This is a story of reincarnation and love. It begun about 40 years ago. Teacher Adriana taught at elementary school in Napoli. Among her students he noticed Gennaro, a child who was particularly talented in drawing. Adriana complimented the student’s parents and she asked them what plans they had regarding the child’s future. Like most of parents at that time, especially in Napoli, Gennaro’s parents hoped for him a solid career, perhaps as a doctor or a lawyer. From the first moment Adriana tried to convince Gennaro’s parents to let him follow an artistic path in order to express his excellent talent. At the classroom, teacher Adriana made Gennaro sit next to her and let him draw, every morning.
At the end of the school year of the 5th grade, Adriana organized an individual exhibition of Gennaro featuring all the drawings he had made during the lessons. Gennaro was educated and very talented. Adriana took him to heart. She invited him to her house every afternoon to draw and paint. The looks, the touch of the brush and the attitudes of Gennaro recalled, to Adriana’s eyes, the memory of her sister.
Adriana’s sister was a Neapolitan painter who lived in the United States and who, unfortunately, passed away prematurely in 1973. While watching Gennaro painting Adriana became more and more convinced that he was the reincarnation of her sister. From those days on her life begun focusing on the art and the preparation of her prodigious pupil who then enrolled in the prestigiuous Neapolitan Accademia delle Belle Arti .
“I have always loved drawing and as a child I had a teacher who punished me any time I was drawing. This teacher was Sicilian and luckily one day, at the time I was 8 years old, he went back to his hometown. My new teacher name was Adriana. She was very good and she always supported me. I consider her as a second mother, my artistic mother. She saw me drawing and, unlike the old teacher, she told me: “Gennaro, from now on you will only do this”. Gennaro tells.
Adriana became old and after years of friendship, years of art and poems, years of challenges, in the end of her life Adriana confided to Gennaro that for many years she had believed that he was the reincarnation of her sister and that she had later realized that he was born one year before his sister’s death. Then she understood that this could not be.
Adriana died happy to have been next to her pupil and to have always supported him in his art.
In fact it is not about the reincarnation of Adriana’s sister but it could be that art, not having had the opportunity to express itself through the work of Adriana’s sister, it did so through Gennaro. Therefore in this case it is art that reincarnates just to be, to show itself.
Art re-birth in each art work. Art does “happens” to those who see it and those who live it.
Gennaro Patrone is a versatile artist. He expresses himself through different artistic areas. In addition to the visual ones he expresses himself equally wonderfully in the literary ones. Beside being the painter and sculptor, he is also author of comedies and poems.
Regarding to comedy, Gennaro prefers the Commedia dell’Arte and he has, since childhood, a preference for masks, especially for the mask of Pulcinella which he defines as follows:
“The mask doesn’t cover you. It gives you the strength to become a super hero. When you have a mask, people allow you to say anything. You can see that people allow Pulcinella to say anything even if it is something he shouldn’t say. And also when this happens people does not get offended. Pulcinella’s mask represents Napoli, it represent its soul. Pulcinella is not a man or a child; he is not a devil or an angel … He is a mixture of all this. Just like the Neapolitan soul. “
Gennaro is a careful researcher of “faces” and “feelings” that the streets of Napoli are chock full. Gennaro’s most recent research has focused on a Pulcinella from 18th Century. He says that at the time there was a Pulcinella who had a black costume instead of white as we usually see in the images on books and on the web. This Pulcinella is no longer a servant, in fact he is a more revolutionary Pulcinella.
Through masks and through his works Gennaro, like many others, lives and brings to life a “Neapolitanity” ( a way to feel and experience Napoli) that is eternal and that is found and understood only through local art which goes beyond the times of its origins to remain timeless in the space of Napoli, an eternal Napoli. Wrinkles, moles, expressions of his masks, are signs, expression of history that already lives before being worn.
As an author, actor and director, Gennaro made his debut in 2000 with Favola dei Giorni. A work on masks. This work has been also a pretext for giving birth to the character (the mask) of Chiavichella.
Mangiare Veleno Per Partorire Morte, ovvero chi v’ ‘o mmale ‘e llate ‘o ssuojo sta’ areta ‘a porta (Eat Poison To Give Birth to Death, or those who wish evil to others) is another work with Pulcinella as its protagonist. Gennaro explains that the title is long to be in total harmony with the historical context. In fact, in ancient times the works were completed by titles with subtitles.
The most recent of Gennaro’s play is Fobialoghi. In this work Gennaro puts aside the commedia dell’arte for a more dramatic work, without mask, which deals with social issues. Fobialoghi sees the representation of two monologues both drawn from real stories.
The first monologue is titled Maria Addolorata and features a woman as protagonist. It is a monologue against pedophilia. The second monologue is called the cure. This time the protagonist is a bum, a man who, for a number of reasons, at some point in his life, loses his mind. It is a monologue about madness.This work is the only work of the artist that has not yet been represented due to the closure of the theaters due to the covid emergency. Gennaro poems are as well written in Neapolitan language. Poems such as ‘O Mare and Comme so ‘ bell’ ‘e Criature are kind and contemplative poems; Stella is a timid request, a prayer; and Che ssi’ pe ‘ mme and Notte di San Lorenzo are filled of love. Even as a poet Gennaro is very productive and equally appreciated.
Gennaro says: “Napoli is heaven and hell for me. Napoli is a wonderful city and I would never leave it. ” Then he put on the 18th century Pulcinella mask and nicely he concludes: “… However, I don’t deny that having to do with the mentality of the people in this city is very hard. Here there is no respect for artists and there is no respect for those who work in general. “
Thanks to his talent and thanks to Adriana who has been able to grasp his genius, Gennaro lives of his art. Or, perhaps, art lives through Gennaro. You can listen to some of Gennaro Poems on his YouTube Channel. Click the poem below and listen to Notte di San Lorenzo (The night of Saint Lawrence).
Gennaro Patrone| Notte di San Lorenzo
Me fanno da cuperta ‘e stelle
dint’ a ‘sta notte d’estate
so’ ttante. Nun se ponno tucca’.
Sul’ una forse scennarra’
E cchi ‘o ssape addo’ se va a pusa’.
(The stars cover me on this night of Summer.
They are many. They cannot be touched.
Maybe only one will go down
and who knows where it will go).