Andrea Martinelli's hyperrealism on display in Carrara, Italy, at Palazzo Cucchiari

From Sept. 6 to Nov. 24, 2019, Palazzo Cucchiari in Carrara is hosting a solo exhibition by Andrea Martinelli (Prato, 1965) entitled Stories of Men and Shadows. Works 1999-2019, curated by Massimo Bertozzi and Antonio Natali. A hyperrealist painter and draughtsman, Martinelli has researched the themes of the shadow, the face and the human figure. The exhibition in Carrara aims to cover, on the two noble floors of Palazzo Cucchiari, the last two decades of the artist’s career. About seventy works, many of them large-format, will be exhibited for the occasion, making up six sections: The Face, The Figure, The Grandfather, The Drawing, The Self-Portraits and The Night.

The matrix of all the artist’s work is drawing, through which Martinelli wants to refer to the figurative tradition of his native land. Martinelli considers drawing not only a graphic exercise, but also the expression of a thought: from this assumption comes his maniacal attention to detail. Among the works on display, some of them previously unpublished, are a selection of the self-portraits presented to the Uffizi Gallery on the occasion of the donation of the La Bocca self-portrait, which became part of the Vasari Corridor collection in 2013. One room will be devoted to the monumental portraits of the artist’s grandfather, Dino (to whom he was deeply attached), which ensured some success for the artist, especially after the solo exhibition Il volto e l’ombra at the Museo della Permanente in Milan curated by Flavio Arensi.

“To have portrayed his grandfather’s face in such large works,” writes Antonio Natali, “seemed to me to be a sign of his desire to combine (so that they would be mutually exalted) the monumentality of the images with the strength of his feelings of love, but perhaps above all of esteem for a figure who had played a considerable role in his human formation.” The exhibition will be enriched by the photographs of Martina Jones Lombardi, the artist’s companion, which depict Martinelli in moments of work and intimacy in his studio. Finally, on the occasion of the exhibition, Tommaso Santi’s 2019 short film A Tale from Silence will be presented to the public for the first time. The film investigates the artist’s work and the people he portrays through suggestions, life stories and anecdotes.

Martinelli, who trained at the Porta Romana Art Institute in Florence and the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence, has had solo exhibitions in Strasbourg at the European Parliament, the Frissiras Museum in Athens, the Scheringa Museum in Amsterdam, the Panorama Museum in Bad Frankenhausen, Germany, the Fondation Rustin in Antwerp and the Museo della Permanente in Milan. His works were also presented at the 13th Quadriennale di Roma (1999) and at the Italian Pavilion of the 2011 Venice Biennale, curated by Vittorio Sgarbi. In 2013 the artist donated his self-portrait entitled La Bocca (The Mouth) to the Uffizi Gallery, at the behest of then-director Antonio Natali. For the occasion, a solo exhibition is being held in the Sala del Camino of the Uffizi Gallery, in which, in addition to the donated self-portrait, drawings and preparatory sketches are also presented, accompanied by Gianni Berengo Gardin’s black-and-white shots taken during the preparatory work on the work. Recent projects include an anthological exhibition entitled L’ombra, gli occhi e la notte curated by Vittorio Sgarbi at the Palazzo Ducale in Urbino in March 2018.

Opening hours: September Tuesday to Sunday 10am-12pm and 4pm-8pm, October and November Tuesday to Sunday 3pm-7pm (morning visits by appointment only. Closing day: Monday. Ticket: 5 euros. Catalog Bandecchi & Vivaldi, sponsor: RED Graniti. Media partner of Palazzo Cucchiari - Giorgio Conti Foundation: Finestre Sull’Arte. For more information you can visit the Palazzo Cucchiari website.

Image: Andrea Martinelli, The Man Who Had Cruel Shadows (2004; oil on panel, 110 x 70 cm)

Andrea Martinelli's hyperrealism on display in Carrara, Italy, at Palazzo Cucchiari
Andrea Martinelli's hyperrealism on display in Carrara, Italy, at Palazzo Cucchiari

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