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Portrait 270418 (Self-Portrait)

Lorenzo Puglisi (Biella, 1971)

Oil on canvas
120x100 cm
1890 no. 10841

Lorenzo Puglisi lives and works in Bologna. His pictorial research stems from his observation of and admiration for the greatest masterpieces of Western art history. From the Sistine Chapel to the Last Supper by Da Vinci, from Caravaggio to Correggio, from Tintoretto to Rembrandt, Rubens and Goya, faces, poses and hands are selected by the artist’s eye and transferred to the canvas, painted in monochrome black, with fast and full-bodied brush strokes, where the predominant use of white is lit up by hints of red or blue. These pieces of faces and body parts, captured in an expression or a gesture, are not lack or progressive negation: they are to be understood, on the contrary, as apparitions that emerge from obscurity and manage to impose themselves on it, presenting themselves to us at the exact moment of their definition in real form, at the moment in which they find their essence. It is no coincidence that the parts of the body that the artist extrapolates and reproduces on his canvases are almost always heads, faces and hands: it is here that the substance and expressive capacity of a human being is concentrated, in his thought and in his becoming a gesture; it is here that his inner soul is made explicit.

Thus also in this self-portrait (titled with the date on which his studio work was completed), Puglisi makes visible of himself only his face and hands intertwined with each other: the parts of the body that, in the artist’s words, best embody the vital energy of the person, his ineluctable tendency towards life, in contrast to the dark substance from which he emerges. The repeated and overlapping sign is a metaphor for the artist’s incessant flow of emotions and thoughts, as he interfaces with others. At a time in history burdened worldwide by military conflicts and pandemic dramas, Puglisi intends to offer us a message of hope and positivity through his passionate and relentless research.

The work was donated by the artist’s son, Michelangelo Vasta, to the Uffizi Galleries in 2022.


Self-reflection. Omar Galliani. Lorenzo Puglisi. Tintoretto, a cura di Astrida Rogule, Guicciardo Sassoli de’Bianchi Strozzi, catalogo della mostra (Riga, The Art Museum Riga Bourse, 21 agosto-14 novembre 2021), Bologna, Corsiero Editore, 2021; Lorenzo Puglisi, a cura di M. Meneguzzo, Milano, Skyra, 2022, p. 47.

Text by
Francesca Sborgi
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