by the likes of Rudolf Stingel and Jannis Kounellis with 15th-century religious scenes, the show is a reflection both of Italy’s rich cultural history and its changing social, political, and religious realities.

The exhibition is a new version of one hosted at the Rome gallery this summer, but with a few notable changes. While the gallery has brought over exhibition highlights from the first show like Jannis Kounellis’s Untitled (2003) and Fausto Melotti’s Kore (1958-59), fans of the Met Breuer’s Lucio Fontana exhibition will be pleased to know that the gallery has added a number of the artist’s ceramics to the mix. 

<i>Familiare del Boccati Madonna and Child</i> (circa 1460-1480). Courtesy of Casoli de Luca.

Familiare del Boccati Madonna and Child (circa 1460-1480). Courtesy of Casoli De Luca.

“Many of the artists in the exhibition have had a relationship with this city. Between 1947 and 1965, Lucio Fontana produced a rare series dedicated to New York, executed on metallic surfaces,” said the dealers. “He traveled to New York in November 1961 to attend the opening of his first solo exhibition at Martha Jackson Gallery and was immediately captivated by Manhattan’s skyline.” Along with these works, the gallery has also included a new selection of gold-ground panel paintings that illustrate the religious uses of gold during the Renaissance.

Why New York? Casoli and De Luca say that the venue creates the opportunity to introduce a new narrative on Italian artistic identity for American audiences. And why gold?  “Gold is a wonderful excuse to represent the style and taste of Italian art,” Mattia De Luca rightly summed up. 


ORO d’ITALIA” is on view through November 23, 2019, at Casoli De Luca’s New York pop-up at 8 East 63rd Street New York. Hours are Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. 

Installation view of "ORO d'ITALIA" at Casoli de Luca, New York. Photo: Dario Lasagni, courtesy of Casoli de Luca.

Installation view of “ORO d’ITALIA” at Casoli De Luca, New York. Photo: Dario Lasagni, courtesy of Casoli De Luca.

Jannis Kounellis, <i>Untitled</i> (2003). Courtesy of Casoli de Luca.

Jannis Kounellis, Untitled (2003). Courtesy of Casoli De Luca.


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