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Illustrator? Costume designer? Writer? Set designer? Reporter? Quite confused.
Here’s my last (?) tribute to Giacomo Leopardi’s poetry - and to Il Giovane Favoloso, the biopic recently presented at the Venice Film Festival.
This drawing - in which I portrayed Elio Germano as Giacomo Leopardi and Michele Riondino as his friend Antonio Ranieri - was inspired by one of the last poems Leopardi wrote, La ginestra o Il fiore del deserto (The broom or The flower of the desert).
In its verses, the poet expresses his vast thought about mankind, history and nature. The great volcano Vesuvius dominates the entire poem with its destructive power. The scotch broom (ginestra), growing in those desolate places without surrendering to the hostile Nature, resembles the image of an ideal man, weak but courageous enough to be aware of his real condition. A man who rejects any illusions about himself and does not invoke from Heaven (or Nature) an impossible help. A man who is a clear metaphor of Leopardi’s condition.
The poet laments the nothingness of the world and of man compared with the universe and the precariousness of the human condition threatened by the capriciousness of nature; then, he satirizes the arrogance of man, who propounds ideas of progress, hopes and eternity, even knowing he is mortal. But the inner message of this canto is very different from the rest of Leopardi’s works. This poem is about solidarity.
In the last stage of his life, Leopardi finally develops the concept of “social chain”, in which men, brothers in pain, can bear the pain if they join together. This is because, in the last years before his premature death, the young poet fully experienced the power of a loving friendship with Antonio Ranieri, a young man of noble birth, with whom he spent seven years, travelling between Rome, Florence and Naples - where he died a few days before his 39th birthday.
We can consider La ginestra his spiritual testament, still pessimistic but not desperate anymore and redeemed by the light of a mutual understanding.
Sorry for the long explanation!
Inspired by one of the most famous Italian poems, A Silvia, written by Giacomo Leopardi in 1828. There is no translation which can do justice to this wonderful poem, nor will there ever be. The canto is about a young, beautiful woman - possibly the daughter of a servant in the Leopardi household - who died prematurely. Her death became the symbol of the futility of Leopardi's hope.
(I wanted to reproduce Leopardi's original manuscript in the background, here's the document)
Pencil on copy paper 80 gr