Letter from Lhasa, number 282. Sgarbi’s Lezioni Private

Letter from Lhasa, number 282. Sgarbi’s Lezioni Private

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Sgarbi, V., Lezioni Private, Mondadori, 1995.

(Sgarbi 1995).

Vittorio Sgarbi

Cultivate, brilliant, penetrating and deep, delicate and suave.

We’ll propose just some reading notes.

...It is contestable that artistic expression would not exist without individual freedom (Sgarbi 1995, p. 10). Or that may easily become a tautology assuming that an artist be naturally free. 

...That art coincides with life has nothing of astonishing and it is seems another tautology. Anyway, it may be useful to reaffirm that.

For Sgarbi, in old buildings, the ancient odours should be preserved. Restructurings lose sounds too, if they were and are places for playing music. An epoch is its odours and sounds. Customs are memory of extraordinary events.

Sgarbi remember that he argued with Gore Vidal who reputed that screenplay was everything. For Sgarbi, in a movie, screenplay is as the skeleton. However, for him, image is even more important. Since a movie is a visual work, screenplay is the text over which image is built.

By their very individual style, poets provide a new vision of the world. Each work of art is unique since the uniqueness of its style. Style is what permits contents to live. Art is style.

Sgarbi analyses the great expressive force of Fred Buscaglione, a great poet-singer for Sgarbi. Sgarbi loves to show the polychromy of whatever artistic expression and to underline originality, force and transgression when he detects them.

Reading books is as to assume narcotics, because one becomes book-addict, one assumes a narcotic accelerating one’s own intelligence. People without this privilege assume normal narcotics, just for forgetting their unhappy lives.

Nature is inferior to art. Art improves nature. Poetry (as well as literature etc) is not spontaneity and creativity at pure state. As Leopardi constantly underline, simplicity needs fatigue, technique, architecture. Apparent simplicity is a complex construction. What appear as natural requires science, hard work, expertise, knowhow. 

History of art should not be learnt chronologically but by contacts and encounters coming out from knowledge and desire to watch. Sgarbi always insists on non-chronology of time. Time is subjective or, eventually, subjectively hierarchical. For instance, in his paintings, Titian has such a force to remove whatever temporal and literary reference, overcoming them by the force of his images. One of great themes of poetry is love. Also love is a moment. Only rarely it is absolute harmony and synchrony between two persons. 

The classic and artistic culture of Sgarbi allows him to have a sceptical point of view about politics. Politicians are generally inept and they reflect that in whatever they do, included the stupidity of the laws they produce. Basically, they are inconclusive. The philosopher does not need politics. Those who do not know how to govern themselves need politics. As bad money drives out good money, bad politicians drive out potentially good ones. You all know that those you have elected are worse than you.  

Sgarbi will be an MP from the XI to the XIV legislature, 1992..2006, plus government undersecretary, assessor by a local government and mayor.

The sensibility of many poets of our century (XX) is the sensibility of misfit individuals unable to be fulfilled by ordinary values.  

After the discussion of the antinomy Emily Dickinson-Walt Whitman, Sgarbi concludes his book with the absolute nihilism of Kenneth Patchen in his Street Corner College.   

Next year the grave grass will cover us.

We stand now and laugh;

Watching the girls go by;

Betting on slow horses; drinking cheap gin.

We have nothing to do; nowhere to go; nobody.


Last year was a year ago; nothing more.

We weren’t younger then; nor older now.


We manage to have the look that young men have;

We feel nothing behind our faces, one way or other.


We shall probably not be quite dead when we die.

We were never anything all the way; not even soldiers.


We are the insulted, brother, the desolate boys

Sleepwalkers in a dark and terrible land,

Where solitude is a dirty knife at our throats.

Cold stars watch, us, chum,

Cold stars and the whores.

Sgarbi, V., Lezioni Private, Mondadori, 1995.

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Atualizado em: Qui 20 Set 2012

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