1961-2013: a Half-century-long route
THE HISTORY OF INTERNATIONAL BIENNIALE OF HUMOR IN THE ARTS
It’s easy to say “Umorismo nell’arte” (Humor in the Arts), but, maybe, the real importance of humor, which has been taking an active part in the global development of Arts, is not considered.
Besides, it’s easy to say “Caricatura” (Caricature), but we don’t think that it is perhaps the oldest form used to represent reality. In Tolentino (Macerata), you can find a Museum specially established to bear in mind all about this. Periodically, an event takes place to highlight Humor and Caricature in terms of present-day importance. It is the “Biennale Internazionale dell’Umorismo nell’Arte” (International Bienniale of Humor in the Arts), the entity capable of expressing these neither marginal nor ephemeral cultural aspects.
According to what the art historian and critic Federico Zeri said, the reason is that «real caricature and big humor, arise from intelligence, mental elegance, deep sensibility, genius. Humor is an essential form of art, and great Figurative Artists and Maestros have often been also big Humorist ». Completing this judgment he said «The big credit for starting an exemplary historic, critical journey, through the Biennale Internazionale dell’Umorismo nell’Arte (International Biennale of Humor in the Arts) and the Museo della Caricatura (Museum of Caricature), belongs to the city of Tolentino. It is intended to make known and nurture this remarkable form of Italian and International art», because «humor plays a decisive, crucial role in Mankind and Life itself ».
The Biennale dell’Umorismo nell’Arte (International Biennale of Humor in the Arts) is founded just on smiling and it has been a place of history and remembrance for years. Here, imagination is best expressed through creativity, sense of humor and freedom.
Luigi Mari, an extrovert man who was a doctor in Tolentino, but cultivated a passion for caricature being a high quality caricaturist, had the idea. He managed the organization and direction of that “first time” that took place between 10 – 24 September, 1961.
53 artists took part in that debut; they were Italian and contributed 400 works.
In 1963, at the second edition, 16 countries took part in the contest and from that moment on the participation increased up to 64 countries bringing together 680 artists and 1471 works in the year 2007.
Thanks to its successful first edition, the Tolentino Biennale intends to encourage a lot of artists in raising to a higher level, being sure of receiving audience and critics appreciation. They possess technical and spiritual high quality skills, but are compelled to limit themselves, due to clear economic reasons. So they just lavish so much precious ‘humor’ and ability publishing satirical strips on newspapers – lasting only a short period of time – giving up reaching those artistic goals and dreams they secretly long for in the corner of their heart.
Last but not least, the Exhibition wants to offer a ray of hope and a reason to smile to this poor humanity so worried and lost in an overwrought world that is darkened by so many shadows and afflicted with so much uneasiness.
Therefore, it has grown from strength to strength, becoming a crescendo of cultural interest revolving around an event – at first, simply provincial – at once spread at a global level. Then, it felt the need to put itself into a historical perspective. That was the moment when the Museo Internazionale della Caricatura (International Museum of Caricature) was established in Tolentino and inaugurated on September 6th, 1970.
Throughout the years, the Biennale dell’umorismo nell’Arte (Biennale of Humor in the Arts) has been so much succeeding to become an event of high cultural interest for artists, critics, press and the wide audience of experts and aficionados’. Their appreciation was unanimous. Our big claim to fame is that the event is considered the most important periodic event on Humorous Art both in Italy and abroad, outside the country».