It was the pictures, The Enchanted Mountains, painted in the 1970s, that prompted us to look for a safer and more permanent place for their public display. The Mountains were often scattered around the world in museums in London, Paris and Venice. Then they were brought home and suffered from damp on our medieval walls and it was not pleasant to see those works wrapped up and left alone to deteriorate, fragile as they are.
So we proposed to Ferrara to establish a museum that would host the highly prolific pictorial work, and at a later date all the other materials relating to cinema that have been displayed over the years at various exhibitions, starting with the Palazzo dei Diamanti, on the anniversary of the centenary of Michelangelo's birth.
One advantage of being centenarians is that you are able to witness the transformation of many eras. Today the benefit attained is that it is much easier to read a script or a memo, look at a photograph and even a film made by Antonioni, wherever we happen to be in the world.
There is no longer any need to ask the Antonioni Museum, myself, or the scholars who collect materials about him. We are online. It will be enough to receive access, granted naturally for the purpose of studying Antonioni.
Michelangelo will forgive us for having taken all these years to give this opportunity of access to the viewing of his work, he who guessed, fifty years in advance, how the world was going. But it was not easy get a clear picture in our intention of keeping, preserving, distributing and protecting his work.
We had to reach a place without walls, immense and without boundaries, as big as his work, to enable us, each of us, to grasp his gaze, guided by himself, with his notes, his far-sighted comments, the study of places, characters and the stories he wanted to tell.
I imagine that browsing the website of the online Antonioni Museum will be like entering his home, his new home, finally without walls, as immense as the desert he loved so much, to encounter that profound void that filled his intuitions.
We will be able to connect to those subtle intuitions that he looked for so intensely and found in the urgency of making films and being an all-round artist. A refined writer, painter, photographer, filmmaker and above all a man with the high qualities of the artist.
Michelangelo was so far ahead that the rest of us were unable to keep up with him. Like a cheetah running faster than everyone else, he surveyed time with a gaze that went far into the future. He was a man who did not pretend to teach anything, but being close to him, or even just sitting and watching one of his films, is an immense lesson in life, a lesson that changes over time because it is reflected over the years in our feeling that also changes.
His work is returned to us today, today we are so different but in the end always the same. Just as we read in a note he wrote: «With the years, we end up getting the feeling that we have the whole world in mind, but there always comes the time when we realise that in reality we have done nothing but look at it, the world, with our same old eyes».