Romiti, Carlo

  • "Sanguigno" Mixed media on canvas, 60 x 68 inches, Signed
  • "Nereide" Mixed media on canvas, 50 x 68 inches, Signed
  • "Monumento" Mixed media on canvas, 53 x 65 inches, Signed
  • "Francese" Mixed media on canvas, 60 x 68 inches, Signed
  • "Turco" Mixed media on canvas, 47 x 53 inches, Signed

ANGELICA E BAIARDOdipinti di Carlo Romiti

THE WOMAN…THE HORSE…THE EARTH

The woman’s name is Angelica, she is a nude, an Eve with soft sinuous curves reminiscent of Rubens’, within and emerging from the earth, a new creature; a relaxed, rotund, soothing body that offers refuge and quiescence, the embodiment of the principle of life. The recumbent nude with her back to the viewer epitomizes this modern interpretation of courtly love for she is the knight’s dream, the pursuit of a mirage, the beautiful maiden longed for by all and yet evasive and unattainable who is only possessed by a return to the primary source, to the roots of life, to the primordial magma, to the earth. Her contours created by highly evocative rose-red brush strokes, recall Angelica’s innocent slumber; exhausted she lies down on the grass amidst the flowers in the open arms of a benevolent Nature as welcoming as Mother Earth.

To view a complete Gallery of Carlo Romiti’s work, please click here.

“dentro letto vi fan tenere erbette,/ ch’invitano a posar chi s’appresenta/ La bella donna in mezzo a quel si mette;/ivi si corca, et ivi s’addormenta”

(Furioso, I 34-38)

It does not really matter if her happiness is relinquished in the hands of a young man who has done nothing to deserve her, there, where quintessential knights were once engaged in memorable and outstanding exploits.

The beauty of life is bestowed by the search for happiness and Angelica is as each conceives her: here she is a body and not a face; she is a lover but also a mother.

The red lines, like blood, outline her opulent limbs and reverberate within the sfumato tangles of her hair. But Carlo is not Manet: Olympia, the rational being of Ariosto, cedes to a creature of flesh and blood with marmoreal limbs, incandescent hair and bodily form that returns to the earth from whence she has come and where she finds the strength to exist.

The earth is the painter’

s medium, pulverized into powder and fine dust, its warmth and force applied with loose and bold strokes of the brush generate rough, fiery, yielding, luminous lines.

The woman….the horse….the earth, primordial elements; sources of life: these are the leitmotifs of Carlo Romiti’s paintings.

The horse’s name is Baiardo and he is the mirror of man although his form, just as lovingly caressed, is as rotund and sinuous as the woman’s. The war horse’s beautiful, proud head nobly and vehemently rises, his neck stretching upwards, his nostrils are dilated and his mouth open, neighing an indomitable courageous war cry but also a cry of love, an ennobling force, an unconcealed desire. Thus he assumes the countenance of a rearing horse with open jaws from a Paolo Uccello battle scene; now a wild stallion he is able to affront the battle for a filly accompanied by the musical notes of a trumpet composed by Morricone.

Every artist identifies himself in his work of art and if Flaubert was Madame Bovary, Romiti is undoubtedly his horse, the obsession in his paintings created with dust and blood, earth and passion, rapture and despair, Eros and Tanatos.

A GAME OR REALITY?

A painting by the Italian artist Carlo Romiti hangs in my studio. When his exhibition, held at the A. Kasteev State Art Museum in May 2005 came to a close and the artist asked me to choose one of his paintings, I was instinctively drawn towards the horse’s head Testa 1. The image and the psychological content closely related to my own restless, unsettled state of mind at that moment in time. I am no longer under that mental and emotional strain, waiting for some kind of miracle or event to change the habitual course of the elapsing of time. Although, I must admit, that every now and again, I still long for some sort of break through, a favourable opportunity for innovation, no matter how small it may be. The painting that Romiti gave me realistically depicts this intense psychological pain. The horse’s head vehemently rears, his nostrils are dilated, he neighs loudly and furiously – an expression of restlessness, tension and expectation. This is not merely a description of the painting but a deeply felt reading of the psychological condition of the animal, a captured moment of his life.

It almost seems as though Romiti identifies himself in that image, the image of not one particular horse but the “ majestic equine race” in general. And I am ever more convinced that Carlo has penetrated the very essence of the horse. He feels the horse in every cell and nerve of his body. Unable to speak Russian, when words were not enough to express his thoughts he would gesticulate and grimace the demeanour, motions and gestures of the horse so admirably. Like a dream come true, Carlo visited the Almaty hippodrome and the Akhal-Teke stables and not only conversed with the highly specialized breeders and horse dealers, Ja.Ja. Dik, G.I. Gorshkova and A. Makhmetov, but also encountered, caressed and rode on an Akhal-Teke horse. His exhibition, “ Le terre e i cavalli”, was not the only reason for travelling all the way to Kazakhstan and to Almaty. Carlo had always longed to encounter a three thousand year old thoroughbred “ a majestic war horse that has survived to the present day”

(A.Makhmetov).

Carlo Romiti’s incessant exclamations, “ How beautiful! What a fine horse!”

and the radiance in his eyes expressed his enthusiasm and fascination for these magnificent fairy-tale horses. Carlo Romiti was thus enriched by this exalting, informative experience which served as a fresh source of inspiration for his work.

Carlo was also awed by the boundless steppe “ablaze with poppies” in May, the carvings on the rocks, the sun deities in Tamgali, the crystalline waters of the mountain lakes, the semi-desert area of the Charin canyon…

..and he absorbed everything he saw for the first time as instinctively and naturally as a child. Carlo is part of nature. He was brought up in the countryside and has always been nurtured by its beauty and harmony. Carlo paints with his heart and soul and is artistically inspired by his natural surroundings and his beloved animal world. There is no demeanour of his four-legged friends that Carlo is unable to depict with a rapid brush stroke.

The visitors who came to the exhibition were particularly struck by the impact of the artist’s feelings that transpire in his paintings, the freedom of composition, the ingenuity and spontaneity without falsehood or contrivance. Carlo’s works are the expression of his very essence, both as a man and an artist; behind every brush stroke there are centuries of wisdom and reflections and the great masters still “ bless him in his artistic endeavours”

. Romiti works hard to perfect the beauty of his brushstrokes and lines and continually strives to improve his technical proficiency. He never betrays himself or his soul and every one of his canvases faithfully capture his thoughts, feelings and reflections. His works of art, orchestrated with the absorbent rhythm of the stains of colour, the lines and motifs, reawaken chords in our own souls and incite an exhilarating joy.

Here, on the Earth, the artist has created his own world: a unique world that not everyone is able to enter with ease. We were the fortunate ones, for Romiti showed us the way in, into a world in which the “Tulpar”

fly and foals are born from incandescent volcanic lava.

The knowledge he gains from the air and the earth in Italy and the universe, he enthusiastically and willingly shares with his students and the beholders of his works. From time to time he even runs a workshop. Whatever he does, whether creating or teaching, he does it with great zeal and devotion. When he taught a workshop at the museum to a group of children, their parents and very young would-be artists, Carlo competently demonstrated and imparted a wealth of knowledge, much of which was very simple and basic. Some of the children still regard his method of creating colours with trepidation: take a little earth, mix it with water, add an egg or glue and then paint as much as you like! Others have not forgotten when Carlo said that it is not necessary to go out and buy paints when the earth so generously offers us an infinite variety of natural colours: you only have to learn “to see”

them and work with them.

- Live in nature, live with nature, live thanks to nature – was the message our teacher imparted and this, for us, was a step towards understanding life. He believes that the educational training of a young artist is not complete until he understands and is fully aware of the basics of expressive art. He insists that the artist should have a balanced development through introspection and actively aspiring to a humane way of life. That is why he teaches and continues to study “ the experience of the cave artists’ paintings”, which fascinate us to this day, and that is why he adopts primitive and successive painting techniques. He transforms the multi-layered soils, which he collects on the hills between Florence and Siena, into miraculous painting materials that are surprisingly rich in a great variety of tones and shades of colour. Romiti experiments in his studio, set up in an old barn, at his home in the vicinity of Gambassi. He shows that authentic reality can be expressed in different ways because the empirical world is rich in different meanings and the superficial can be authentic. We inevitably become aware of the complexities and subtleties of existence; although we often loose sight of the significant aspects of many phenomena simply by forgetting, for example, that the earth is not an instrument to be used for making money or simply the place where we were born and where we live but it is also an instrument and a medium for creative self expression. The horse is not only an animal that trots; a row of vines have one meaning to the peasants and another for the lords of the land. The artist’s keen perception and torment transpire in all his works. Each painting, distinguished by a profound depth and quality of execution, is unique and original. For Carlo Romiti being an artist is not a game but a dictate of his soul.

In this article I have simply expressed my own idea of the works of this magnificent contemporary man and artist Carlo Romiti. I liked many things about him and above all his feeling for freedom on every level. He is not preoccupied with mundane matters for that would impede his endeavour towards the understanding of another dimension, the level of which is way above our own. Like any wise man, Romiti lets everyone feel free to express his own feelings and opinions even though he may not agree with them. His naturalness touched me deeply –

the way he dresses, the way he speaks and the way he wanders over the rocks and hills. I have, undoubtedly, idealized his image but there is nothing I can do about that, for it is exactly how I feel about him.

Review of Giandomenico Semeraro take from “Intra nos animalia” of Carlo Romiti

The voice of the earth turns into an obsession for an artist, following him throughout his life and drawing him deeper and deeper into its core. What attracts him is its muffled growling, its broken rhythms  rhythms which are slow, almost stretching out along the ages, and yet roaring with the bang and cry of the single moment. Along with the flowing of seasons the dialogue between life and death lets man hope for some vague glimpses of the hidden meaning of life. It is the sharp blade of tauromachy: the risk which draws man farther and farther whenever he fights on equal terms, just missing death and turning all this into pure art  a faena, a brilliant play with the cape, and here is the bull skimming along; a paso de pecho, and the bull grazes the breast and glides away. The artist is alone facing all the moves he is going to make: the choice is up to him and to his instinct to follow a noise or a sound. By now he is a chameleon, absorbing the colours and the degrees, indeed the very temperature of the lands he goes through, and of which he always drinks the lymph. It is a bodily need, almost a bodily life, and yet for the conscious artist it necessarily includes clear perception and the determination never to lose the right direction. Thus it becomes possible for him to define his tension in perfect tune with the present.

There is something ineffable, perfect and exciting in all this: the pleasure of the hand when step by step it follows plans which keep on evolving as the quest goes on, thus growing up together with the work of art itself. It is a work which inevitably gets rid of every unambiguous enticement of a road which could seem to be obliged, when instead its creative developments elude any foretelling. All that is left is the voice of the earth: an obsession, a detailed test, a strict school which visual arts can never leave, lest they should become meaningless and language communication should fail. It is in painting that Carlo Romiti finds the right soil for this adventure, since it is a virgin soil from the very beginning, the candid canvas on which to build up the visual tale. And building is the proper word, as the painter actually makes the page, builds up the shapes and spreads flashes of light so as to cement the whole. Thus the idea of choosing different soils as pictorial material becomes the solution to Romiti¹s search for both the gloomiest flashes in the wood and the most blinding light: a startling encounter with Prussian blu, with Sienna while looking for and gathering materials for art  materials that art feeds on. Living aloof, the artist absorbs the world around; Carlo Romiti leaves civilization to enter the civilization of colours and sounds where man is an animal, and animals become plants, bushes, cliffs: a memorable Nature already with the experience of the Last Judgement. The line merges with the light, thus-turning into a hardly visible image which joins the others until a complex mosaic emerges, and pictorial skill is the only clue. The line is to be interpreted as a building element for reality, as a concrete stimulus - rather than a bordering line – which helps colour to find a meaningfull direction, so that a deeper threshold of awareness is achieved.

Romiti explores forms and gets deeper into a mag- ma that he comes to recognize as his and into whi- ch he pours his artistic consciousness. The atmosphere is imbued with humours and becomes electrified when touched by the hand, increasing in meaning as its odours are discovered. The sign strokes the neck and tells the noise of a rough trunk rubbing itself against the rough bark of a tree, with the wrinkles overlapping because of the unbearable itching; or the sign unveils the speed of a gallop, the body of the animal being already out of sight and yet impressed for a moment in the eyes, before being absorbed again into the wood and into the Material. And Material is life and so includes even death in its cycle: mastiffs on horses, wild boars on dogs, like resounding barriers of a few seconds, which however are expanded endlessly, and time puts on the most fearful look of Cronos.

The sign furls with pleasure round the black of grapes, enjoys ochres, but always avoids repetition. It rather keeps on growing until it becomes gigantic and dares put forward hypotheses for a new sort of tale, such as to put on the appearance of a modern myth. Thus painting comes to be regarded as the place where energy can be drawn from reality. The nostrils of the horse are quivering with pleasure, excited before the gallop which is going to start. Romiti perceives their intense throbbing: his is the burning delight of the hand in following the progress of man up to the present and in building up a bridge with his still burning origins. Man¹s origins, in fact, are like a never healed injury, of which at the very closing of the second millennium we can but he fully aware.

Giandomenico Semeraro