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Riccardo Mannelli: A Lion in Winter

Lion of contemporary Italian art Riccardo Mannelli is not unknown in the US -- but when his compelling work is recognized, it is most often by fellow painters who admire his particular combination of advanced techniques in color and draftsmanship and the innovative, refined deliberations of composition he lavishes on his edgy content. Yet it may prove to be the subversive sensuality of his ultra-modern figures and portraits, demonstrating a kind of feminism that is really a powerful revolutionary humanism, together with the rich tenor of his unbowed social and political commentary that will finally capture the imagination of a whole new generation of audiences.

Classical but not antique, the gestural empathy of Mannelli's decisive draftsmanship provides an art historical foundation for his content's flights of wild fancy. In the tradition of transgressive masters like George Grosz, Otto Dix, and Egon Schiele, Mannelli's decadent theatricality explores the specific, volatile mystery of the human condition at the edges of modernity. The sublime balance of beauty and terror, fear and obsession, past and present, sex and politics, humor and critique, line and color, surface and narrative speak to his appetite for emotional truth and extreme honesty in all things.