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Embassy of Italy ………………………………………………………………………… Speech by H.E. Alessandro Busacca, Ambassador of Italy to Malaysia, at the presentation of the book “Michelangelo. La dotta mano” (Kuala Lumpur, 10 December 2008) ……………………………………………………………………………… Kuala Lumpur, 10 December 2008 check against delivery Speech by H.E. Alessandro Busacca, Ambassador of Italy to Malaysia, at the presentation of the book “Michelangelo. La dotta mano” (Kuala Lumpur, 10 December 2008) _____________________________________________________________ Tan Sri Dato’ (Dr.) Francis Yeoh, Managing Director, YTL Corporation Mr. Fabio Lazzari, Vice President, Fondazione FMR-Marilena Ferrari, Distinguished guests, It is a great pleasure for me to take part to the presentation of this unique masterpiece “Michelangelo. La dotta mano”, already acknowledged as among the world’s most beautiful books of art. This book is a very meaningful celebration of the genius of Michelangelo on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the painting of the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Michelangelo was a painter, sculptor, architect, poet and even engineer. His versatility in the disciplines he took up was of such a high order that he is considered a contender for the title of the true Renaissance man, along with his rival and fellow Italian Leonardo da Vinci. Michelangelo's output in every field during his long life was prodigious; and he was the first Western artist whose biography was published while he was alive. Really, to honour the memory and the art of such a man was not an easy undertaking, but I believe that today we are celebrating a stunning success. Allow me to say that by combining the finest craftsmanship and the most sophisticated techniques of the Italian masters of the past with those of the present (first of all, the art photography of Aurelio Amendola), this book captures the very spirit not only of the art of Michelangelo but of the whole Italian Renaissance. The Italian Renaissance marked the opening phase of a period of great cultural change and achievement in Italy and in Europe. The word itself (Rinascimento in Italian) means “rebirth”, and it was marked by a renewed interest in the culture of classical antiquity. It began in Tuscany, and centered in the cities of Florence and Siena, and then spread to the rest of Italy, especially Rome, and subsequently the rest of Europe. It spawned such a variety of innovative works, thoughts and ways of life that its effects still have influence on society today, and most likely will continue to influence the creations of future generations as well. The Italians of the period considered themselves to be living in a golden age, superior to anything since the fall of the Roman Empire a thousand years earlier, with painting, sculpture, music, poetry and architecture all awakening to a revival after sleeping for centuries. This was the first time in history during which artists were not just considered to be "craftspeople" but were recognized as individual and unique talents. Artists were redefining their views towards nature and the human form, and were experimenting at will all sorts of new mediums. And Michelangelo set the standards very high: he exemplified the art of sculpting the human form, capturing expressions and emotions like no other artist. He was a dominant force and exerted enormous influence in the art culture of Florence and Rome in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. The acknowledgement of his supreme artistic talent has become legendary in his lifetime, as well as our own. Tourists visiting Italy have the opportunity to admire the masterpieces of the Renaissance, including Michelangelo’s, as the finest expression of the Italian cultural heritage. But the book of art presented today, with its pursuit of excellence and perfection, succeeds in bringing the legend of Michelangelo as well as the spirit of the Renaissance back to life: not a relic of a glorious past but a living tradition. As an Italian citizen, therefore, I really feel I have to thank the Fondazione FMR-Marilena Ferrari for conceiving such an outstanding book of art and, as the Ambassador of Italy to Malaysia, I have to thank Tan Sri Francis Yeoh and YTL Corporation for bringing this masterpiece to Malaysia and for giving us the opportunity to celebrate it today.
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