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On Thursday 4 September 2014, the Museum Complex of Città di Gualdo Tadino welcomed to the Church of St Francis a performance by Aosta Valley artist Gabriele Maquignaz, who, for the first time ever, making use of a giant sized canvas (extending over a total area of 21 square metres), performed “The Tears of Jesus”.

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THE TEARS OF JESUS Gabriele Maquignaz touches the heart of Umbria

“The work is a cry of alarm and at the same time a gesture of hope, in defence of a world that cannot succumb to war”

explains Catia Monacelli, Director of the Museum Complex of Città di Gualdo Tadino, who coordinated the project,

“and it comes, not by chance, from a Franciscan church and a land of peace such as Umbria”.

The installation, with its seemingly naïf set-up, is a sinopia of the face of Christa emerging from the gigantic white canvas that dominates the interior of the aisleless church.

To the notes of an oboe and a violin, the artist performed live in the presence of a large audience: using a special support, he reached the sacred face, and, through a process of profound identification, made his artwork weep red enamel tears that symbolised the sufferings and the blood of Jesus, tears that are shed again now, for this afflicted humanity.
Maurizia Tazartes, well-known historian and art critic, explains:

“Like an icon painter, Maquignaz sends a message to the world. Speaks with immediacy through tears. He invites to peace, faith, hope and solidarity, consoles those who suffer injustice and are persecuted, breaks the guilty silence of the powerful. Looking at “The Tears of Jesus” we are reminded of the painted Crosses of the Late Middle Ages.
Huge Crosses made of solid wood were built widely in Tuscany and Umbria from the 12th to the 14th century. However, “The Tears of Jesus” is a contemporary work, born and conceived in the early 21st century, The author does not draw on past visual history. He feels, creates, sends out his messages through art, as Munch does in his painting “The Scream”

“When he draws, when he pours barrels of colours-tears onto the canvas, he is doing something of his own devising, he is not thinking of his predecessors or of the ancient images, but rather, in his own way, he unites with the divine. He becomes one with the action and makes his mark as a religious and artistic gesture, as many 20th century avant-garde artists did before him, and other contemporary artists are doing nowadays in their own peculiar ways. Bus this gesture by Maquignaz is undeniably highly original and achieves outstanding synthesis and great expressive effects”.

Later in the evening, within the framework of the “Night at the Museum” event organised with the patronage of the City of Gualdo Tadino, the Province of Perugia and the Umbria Region, the artist’s one man show entitled “Maquignaz Code. Door to the New Dimension” was inaugurated.

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