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November Issue 2003
Fantastical Italian Paintings by Raffaele De Rosa at Gallery 2 in Columbia, SC
Gallery 2 in Columbia, SC, welcomes special guest curator, Paul D. Sloan and his selection of fantasy paintings by Italian artist Raffaele De Rosa through Nov. 15, 2003. De Rosa has spent a long artistic life in a world filled with statuesque, powerful warriors and voluptuous, flaxen haired maidens. Much as Geiger took horror images to the height of fine art, De Rosa's take on classical heroics is an elevated fantasy artform.
On De Rosa's canvases, armor-clad heroes brandishing pikes and spears, muscular horses, mysterious architecture and undulating seas meld in a phantasmagoric battle of wills. De Rosa paints in a loose, somewhat cubist manner at times; his use of fiery reds and oranges and icy blues sometimes dissolve into a monochromatic duet of black and white. Often his active, dramatic figures are turned to something outside the edge of the canvas making viewers wonder what foe lingers just out of sight. Some paintings seem only a fragment of a larger drama being played out on a battlefield or against the walls of an ancient city. It is apparent that De Rosa is greatly influenced by Greek and Roman history and mythology, but one cannot pinpoint an exact historical period that holds clear influence in his work; it is simply his own world, an organic carnival of images. De Rosa's could be called magical realism, a world of imaginative narration.
De Rosa was born in Podenzana, Italy near the ancient city of Luni, which still serves as an inspiration for much of the artist's visionary painting. At an early age, De Rosa moved to Naples where the ruins of the cemetery of Poggioreale became another inspiration that can be found in the backgrounds of some of his canvases even today. De Rosa moved to Livorno when he was 16 and attended the prestigious Art School Trossi where he became involved in an art scene engrossed with impressionist and neo-realist traditions; but De Rosa found it hard to identify with the neorealistic school. By 19, De Rosa had developed his own style of fantastical art and had his first exhibition that same year.
Since that first show, Raffaele De Rosa has shown in more than 200 individual galleries and art events around the globe and has been the solo subject of two extensive volumes featuring full-color reproductions. His unique style has been shown all over Italy as well as in New York, Paris, Jerusalem, Stockholm and Hamburg. De Rosa is now represented by Paul D. Sloan in Columbia, SC.
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