National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome: Scorribanda

By Casey Noenickx

A raid is often thought of as a surprise, an attack. At Rome's Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Scorribanda, or “raid,” provides an “uninterrupted story” as the museum’s newest installation.

While Rome is famous for its ancient sites, the modern art collection is refreshingly contemporary. Instead of offering historical significance, the works of art in Scorribanda take viewers on an introspective journey, making them think outside the box.

The works presented in Scorribanda cover all four walls of the central hall, displayed shoulder to shoulder, and the exhibition is open until 4 March. The experience is encapsulating and all-consuming, as envisioned by the exhibition's curator fabio Sargentini who has managed Rome's pioneering L'Attico gallery since 1967. The 39 artists represented in the show exhibited works at L'Attico over the decades and include important figures such as Mario Mafai, Jannis Kounellis and Luigi Ontani.

“We viewers perceive this embrace and do not shrink from it,” Sargentini wrote in the exhibition statement. “Beguiled, our pupils dilate to take in the long progression of works along the wall. Our eyes scan 360 degrees: we feel encircled.” 

Founded in 1883, the national gallery’s collection includes over 5,000 paintings and sculptures, dating from between the 19th century to more abstract work from the 1960s. The ground floor displays the earliest works, including pieces by Cezanne, Canova, Monet and Van Gogh, while upstairs is devoted to 20th-century work, including the futurist, cubist, dadaist and abstract art movements.

The gallery's long-term exhibition is Time is Out of Joint whose title is written on the steps leading up to its entrance. Taking its cue from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the exhibition explores the fluidity of time, from Van Gogh to Scorribanda. Time is Out of Joint coincided with the re-ordering of the gallery's spaces in 2016 by then recently-arrived director Cristiana Collu who describes it as "weaving new, unexpected relationships in the symbolic space of the museum in a sort of simultaneous coexistence."

Admission is free for students and those under 18. For details see gallery website.


General Info

Address Viale delle Belle Arti, 131, 00197 Roma RM, Italy

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National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome: Scorribanda

Viale delle Belle Arti, 131, 00197 Roma RM, Italy

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