Agostino Arrivabene’s Delicately Disturbing Paintings Invite You Into The Darkness Of Another World

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Agostino Arrivabene paints dreamlike visions of pain and beauty. With tentacle-like flowers growing from ethereal faces and branches reminiscent of veins encompassing bodies portrayed as saints, his paintings exist on their own plane of reality. It is almost as if they come from a time where time itself is non existent, as they seem to be simultaneously prehistoric and futuristic. His figures are almost treated in a pathological sense, yet are delicately sentimental, creating an innate sense of wonder.

His body of work aims to mimic “a room of curiosities” — referring to a collection of exotic memorabilia gathered by travelers. However, his collection is a metaphorical culmination of the excursions he has taken internally; he relates his process to that of the journey of Dante through hell. He is an artist that mainly lives in solitude, allowing him to fully immerse himself in his own bizarre world, drawing inspiration from his own dreams and the dark nature he surrounds himself in.

His extremely introverted and contemplative practice is heavily influenced by old masters. Using traditional methods such as grinding his own pigment, making his own paint, and using a near-extinct technique that combines egg tempera with oil, he allows himself to fully utilize the complexity of color. In doing so, he interjects himself somewhere in the middle of, or perhaps, within various aspects of, the history of painting.

Agostino Arrivabene transcends art history not only through technique, but also through content. His work winks at artists from multiple eras of time. There are strong connections to Italian Renaissance painters such as Sandro Botticelli, Symbolist painters such as Odilon Redon, Visionary painters such as Gustave Moreau, and the psychological darkness similar to the work of Francis Bacon.

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