Painted images of the Po Plain

L. Randoli, 1972. A Branch of the Po River. Painting photographed by Beppe Tassinari.

On April 12, 2024, the retrospective of painting by Luciana Randoli (1926-2018), organized by her son Claudio Fochi, opened in Ferrara (IT), in the prestigious Palazzo della Racchetta in the well-known Unesco World Heritage city.

The exhibition, entitled “The Voice of the Trees“, offers only a part of the rich artistic production of Randoli that suggests an ecological image, cloaked in greenery, of the land in which she lived.

L. Randoli 1999. Spring Landscape. Painting photographed by Beppe Tassinari.

It is a green that assembles all the colors, because green is the symbol of life. It is the landscape of quiet; the rarity of the trees, typical of this area, offers us the relaxation of the open landscape, without the unknown of the Nordic forests.

Luciana has represented, in about 100 paintings, the beauty of the Po Valley, through images that seem to bring back the dreams of an ideal world, a world of peace with nature. No human or animal elements intervene on the scene, it is an Arcadia of pure internal and exterior serenity, because the plain, with its uniform breadth, instills tranquility, as the waters of the peaceful Po infuse it.

Luciana, therefore, finds in the trees the significant elements of the human dream, the search for a myth, for the value of life that must turn to the best. That’s why the trees are always in the foreground. There are no forests in the Italy’s largest plain, and Luciana does not represent men, because the trees are their inhabitants. Trees are living beings, as stated in the note of the Association “La voce degli Alberi“, founded in Ferrara, in support of the environment.

L. Randoli 2000. The Po River. Painting photographed by Beppe Tassinari.

Man has to look at the sky and the visitor’s gaze is led upwards by the slender image of trees. They are lowland trees, poplars, which with their silhouettes and thick foliage contrast with a green that remains below; by their elevation, they define the destiny of humanity, that is, the search for a perfection, whether it consists in a God or in the simple value of “beauty”.

In any case, it must be an overcoming of the sorrows that afflict the Earth. Trees speak to us and become knights of our destiny.

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Adriana Galvani
University professor of Geography and Sociology. Involved on environmental issues. Collaborator with UN-UNEP-UNDESA, and OECD. Collaborator for EFIMED since several years. Author of 500 publications; one is “Micro-Macro Green” written for the Int. Year of Forests (2011), the most successful: “The challenge of food sufficiency through salt tolerant crops”.