(by Beth Vermeer) As long as people have made art, there have been portraits. In the course of centuries to the present a remarkable metamorphose has taken place, from the painted portrait bearing likeness to emphasizing psychology and interior qualities of the sitter.
In the digital era photography has become the most applied medium, more spontaneous than painting, with the curious effect of determining communication by millions of tagged photos in Facebook. Instead of the royal court and aristocracy, there are new commissioners in the field of industry and commerce promoting the contemporary face of portraiture in unconventional occasions. Like a leading Italian company that offers an intriguing challenge during a convention in the city of the most famous historical portraits painters in the world, in Florence. In a very intelligent way the company connects product marketing with a cultural framework that helps with humanizing relationships on different scale within big companies and in the society.
The creative part accepting the challenge from the artistic and from the technical point of view is the Florence based illustrator and fine artist Andrea Mancini, specialized in narrative painting technique with watercolour, ink media and recent digital drawing. In his portraits Mancini develops a very poetical painting without being focused on reflecting likeness. His body of work offers favourable depicted of normal people in situations of everyday life that, at the same time, reveal a surprising feature: his works become a screen upon which we can project our own desires, our worries, our dreams. At Palazzo Vecchio, Mancini’s subjects are no normal sitters in pose but move around or hold a speech, and the artist’s skill is provoked by extreme velocity. His intense preparatory work from collecting the photos of convention’s participants, studying their faces and getting under the skin of unknown people to stress one of their main features, is not that easy as it seems. Nevertheless, Mancini succeeds in creating real art thanks to an innovative method: portraying a person from an already existing photography on the digital drawing board, adding a sophisticated layer of individuality that makes every single work a unique art piece.
In his performances the artist is prepared to retrace a hundred of people’s faces, their look, their mimicry, their spirit. This action will shape the affresco of a contemporary social group painting as a final result. His success is an outstanding proof to which extent a classical fine arts education united with the skills of high technology can generate amazing art works of extreme quality in a futurist framework.