The first 'vele'
The restoration process
The surge of enthusiasm triggered by the First centenary continued until the emotional and economic hurdles of the world wars after which, the tradition of the processions, which was firmly rooted by now, successfully surpassed the only too often misunderstood cultural renewal that involved both juvenile movements in 1968 and the removal of stylistic ornaments inspired by the Second Vatican Council. Many other Catholic processions, like the ones in Mendrisio, were abandoned in this period, and most of them were not renewed. This period is witnessed by some “transparents” featuring an unusual style, like The miraculous catch of fish by Gian Pio Fontana, whose protagonists count some skeletons. Others present more or less hesitant references to historical avant-garde pictorial movements, such as the moderate cubism of the Storm on the lake by Italo Gilardi or Jacob's ladder by Franco Valsangiacomo, and the expressionism of the Crucifixion displayed on Palazzo Pollini. The many works by Mario Gilardi intentionally followed the traditional artistic trend. He learnt the technique from his father Silvio, and from some other rare artist with good training, like Giacomo Carloni, while several amateurs produced more or less acceptable copies that are almost all technically weak. Many paintings by Gino Macconi can be recognised for a certain stylistic consistency enhanced by certain personal variants, while two professional artists, Giuseppe Bolzani and Silvano Gilardi, despite some original proposals (the two balconies with “faux glass window” created by the former in Corso Bello), intentionally adopted a figurative style related in some way to the tradition, which was almost entirely foreign to their usual style as artists. The two “doors,” which were added to the route are still a topic of discussion, despite their professional dignity. Produced by Gianni Realini in 1969, and by Marco Cassinari in 1979, the first is more figurative with (togliere la “e”) mellow hues, and the second features prevalently abstract forms and bright colours. Both were performed with "new" techniques and supports that, besides highlighting their fragile quality, make it extremely difficult to restore them. This is one reason why Silvano Gilardi's works look better and are more resistant. He inherited the technique from his father and grandfather, and he also worked as restorer for years. A new committee recently ordered a new transparent, demanding compliance with the technique adopted by young Matteo Gilardi.