The Art of Remembering

We can look at Franco Magnani's paintings and Susan Schwartzenberg's photographs and learn something of how the faculty of visual remembering works. Current research shows that remembering is a selective and constructive process through which we unconsciously omit and distort much of our experience. This process is part of the human impulse to shape the past into a meaningful story. Franco's paintings give a setting to his story, a kind of mental stage upon which events can be dreamed.

But remembering is not simply the isolated process of each individual's recording, editing, and transforming information. Franco's paintings and stories let us see one man's remembered past in the larger context of the many events, historical and personal, that influenced it. His art shows how the active, reconstructive process of remembering can lend some control and understanding to the sometimes painful events of our lives.

This painting shows a panoramic view of Pontito, Franco Magnani's home town in Tuscany, Italy. Magnani, who left Italy in 1958, created this painting decades after leaving Pontito. The photo was taken in 1987.

Pontito Forever.



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