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" It could be a revealing operation to compare the expressive, characterial and physiognomic figuration of the several human types of Franz Borghese with types of puppets invented by the popular and regional cultures, who often have deviating or strongly critical attitudes towards the groups of power and of the dominating class that nevertheless enjoyed a certain theatre and even bore well grimace and joke, "using laugh and cudgel at the same time". The Roman puppet showman Ghetanaccio is an epoch-making case, however every region and every dialect have theirs. The underlining of a certain similarity of the pictorial types of Franz Borghese with the puppets types of the Italian tradition emphasizes the quality of the common peopole look of the painter, who puts himself in the middle of the world and at the same time is in hiding to the world, who creates in the crowd like in an enormous warehouse of images and signs, always ready to catch without pity what somehow stupid and ugly is always hidden by the men behind their class, profession or  character make-up. And by "catching the nature in the very act" as Baudelaire would have said, Franz Borghese has very often a common people look. After this, we must say that this look has a big cultural thickness. If we look better, we discover a fine love for the caricatures of Bernini, Tiepolo, Ghezzi, Callot, Hogarth, Rowlandson and, even, a declared love, also with quotation,  in the image of the middle-class persons precipitating as blind one attached to the other by Pieter Brueghel the Old and his Flemish peasant crowd. Then, we have to say that the smile of Franz Borghese comes from far away, from the heart of history and of painting in Europe. And that his images are a suffering, afflicted caricature of a society that was noble and now is clownish, stupid, ugly. In the paintings of Borghese happens everything in a sort of whirl that sucks again men and things. Also in the paintings of Franz Borghese happens everything, but here men and histories repeat themselves so many times that they become tragical, comical and mocking, and reality becomes a phantastic show. And those big feelings who could move the crowds now are only a big Kitsch.

Rome 1982                                                                                                                            Dario Micacchi

(Franz Borghese - Works - Publishing House  Italarte Rome) 


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