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Carlo Maria Mariani, 1931 | Metaphysical painter

Carlo Maria Mariani is an Italian painter. His paintings are rooted both in Neoclassicist theory and modernism.
In the 1970s he defended his choice of medium from attacks by art critics by making parallels between the melancholy for the past of neoclassicism and the then trendy conceptual art.
He received international attention in the 1980s with what was called pittura colta ("cultivated painting") and la Nuova Maniera ("The New Style") in Italy, in which he employed old subjects and styles.
Among other things he depicted Andy Warhol as Napoleon and made "improved" and "corrected" versions of works by Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael.

In the United States his works were called postmodernism; the American art critic Hal Foster made a distinction between postmodernisms rooted in "reaction" and "resistance", and placed Mariani with his shameless use of "worn-out" styles in the former category.
William Wilson of the Los Angeles Times described a Mariani exhibition in Los Angeles in 1992 as "an extraordinarily complex, beautifully executed attempt to make classical drawing and painting meaningful again". | © Wikipedia

Carlo Maria Mariani is an internationally recognized artist and has exhibited worldwide including:
"Documenta", Kassel Germany; Centre George Pompidou, Paris; Hirshorn Museum, Washington D.C.; Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Mathildenhohe Darmstadt, Germany; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Frankfurt Kunstverein, Germany; Museum of Modern Art, Rome; Palais des Beaux Art, Charleroi France; Venice Biennial, Italy; California Center for the Arts; Frye Museum, Seattle; Oostende Museum of Modern Art, Belgium; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Museum of Palazzo Te Mantova, Italy; Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C.; Museo Centro Italiano Arte Contemporanea di Foligno Palazzo delle Esposizioni.

"Mariani is a conceptual painter. His work is a meditation on perfection and harmony - past, present and future. It is not enough for him to present to the world simply a glimpse of his own private vision. Instead, he offers an alternative mode of thought, to be used by all who seek refuge from mass-media induced mediocrity and cynicism...
He uses his dazzling craftsmanship to address the most advanced aesthetic problems of today. His work involves complex issues including reconciliations of past with present, memory with loss, and life with death...
In his work, Mariani strives for heightened consciousness, and for a greater understanding of the dimensions, not only of space, but also of time". | by David Ebony, Art in America

Formatosi all'Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma, dopo esperienze iperrealiste e concettuali si è affermato soprattutto dalla fine degli anni settanta con un linguaggio figurativo che rielabora, attraverso una pratica di matrice concettuale, stilemi neoclassici e citazioni iconografiche dall'arte antica accanto a suggestioni surreali o metafisiche -Ercole che riposa, 1976; Monumento alla poesia, 1994-95; Giudizio universale, 1996; Mal du siècle, 1998-99.

Le opere di M. sono state presentate in importanti rassegne periodiche -Biennale di San Paolo, 1981; Documenta di Kassel, 1982; Biennale di Sydney, 1986; Biennale di Venezia, 1982, 1984, 1990; Quadriennale di Roma, 1992-, oltre che in mostre tematiche e in varie personali.
Ha avuto importanti commissioni negli Stati Uniti, dove si è trasferito nel 1993 -Il Giorno e La Notte, 1989-90, New York, Millennium Hotel; tre grandi dipinti per il Bellagio Complex a Las Vegas, 1998.
Vincitore del Premio Marche per l'arte contemporanea ad Ancona (1997), ha ottenuto nel 1998 il Premio Antonio Feltrinelli dell'Accademia nazionale dei Lincei per la pittura.