Sofia Silva
Melania pieve mostarda
curated by
Edoardo De Cobelli
Palazzo Pignano (CR), Lombardia

Contemplating the Christian background of her painting, for the church of San Martino, Sofia Silva has created two large vertical canvases, positioned on the right-hand nave. Amidst gravel and the remains of 5th century foundations, two paintings on a white background, titled Arrossire (Blush) and Rosseggiare (Turn red), reach a notable height, resting on the ruins of the Palaeo-Christian church.
The artist has devised the works, reflecting on the theme of purity and innocence. The emotion of blushing is one of the first emotions children consciously perceive, a feeling that is accompanied by sentiments of both candour and shame. The term is often mentioned in sacred texts, with reference to the angels, such as in the Gospels, or elsewhere, for example in the text by Saint Augustine who, of the wedding in Cana, says, “The water saw its God and blushed!”.
In the artist’s poetic interpretation, the painting is disassembled into a grammatical array of elements, in a way analogous to the words of a poem, that can be bound together in a network of meanings, or remain unrelated. The white background takes on a red hue, and the visual connection between the pictorial elements creates an abstract colour temperature, which stands out in the archaeological context. The vertical layout helps to disrupt the narrative of brushstrokes and figures, which in Silva’s art never form tangibly recognisable shapes, but remain suspended in a dimension of lines and drawing, in which each movement seems to originate and recommence from itself every time.
The village of Palazzo Pignano, located in the plains of the countryside around Crema, is subdivided into three hamlets, each with its own soul. Wishing to involve all three hamlets in the operation, beyond purely artistic aspects, the artist organised three events dedicated to contemporary art in three different locations, focused respectively on an introduction on the history of painting, the presence of religion in art after the Second World War, and lastly, a discussion on work by Cristina Campo, a female poet with whom Silva feels a connection.

Sofia Silva, Arrossire, 2024. Mixed media on canvas, 300 x 100 cm.
Pieve di San Martino, Piazzale Chiesa 1, Palazzo Pignano

02. Sofia Silva, Rosseggiare, 2024. Mixed media on canvas, 300 x 100 cm.
Pieve di San Martino, Piazzale Chiesa 1, Palazzo Pignano


The talks scheduled for 10 July and 4 September has been postponed to the end of September on the occasion of the closing event of Una Boccata d'Arte. Information on date and time will be available soon.

Painting for a place of worship so familiar and therefore delicate for the citizens of Palazzo Pignano has been a source of new and fruitful scruples for me. My painting production embraces a Christian matrix, and I have reflected on the possibilities of highlighting it.

Sofia Silva (Padova, Italy, 1990) lives and works in Padova. She studied at the University IUAV of Venice, graduating in 2012, and later pursued studies in the History of Arts and the Conservation of Artistic Heritage at the University Ca' Foscari. Her painting practice is consistently rooted in a feminine, ephemeral, tender, and painful imaginary. Silva's distinctiveness in the contemporary painting landscape lies in her integration of intimate and personal objects and subjects within the language of analytical painting. The absolute, non-referential, and medium-specific analytic grammar, in which Silva anchors her research, is nuanced by details that hint at biographical and generational data. Alongside her artistic practice, Silva has been writing art-related texts for ten years, published in magazines and catalogues of institutions including La Quadriennale di Roma, Fondation Vincent van Gogh in Arles, and KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin.

I believe in an anti-illusionistic kind of painting, humble, linked to the material quality of the painting-object. My canvases feature overt lyricism, decorative and symbolic devices used in votive painting, classical references, subjects taken from the world of toys or from the epics. I identify my works in the color pink. Be it scarce, sumptuous, burnt, pearly, icy, childlike or sepulchral, each painting has its own pink, which by referencing different moments in the history of art, activates atmospheres that are from time to time welcoming or stern.

Palazzo Pignano (CR)

Palazzo Pignano is set between the Adda and Serio rivers. With its 3,812 inhabitants, it stands on an important agricultural site whose origins run back to proto-Romanesque times.
Archaeological excavations have revealed the presence of an inhabited centre as early as the 5th century A.D., whose flourishing activities were performed around a circular-plan Palatine temple and civil buildings including a palatium, from which the village's name is derived. Owned by Piniano of the gens Valeria and his wife Melania, the first evangelisers of the countryside around Crema, Palazzo Pignano's first mention in historical documents dates back to the year 1000 A.D. It saw two major destructions, in 951 A.D. and in the 11th century, during the clashes between Milan and Pavia. The parish church, with its Romanesque forms, is almost a thousand years old, and it was the scene of the events of Lombard lordships throughout the Middle Ages.
The vast archaeological area also includes the adjoining antiquarium, a small archaeological museum where finds from the excavations, including fragments of glass, flooring materials and other objects, are preserved.
Rural traditions can be seen in a series of historic constructions: Cascine Gandini, Cascine Capri and Ortensie and Casine, distinctive for their portico layout and therefore described as “Porticate”, and set amidst streams, supplied by many springs and groundwater pools, phenomena that have determined the area's vocation for agriculture.

Thanks to: Mayor Giuseppe Dossena, Councillor for Culture Annalisa Crea and Don Achille Viviani.