Raffaele De Rosa was born in 1940 in Podenzana in the Lunigiana area (Tuscany), where he spent the first six years of his life in the villages of Pomarino and Pallerone. This period has left an indelible mark on his adult painting.
At the age of 16, he arrived in Livorno where he attended the Trossi School without however being able to identify himself with the neorealist language pursued there. In 1971, the artist began to develop the most congenial style for him: fantasy painting.
Figurative and literary references can be traced in De Rosas' imagery - from surreal representations of the heroic world of Paolo Uccello to Piranesi's engravings with their impressive architecture, Ariosto's fantastic lightness and the utopian atmosphere of Italo Calvino's heraldic trilogy. These references originated and proliferated in his memory from the popular legends of his childhood spent in the Lunigiana area.
Since the 1970s, De Rosa has exhibited his works in solo and group exhibitions throughout Europe, moreover since 2002 his works have been on permanent display in the United States as well.
Raffaele De Rosa is a cultured painter, distant from any gratuitous search for effect.
The artist’s dreams emerge from the painting in a muffled or vigorous way, they deceive time by confusing the past with the future.
The painted cities could be the ancient villages of the Lunigiana area, however the architecture does not always appear to adhere to Euclidean geometry. These landscapes are accompanied with fantasy figures, clearly defined or blurred characters and alien animals move around his landscapes and seem to be referring as much to remote myths as to future realities.
As Pietro Clemente wrote, “De Rosa’s painting is not narration but illustration and, as such, it is more ambiguous and open. Illustration is, in fact, evocation and setting, the creation of scenarios in which to guide his narrative imagination. It is a point of connection, with no obligation of sequential continuity, between the non-iconic imagery of internalised stories and the world of vision into which they can be translated”.
Raffaele De Rosa escapes our reality to invent a new one by replacing objective daily life with his own theatrical creation. He pursues the thread of memory, readings, legends, myth and history thus creating an alternative world devoid of the perversions of reality. Where everything, including the fantastic, is filled with meaning and significance, based on a parallel yet sensible geometry.
The East and the West coexist in his works with a very modern and European taste for synthesis, as well as an attraction to arabesque and decoration. Gothic architecture is combined with lights of anti-naturalistic origin; the dramas and the joys of thought all find a place amid the spires and inaccessible and unfathomable heights.
That of De Rosa is therefore a fantastic “cartography” in which reality is indistinguishable from the impossible and what we consider imaginary may instead belong to the real world.
His paintings are frames from this epic story, where often iconography is the pretext for the myth to become a legend.
Raffaele De Rosa
La battaglia di Anghiari
100 x 150 cm
Oil on canvas
Raffaele De Rosa
Calvino Le città Invisibili
80 x 100 cm
Oil on canvas
Via Casali, 8 52044, Cortona, Italy
Mobile: +39 334 768 5048
Telephone: +39 0575 653 125