In this monumental self-portrait, Omar Galliani reproduces his own profile for the first time, depicting himself in contemplation of an immense and very deep sky, dense with luminous constellations formed by figures that have recurred several times in his artistic career. These include, for example, roses and skulls, presented here as two faces of the same thought, time passing by (the roses are indifferent to the transience of beauty, the skulls to the inevitability of death). The same elements were already present in the equally monumental triptych Nocturne acquired for the Collection of Prints and Drawings of the Uffizi in 2008.
As in a piece of embroidery, Galliani's hand guides our eye to the discovery of his own very personal planetarium (a sword, a double chalice, a pair of scissors, a dragon...): these are references to precise life experiences, reminiscences of travel, dreams, visions: a dense and highly original repertoire to which the artist seems to turn here, like a tutelary deity, requesting both inspiration and protection at the same time (M. Faietti, 2018).
The work is created using the rather tricky technique of graphite drawing and black ink on poplar board, which has always been the artist's favourite combination. As in an alchemic process, Galliani works with great precision on the well-polished wooden surface, creating successive layers of drawing in thin strokes and calibrated combinations of black and white. The latter are also obtained with the aid of traditional Renaissance techniques such as pouncing, resulting in refined and magnetic compositions poised between reality and imagination.
The artist donated the Self Portrait to the Uffizi Gallery in 2018.