Farinelli

Carmen Franko featuring Patrick Boussignac

The Rebirth of Farinelli

In the early 1700s a young man, Carlo Broschi, born to an Italian family in Southern Italy was castrated to provide for his family. Young men who showed vocal talent were illegally maimed so as to maintain their voices. Farinelli, as he came to be known, became a sensation throughout Italy and Europe with his powerful soprano voice. In 1737, while visiting Versailles, he so impressed King Louis XV that he gave him his portrait set in diamonds. It is easy to imagine Farinelli in the company of a cabinet like the one that now bears his image as imagined by Patrick Boussignac and Carmen Franko.

The painting of Farnelli, by Patrick Boussignac expresses his own fascination in the period.  His imagination has created a bright and yet mysterious piece where we only see Farnelli from behind in profile.  Farnelli was both and neither masculine nor feminine.

As a performer he was brilliant, drawing attention and admiration with his talent as the colors of this piece do for the eye.  As a person he was other, a mystery with something lost and something gained.

In this painting he wears bold, possibly feminine clothes, a laced corset and fish net stockings, and carries a cittern with confidence as if he has either just finished playing or about to make an entrance.  Is the light just fading or building to illuminate his stage?

Farnelli now, with Patrick Boussignac and Carmen Franko in their combined vision in this piece, straddles worlds in time, gender, and personal expression.  Perhaps, while in Versailles, Farinelli‘s eyes rested on such a cabinet, maybe he even touched or used it.  The sides of the piece are decorated with music he has sung and his signature.  But his figure dominates as it seems also to move away from us.

In this piece is reflected the duality of his figure and story, powerful and subtle, masculine and feminine, bold and timid.  In straddling these seeming contradictions he encompasses them and even leaves them behind.  He, like this piece, continues beyond their limited definitions into something more.

92 l, 56 w, 71 h (cm), ca. 36kg

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