156 157 The deception of white, the superficial search for beauty. All so pure, clean, the gaze towards the infinite horizon of the sea. Forward, stare, breathe in/out. Cool water on the face, salt on the lips. And no, don't turn around. - Angelo Del Negro, Veryverywhite, 2021 In an intellectual game that for sure the art historian Aby Warburg would have blessed, let’s imagine a lost sixty-fourth panel of his Bilderatlas Mnemosyne (1925-1929), a figurative atlas and a monumental critical work on the constant layering of images of art history, and let's nail it to the wall of our synapses. Let’s affix the Veryverywhite series (2021) by Angelo Del Negro and, next to it, the Nativity (14701475) by Piero della Francesca: works distant in time, sons of two not so distant artfulnesses. All bathed in a surreal water, in which figures and nature are mirrored and immersed. All dominated by cold colors, sometimes muted, always glazed. All composed of intersections of water and land planes. All silhouetted against a background of thin and soaring towers, whether they are chimneys or bell towers, noble or cooling towers, ruins awaiting reconstruction, or concealed and dazzling in a poisoned territory. Let’s build bridges over time and space to find that they are rooted in the true implicit paganism of the Italian culture, that of the Renaissance and its eternal return as a trace of our collective memory, but also on the solid foundation of the regenerated twentieth-century landscape photography. We thus can find, in Veryverywhite, the fluid consequence of the lessons of that cultural front represented by the Italian School of Landscape by Luigi Ghirri et alii, from which – from the 1980s to the early 1990s – the revolution of landscape photography stemmed, acute observer of the fall from grace of the local panorama, profoundly changed through the post-war economic boom, the post-industrialism and its ghosts. A landscape, that of the White Beaches in Rosignano Solvay, born at the prehistory of industrialization, prematurely breaking the postcard-like oleographic harmony of the Etruscan coast of the Belpaese to recompose it in a modern, poisoned version, in a new and unprecedented relationship between nature and culture. And so there it is, that Tuscan mercury and ammoniacal nitrogen-flavoured neo-Renaissance: a fifteenth-century landscape, that of Rosignano Solvay, bleached by calcium carbonate, in which an equally oxygenated post-Californian humankind has nested, so at ease in its niche of a local ecological disaster. What populates Angelo Del Negro's marinas are not those statuesque figures having Piero della Francesca's divine proportions, immobile in their eternal geometric perfection, but rather small contemporary characters – some of them fled for the weekend from the ranks of Duane Hanson's common people, others forged unconsciously, in Lachapelle style, in silicone and ink, all homeopathically diluted in a few kilometers of sand and water of an atomic atoll blue. Subordinated to the aquatic element as logically dependent on it, since by subtracting water they themselves would have no meaning, crystallized as they are in the seaside iconography of the twentyfirst century. As if anesthetized by the chloroform of savage industrialization, the bathers of the Solvay polyptych let themselves float on the surface of those waters where one could imagine that a brand new, undisturbed Birth of Venus is about to take place, from the foam of heavy metals, or even that one could witness the miracle of the walking Christ towards Peter's boat on waters thick with waste mud, amidst the amazement of the apostles and the Augustan bathers’ bored gaze, dazzled by the sand added with E170, in a Caribbean ecstasy and happily unaware (or awarely happy) of the risk. Because, as Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz said, we will always have a better opinion of things we are not acquainted with – or even, quoting a consumed and far more contemporary icon: how could it hurt you, when it looks so good?