In order to choose the portraits for the exhibition I looked back at my recent production and I realized more and more how my artistic vision is linked, some times consciously, some other not, with Renaissance tradition, and that my paintings are really about not being in Italy.
As an expat I have the privilege of clinging to an idea of Italy that is quite distant from a grim reality of chaos, carelessness and economic crisis. I made up my own Italy, a place that is almost suspended in time, where everything is enveloped in the elegant airy light of our old masters. I think that all I paint, in my mind, is there.
These are the five paintings I am going to be showing:
I thought I'd show this again because it's been really well received at the BP Portrait Award 2010.
It is only recently that I realised that of course there is Piero's Federico da Montefeltro portrait written all over it.
This is my most recent portrait, a commission. Piero's influence here is very conscious. His Maddalena in the Duomo of Arezzo for me should be the symbol of Italy.
This is a small painting on board of my middle son. Although the cropping of the top of the head is typical of photography, the reference here is those early Renaissance portraits of men glazing intensely at the viewer.
I lifted the theme of the girl with leaves from Giorgione's Portrait of Laura.
I was lucky that Daniel, whose facial hair comes and goes, was sporting a nice beard when he came to sit for me. I don't have a direct reference here nor I set out to paint anything particularly classical, but somehow I think that a certain classicism is still present.
Photos from the opening and show review in a few days time.