The life in painting of
Franco Fontanella


for the 50 years of activity of the Artisan of Art

Curated by Stefano Papetti and Gino Troli



La Mole - Sala Vanvitelli

from December 8th 2021 to January 6th 2022
(closed on December 25th and January 1st)

Free entrance

Opening times:
Tuesday to sunday10-12 | 16-20

First opening:
Wednesday December 8th at 16:30


The exhibition path is guided through audio description.

After its opening in the prestigious venue of Pio Sodalizio dei Piceni in Rome in October, in the presence of the Undersecretary of State for the Ministry of Culture, Lucia Borgonzoni, the President of the Marche Region, Francesco Acquaroli, the Councillor for Culture of the Marche Region, Giorgia Latini, and Prof. Vittorio Sgarbi, the exhibition “Franco Fontanella’s life in painting” finally arrives in the Marches, the Artist’s home region.

The exhibition, which is promoted by the Marche Region under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture, reconstructs the first fifty years of activity of the artist from Osimo. It aims at telling how his talent was born and has developed over time through the display of about 90 pictorial works and with the help of several video installations, taking visitors on a journey that starts from the artist’s beginning with cubist influences, continues with his love for the art of the Italian Renaissance and the fresco technique, the production of master copies and mural decorations, and ends with his works inspired by classicism and hyperrealism, especially still lifes and landscapes of the Marche region, with a particular predilection for views of the Conero Riviera.

The Exhibition was curated by Prof. Stefano Papetti, the Director of the Civic Picture Gallery and the "Osvaldo Licini" Contemporary Art Gallery in Ascoli Piceno, who is also Professor of Museology and Restoration of Cultural Heritage at the University of Camerino, a curator of important exhibitions and expert of the Renaissance and Baroque Art of the Marche region, and Prof. Gino Troli, the President of AMAT - the Association for Theatrical Activities of the Marche region and former Councillor for Culture of the Municipality of San Benedetto and of the Marche region, with the contribution of Prof. Vittorio Sgarbi, a well-known art critic and historian.

The programme of the Exhibition is enriched by a video installation by Prof. Francesco De Melis, a filmmaker-ethnologist, music anthropologist, composer and producer, that shows what one rarely has the opportunity to witness, that is the gesture of the artist at work.

During the press conference, among the several passages of his speech, Vittorio Sgarbi spoke about the exhibition as a bridge between the past and present, which is a very interesting image from a critical point of view. He underlined that Franco Fontanella is an ancient artist who lives in the present and tries to understand the great masters’ thought and elaborate his own dialogue with them, with the desire to make it clear that the history of art is one and that all art is contemporary.

Franco Fontanella paints Le Marche

"I first got to know the artist Franco Fontanella many years ago, when I was walking along the main street of one of the towns of our region and I was struck by a representation of “Due Sorelle”. […] I discovered an artist who exalted the beauty of our territory, the countryside, the villages, the views, the colours of the seasons, and who, through his works, made us aware of the wonders that everyday life risks belittling. Franco Fontanella also has the merit of creating, with his art, a value that goes beyond the culture of the landscape and places of our stunning region. His works, in fact, become a vehicle of strong emotions that create testimony and enhance the beauty of our land. Among his many credits, this is the one he has earned with many years of activity, a unique wisdom that imprints the extraordinary nature of our region in his works forever and that places him as a guardian in this age of infinite beauty”.

Francesco Acquaroli 
President of the Marche Region 

Franco Fontanella’s life in painting

"Franco Fontanella’s life in painting is an exhibition that tells of a long artistic journey that started in a workshop of a master craftsman between Osimo and Porto Recanati where Fontanella grew up and made a name for himself, breathing art every moment, often putting himself to the test with numerous artistic disciplines that brought him, over time, to perfect his reference models and that, today, anoint him as a true great artist of this land."

Giorgia Latini
Councillor for Culture of the Marche region

A man of the Renaissance

"When you watch Franco prepare his material in front of a wall before starting to work, you cannot help but imagine him in Rome or Florence around five centuries ago while bargaining with clients of the time over the subjects, deadlines and fees for his works.
Probably he would have even been given a nickname like “The Quick“ or “The Impetuous“ for his rapidity."

Giuseppe Bacchiocchi

Technique at the service of Art

"In the Greek and Latin worlds two terms were used to indicate the context of artistic creation, ars and tèchne. The former focuses on creative and immaginative aspects, whereas the latter on technical knowledge and know-how. Over the centuries, in particular with the advent of the avant-garde movements of the early twentieth century, the balanced relationship between these two complementary elements has been broken and increasing focus has been placed on the enhancement of the creative aspect, while relegating technique to a secondary, if not even useless, role.
This introduction is particularly necessary when presenting the works produced by master Fontanella in his first fifty years of activity. For the extraordinary technical quality of his paintings, Fontanella is, in fact, an atypical case in the artistic context of the twenty-first century. It should be remembered that Fontanella is a self-taught artist. He didn’t attend an art school or academy, but has developed and refined his creativity over the years. It was an innate passion that gave him the urge to paint when he was only a teenager.
In an era in which the technical aspects of artistic making are often underestimated, Fontanella reasserts that it is not possible to convey emotions without being familiar with the means by which to express them. To conclude, Fontanella’s fifty years of activity, which are being celebrated with this exhibition, attest that, if it is not supported by technical competence, creativity always leaves something unexpressed."

Stefano Papetti

Frescoes and love for challenge

"The Artist's love for this technique is visceral, not only because he has used it for years making it his job, but because of the challenge it represents. In fact, having remained unchanged over time, the fresco technique has always been a real test for every artist willing to engage in it.
Time, the main challenge is against time. A painter needs to be spontaneous and fast and needs to have great technical skills."

Cristina Caponi

Painting in defence of the landscape

"There remains painting in defence of the landscape, there remains the job of narrator of the forms that Fontanella cultivates with the technical expertise of a skilled craftsman he makes clear, defines and unravels in each of his paintings. Just like his predecessors, each time he knows how to catch the precious storyline of a reality that the gaze still manages to perceive and that today only painting knows how to pass on, provided the hand is that of an artist who can paint life with a sense of vocation."

Gino Troli

History as a performance

"This is perhaps the most authentic sense among those recognisable in Fontanella’s artistic experience, the fact that he has taken rather unconventional pathways, yet managing to achieve very clear results in their even programmatic consistency. The same consistency that Fontanella exhibits in his master copies and paintings à la maniere de..., by immersing himself in a contemporaneity of the past that should no longer be emulated but should only be performed in costume, in the integrity of imperishable texts in which it enjoys camouflaging itself. As if, in spite of history, even the past is always a novelty."

Vittorio Sgarbi


ROME 2021


As per the current governative rules (rif. D.L. of 23rd July 2021), starting from 6th August 2021 it is mandatory to present a Green Pass – COVID-19 Green certification (Certificazione verde COVID-19).

These dispositions do not apply to subjects exempt to the vaccination campaign due to age limits (children under 12 yo) and to subjects exempt due to medical certification complying to the criteria defined by the Ministry of Health.

For further info, visit:

In addition, anti-Covid rules remain in full effect:
in order to enter, it is necessary to have your body temperature checked and to be wearing a medical mask. If a temperature greater than 37,5°C is detected, you will not be able to access the exhibition halls.