Monroy has painted a series of watercolours based on the astronomical observatories 'Jantar Mantar', also called 'Yantralayas'. The Indian observatories are part of an immense project, whose main aim was to represent and be a symbol of religion and cosmology. These paintings are characterised by the mystery they express, their timeless atmosphere, with meticulous, artisan photographic accuracy of drawing and brush strokes. Monroy's Indian works are witness to the absence of the human figure: fields, paths, courtyards, forests, temples, all strictly empty, suddenly abandoned, as if the world were ending. This may also be the reason for their magic: an unconscious and thus unreachable turmoil of visions and impulses.
The series 'Terrasanta', crossing references to Sicily and Jerusalem, tells the story of a prince from Palermo who decides to go on foot on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, walking the entire long journey without ever leaving the enchanted garden of his villa. Though they are drawn and painted with the same artisan accuracy of the Indian ones, the watercolours of this period are luminous, sumptuous, baroque, involute, like the tainted culture of that blazing land. The vision is not realistic, but psychic, even spiritualistic, and above all the human figure is no longer absent, on the contrary it is the ghostly character of an immense stage. In these paintings there is an aura that transforms villas, terraces, balconies, drawing rooms, statues, churches, ruins, gardens, succulent plants and sea expanses, immersing them in a liquid atmosphere, dissolved by its own colour.
Antonio Monroy (b. 1935) lives in Milan. In collaboration with Gianni Berengo Gardin, Monroy is the author of “India dei villaggi”, a book published in 1980, winner of the Premio Scanno in 1981. He has also written the monograph “India”, published with photographs of A. Martinello and R. Meazza and translated widely. His articles on Indian culture and society have been published in several Italian and foreign magazines. As a screenwriter, scenographer and an expert on culture he has contributed to several documentaries and films, shot in India, on different aspects of the country.