Leonardo, Giorgione, Antonello da Messina, Caravaggio, Tiziano, Andrea del Sarto, Rembrandt...: so many undiscussed and unmatched painters....
After a long period training Shodo (Japanese Calligraphy), under the guidance of Norio Nagayama Sensei, I came back to my native iconographic tradition and started studying the Old Masters oil painting techniques. What you can see here is the result of this long training, after I can finally say their modus operandi as well as their immortal poetry became at least clearer to me. This has been possible also for the unique opportunity I had in my life to become a student of one of the greatest painter ever existed: my dear friend, master and mentor, Odd Nerdrum.
My copies are different.
Of course they are a little bit different from the originals: also the greatest forgers always put something different from the originals in their works. I think is something related to the intimate relation that everyone of us has with himself, the deepest experience of our own body, of our face: is something also related with the heart. Anyway this doesn't affect me too much, since I want to realize a work which is sincere, that also shows something of me and that has his own dignity. Indipendent by, but bound to the original: is'nt this strange?!
In any case I mean they are different also in another way: you can easily find many copists on the net, but what do they do? For the most part they simply take a picture, buy a commercial canvas, project the image on it and start painting with very basic and low quality colors and mediums. This is not my way. First of all I have to say that my studies start from a real love and a sort of devotion I have for the Old Masters. I learned this respect, by the slow, constant, unremitting study of the old masters writing styles you have to do practicing the Japanese Calligraphy Art, which is the only way to start your soul resonating with the rithm and the spirit of the great masters of the past. This is very important and very clear in the eastern world, where the scholars use to engrave in the stone the old examples of very good calligraphies from the past, to preserve their spirit by the unavoidable deterioration of the rice paper: They do know what is the respect of the experience of the old masters, his precious value and they continue to have it as their first point of reference. That's why, as I started to learn as a self taught the old masters oil painting techniques, I began studying their life, their techniques, the materials they used (this is often also different from painting to painting). So what I try to do is to really establish a deep contact with them, with their historical moment, with their feelings, with their spirit. All this research and study goes together to the recovery of the drawings and everything I'm able to find about the work I'm going to reproduce. Sometimes I need to buy books to better understand some technical aspects of their methods, colors and materials f.e. technical reports after restaurations etc... These instruments are essential if you have the target to create a copy with a real taste, not just a flat appearance of similarity. After that I proceed with drawing studies of the parts of the painting I consider more difficult and then I prepare the support for the painting. This is a very delicate part of the process, since I want to respect at the maximum the creating experience that the old master had while painting that particular picture. To do that I spend a long time searching for special materials, canvases or the right wood panels, and color/mediums/varnishes equipments that will help me to re-create the special effects of light and colors of the originals.
After creating the ground I transport the basic drawing lines os the painting using the old simple method of the grid. In many cases, since the paintings I reproduce are mostly dated between the XVth and the XVIIth centuries, I make a grisaille with tempera or with oil and only then I start putting on the colors which are for the most part handly preared by myself with pure natural pigments, using different recipes for the medium and the varnish... In many cases I use to realize by myself also the frames on the design of the originals.
I know this could be boring for many of you, but for many others not: so I don't go deeper in this here, but if some of you wants to know more you can ask me by writing at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For a quick view of my "modus operandi" you can check out the videos section as well.