Giovanni Milani-Santarpia - Artwork

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Why I paint what I paint

My art work is essentially figurative although extremely wide-ranging in style and technique. Whilst this might at first glance indicate artistic immaturity, a "failure to find and define my artistic mission and preoccupation" I believe it attests to a broad command of artistic expression as a means of (self) exploration and expression.

I paint what I like and if I feel like transforming Botticelli's Venus into an Espresso Coffee I will, but that doesn't mean that I cannot search for my peace and beauty by painting a watercolour landscape or a portrait of my daughters and wife or indeed quickly sketch a scene on the beach. I even draw to study or to illustrate articles I might write, for example this short article about coffee bars in Rome.

Art is a tool for personal expression and as such one is free to use it in a variety of ways to take notes, record and remember as well as to produce something new, something "beautiful" something which can acquire a life of its own, independently of myself, its creator.

PaintingsIf a principal "preoccupation" is what you need then I would say that for me it is the nude. Or perhaps the "Nude", with capital "N". I wonder at the boundary between nude and the naked as K. Clark would put it. I love to think of Venus Coelestis versus Venus Naturalis. I love Venus, antique drawings, watercolours. Needless to say I have to censor my own work whilst I give a free hand to searching the depths of my imagination.

Cupid defending Venus with his arrows of loveMy background is a mixture of England and Rome. Sargent is a favourite artist of mine, especially his watercolours. I feel the modern pressure of "time" and the need to execute expressive works quickly, so his impressionist touches which say so much with so little are, for me, the pinnacle of technique and expression. If only I could combine that sureness of touch with the Rennaissance love for drawing the human soul on paper!

Although I attended art studios in London and Madrid for a very long time I continue to define myself as essentially self taught. Although my artwork is painting for its own sake I have been lucky enough to know a degree of success

Watercolour sketch of winter fields and clouds (I like the clouds)My work ethos is that a well drawn work is always successful with the public - like it or not you have to argue on a totally different plane about a properly executed work. If you want to draw in the modern, abstract, distorted, fashion you cannot do without knowing how to draw a convincing figure first. First you learn the rules then you break them. I like the rules and I like to break them: A school teacher of mine once told me that the trick with a bow tie was not to tie it too perfectly - otherwise they might think you'd bought it. But of course to do it imperfectly required me to learn it perfectly first.

Oh yes, I have exhibited in various countries and sold paintings and drawings. Sometimes commissioned sometimes off the shelf. Time permitting I also give some on site lessons to a few mad people who care to fly all the way to Rome. I think they come for the sites actually but I like to flatter myself.

Watercolour sketch of Vulci castle

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What I paint: Paintings & Drawings

my self portrait - shaving

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A sketch of a bather at Montalto Marina. A sketch taken from my travel diary of Siena's belltower My bedroom window View of Rome's countryside
Painting of Vulci castle and its ancient bridge. The castle acted as a toll point along the river. Watercolour sketch of Vulci castle Sketch of a bather at Montalto Sketch of mother and child at lake Bolsena
Study of a sunset at Montalto Marina Ancient church across the valley at Norchia Watercolour sketch of village belltower Watercolour sketch of winter fields and clouds (I like the clouds)

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