“A bright mind sees opportunities where no one else does”

“A bright mind sees opportunities where no one else does”

“A bright mind sees opportunities where no one else does”

Enrico Mattei might be an unknown name to most but to fans of post-war history or to the cinema d’essai hardcore fans who have loved Risi’s “The Mattei Affair”.

However, as energy still mould the destiny of men and countries, Mattei’s grandiose intuitions and vision still stand strong to the test of time.

We at Machas are honoured that our Spiros Halaris has been chosen by Eni to paint a portrait to celebrate company’s founder 50th death anniversary - and when we type the word “honoured”, we are not using PR schmoozing lightly here: we truly are.

Let us explain why we believe this is a big deal: on the aftermath of the Second World War, Italy systematically (and understandably) proceed to sever every ties with its Fascist past; each institution that bear the “fascio” symbol was being dismantled by the government. Despite the will of the country as expressed in the elections of ‘48, the goal of the provisory government was clear: to align Italy with the US front in the new geopolitical scenery that later become known as the Cold War.

When Italian Petrol Agency Agip was on the verge of being sold to the US petrol companies, a man almost single-handedly developed them into Eni, a state-owned hydrocarbures company. 

This man was Enrico Mattei. Mattei, a former partisan and a self made man, firmly believed that only through affordable energy and by respecting so called third world countries, economic growth and development could follow.  The deals that the reigning cartel of anglo-american oil companies (defined by Mattei the “Seven Sisters”) were offering were not economically convenient and, moreover, they casted shadows of financial and political subjugation (rings a bell?).

As the fearless, open thinker he was, Mattei explored the possibilities of methane and broke deals with the poorest countries of Middle East, Iran and, in spite of NATO’s protests, with Russia; practicing what he preached, he left up to 75% of the profits to the country that owned the resources whilst actively promoting the developing and improvement of the indigenous populations. He also openly supported Algeria’s independence from France.

On the night of the 27th of October 1962 the private plane that was carrying Mattei and American Time–Life Journalist William McHale exploded in the sky next to Linate Airport for causes that has never been clarified.

2012 marks the 50th anniversary of Mattei’s death and Spiros captured the unique and complex personality of Eni’s founder, combining the affability and competence with the boldness and strength of decide colour strokes.

“We will use Spiros’ image for our print, digital campaign to celebrate Mattei” Eni has told us. “Since 2010, culture and new, emerging talents are the main focus of Eni’s communication. Up-and-coming illustrators, directors, musicians, actors and performers have all been called to interpret with their own language Eni’s values of innovation, research, respect and internationality. The positive, open and visionary attitude at the core of Eni is the very same that Enrico Mattei believed in, who was actively promoting the wellbeing of the community through arts, cinema and, more in general, culture”.

Spiros’ portrait will be also part of cinema short video that will be shown in all Italian cinemas.

For those interested to know more about Mattei we strongly recommend Francesco Rosi’s masterpiece “The Mattei Affair” who won the Gran Prix Award at the Cannes Film Festival and star a stunning Gian Maria Volonté. The movie was also recently restored by Gucci and Martin Scorsese’ Film Foundation and presented at the 69th Venice Film Festival.


Similar Posts