Valerio Napoletano and the timeless glitter of his female portraits
A challenging resurrection of the baroque style in photography seems to be one of the major characteristics of Valerio Napoletano’s art. Both a creator and a discoverer, the young and gifted Italian photographer embraced the universe of feminine beauty with an almost religious fervor, reminding us a famous quote by Dostoevsky-‘’Beauty will save the world’’.
In his well-known compositions from the ‘’Mediterranea’’ cycle the artist tried ”to chase, in an almost amusing way, the idea of pure beauty”. He looks at the eternal feminine with the avidity of a tiger’s eye, always on the watch. His works are made with a scientific accuracy in order to capture an augmented beauty, even monumental and timeless, blending female portraits with significant elements from the marine world, like fishes, algae, octopuses, etc. The art of arranging in a decorative manner the various elements and to interpret the woman’s beauty in various lights is due to a conception of photography as heraldic, allegorical and symbolic. The compositions from the ‘’Mediterranea’’ cycle may be partially connected to the tradition of another very famous Italian artist, Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593). All of them are probably born and imagined starting from Arcimboldo’s artwork, ‘’Water’’ (1566), an unique and expressive human figure made by fishes, algae, crabs, octopuses, etc. Both Arcimboldo and Napoletano found their main source of inspiration in a secret relationship, almost musical, between nature and human beings, a vision close to mannerism.
The emotional immediacy of Valerio Napoletano’s vibrant and composite portraits may be related to the spiritual intensity, melancholy and the timeless glitter of the female portraits made by the masters of the Renaissance art.