Monday, April 20, 2009

FRANCESCO CLEMENTE "Self-Portrait: The First"

The naked artist fixes his penetrating gaze on the viewer, who feels compelled to return his look. A host of different birds rest on the artist's shoulders. The first in Clemente's series of large, calligraphically rendered drawings of himself, this picture illustrates the artist's almost erotic drive towards self-exploration and self-exposure. The figure is treated in an expressive manner, while the birds symbolize the supremacy of subjectivity and imagination over reason.

The work is an example of the Neo-Expressionist trend known as Transavanguardia, which focuses on expressive figurative work done on a large scale. Towards the end of the 1970s Clemente and other Italian Neo-Expressionists largely led the way in reviving figure painting. This revival may be seen partly as a reaction to non-figurative Abstract Expressionism, which dominated the art scene for many years.

SOURCE: The Art Book

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