Vedutisti is an Italian word for painters whose canvases are as vast as they are intricate; these artists produce large works of sweeping vistas without sacrificing a single detail. Whether bustling cityscapes or ceremonial interiors, their scenes always depict architecture and figures with astonishing accuracy. Pietropoli is internationally recognized for his exceptional skill among contemporary vedutisti painters. With this collection, he gives a surrealistic spin to the historic genre.
Inspired as ever by what he describes as “the entanglement of complex shapes,” Pietropoli here eschews the usual formula of architecture and the figure to give us architecture within the figure. He even plays with the very concept of architecture—sometimes referring to what we might expect, such as a coffered ceiling or French facade; occasionally evoking the distinct framework of modern furniture; and other times referencing the structure of art history itself, inserting famous paintings and archetypes into his precise silhouettes. Like looking through a stereoscope, the silhouettes are cut-out windows into another dimension.
Discussing this compelling body of work, Pietropoli offered a quotation by Isidore Ducasse, a writer celebrated by the surrealists: “…beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissection table of a sewing machine and an umbrella.” This aphorism captures the essence of his new collection—an esoteric collage of images ripe with wit and talent. Rather than burden his paintings with prefabricated analysis, Pietropoli intends for viewers to decrypt each canvas in their own ways. And these works are certainly worth contemplating for years to come, as they slowly unfold in painted layers.
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