128 pg. Full Color Hard Cover 12"X10"
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RECAPITULATION - A Journey
by SVEVA CAETANI|
Edited and Published by Heidi Thompson
Each of us is on a spiritual journey. Each of us can gather both inspiration and courage from
Sveva Caetani's artistic accomplishment. This book tells the story of one human being,
in whose struggle to understand life our own struggle is mirrored.
After a life of isolation, heartbreaking loneliness and--in later
years--physical disability, Sveva gathered all her courage and
strength to embark on a mental and spiritual journey which took her
to the deepest, most painful and joyous places of her past.
There she examined the conditions
and people that shaped her life and mind. In the
process she gained insight about truth, humanity, love,
These re-lived experiences became the content for her paintings and
writings in Recapitulation, modelled loosely on
Dante's Divine Comedy. Sveva's "journey" also took her through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven, as she understood them.
The series comprises fifty-six large, luminous watercolour paintings. They are breathtaking in beauty, and inspired by a depth of knowledge
and intelligence that breathes through every stroke. Detailed in style, they are also detailed in the breadth of the emotions and human condition
they examine--from cruelty, betrayal, and senseless violence to passion, beauty,
human achievement, and love.
As Sveva was nearing completion of the series, she became increasingly disabled,
her hands so crippled with arthritis that holding the brush became almost impossible. In 1989, fourteen years after she
began her artistic journey painting the 56 images and writing the accompanying texts for Recapitulation she completed the work. Only five years later
the artist died. She had donated all her paintings to the Alberta Foundation for the Arts in Edmonton and bequeathed her home, properties and money to the art community of Vernon.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Heidi Thompson met Sveva in 1984 after returning to Vernon from her European art and photography studies. They became close friends, and Heidi began documenting Sveva's life and art with hopes of publishing a book. In 1993, Sveva asked Heidi if she would create hand-bound editions of the 56 paintings of Recapitulation. As the costs would have been high, Heidi proposed instead, publishing the series into a real book and adding Sveva's writings. In return for the opportunity, Sveva could have as many copies as she needed for her friends. Sveva agreed, and entrusted Heidi with an exclusive interest in her work. All Sveva requested was that Heidi maintain and govern the artistic integrity of her paintings - she abhored the idea commercializing her work. Heidi agreed and proposed that after costs of production were recouped, she would share royalites with Vernon's art community. With very little money and no funding, Heidi began pre-selling copies of Recapitulation. The community was fully supportive and ordered books. After working on the book for about 6 months, Sveva passed away. Heidi debated whether or not she should continue, but the executors of Sveva's estate encouraged her, and agreed to enter into a more formal contract respecting Sveva's wishes.
After two more years of research, editing Sveva's writings and designing the book, Heidi successfully released the full-colour hardcover edition in 1995. Recapitulation-The Journey received numerous prestigious reviews and earned the "VanCity Book of Excellence Award". Not long after the book was published, Heidi started writing two films - a dramatic feature film The Evening Bird - The Sveva Caetani Story, and also a documentary film - The Art and Life of Sveva Caetani. The feature film interested many producers, and in 1999, after attracting funding from a broadcaster, Heidi secured a deal with a producer who optioned her screenplay. Unfortunately, the option ran out, and the film as of yet has not been produced.
In 2000, Caetani's estate was finally dispersed and The Vernon Public Art Gallery inherited Sveva's copyright. Heidi asked if they would be interested in assuming the Publishing Contract and becoming the recipient of royalites. They agreed. For several years, Heidi and the Gallery collaborated on various projects until 2008, when Heidi offered to give the Gallery her publishing rights. During the fourteen years of publishing, Heidi was invited to present lectures and slide presentations on Sveva in Vancouver, Toronto and Rome. Sveva Caetani's book was reviewed in magazines in the USA, England, Denmark, France, and Italy and was accepted into the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Vatican, and Accademia del Lincei in Italy. She believes that she would never have embarked on such a monumental project without Sveva having believed in her. She hopes that others will be inspired by Sveva Caetani's courage to confront their own weaknesses and fears, and strive to express one's highest truth.