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Luciano Ventrone

A Touch of Pink, 2011, oil on mixed media on linen, 19 11/16 × 19 11/16 × in.

Paride, 2018, oil on mixed media on linen, 19 11/16 × 19 11/16 × in.

©Foto Massimo Listri

 

Astonishment, 2017-2021, oil on mixed media on linen, 23 5/8 × 23 5/8 in.

Perfect Movement, 2012, oil on mixed media on linen, 19 11/16 × 23 5/8 in.

Fragility, 2013-2017, oil on mixed media on linen, 23 5/8 × 23 5/8 in.

©Foto Massimo Listri

 

Luciano Ventrone (Rome 1942 – Collelongo 2021)

At the age of six, he was hosted in Denmark by Metha Petersen, a benefactress who supported his artistic bent. When he returned to Rome, he tried his hand at various jobs in order to finance his studies and attend art school, which he graduated from in 1964. He studied Architecture, although he dropped out in 1968 to dedicate himself entirely to painting. He tackled all the themes of contemporary art, from geometric experimentation to informal and programmed art; eventually, following the advice of Federico Zeri, who discovered him in 1983, he chose to explore the various aspects of nature, defining this approach as “realism-abstractism.” He embarked on a ceaseless and painstaking study of the forms of reality and, through an almost metaphysical and existential representation, he revealed its beauty, with a level of detail that saves the image from the mediatic chaos of our age. In 1995, he moved to the Abruzzo National Park. As the artist liked to say: “The study of painting is not the mere representation of the object, but it is color and light: the right relations between the two create the form in space. The subject should not be seen as such; it should be seen abstractly.” It is his search for the invisible that has aroused the attention of critics and art historians over the decades.

These five incredibly vibrant still lifes by Luciano Ventrone, one of the major international exponents of hyperrealism, are the culmination of the Roman painter’s work. Though he always distanced himself from the immediate and perhaps simplistic affiliation with the genre, he did develop an ethereal form of hyperrealism, which put the foundations of painting (form, light, color) at the service of a Platonic philosophical approach, aimed at revealing the world of ideas. This is why the viewer is astonished, faced with paintings that do not deceive the eye as much as the mind, compelling us to restore meaning to that which does not exist in reality: pure abstractions, fruit, vegetables and flowers that have never looked so perfect, so illuminated, so on the verge of being true, more lifelike than life. A refined and immensely talented painter, Ventrone immediately unveils his ancient models, starting, at the origins of still life, with Caravaggio’s Basket of Fruit. But unlike the old master, who strived to sublimate the passage of time and the corruption that it implies, Ventrone’s fruit and flowers are caught in their greatest splendor, in a metaphysical and absolute perfection; they represent the successful attempt to go beyond reality and experience the limit of truth, that is, the proximity, as close as it can possibly be, between us and the object towards which we strive. (Angelo Crespi)