Paul Rinaldi

Fugue, no. 13-2, 2018-19, encaustic on panel (diptych), 8.5 x 16. 5 inches

Rinaldi: Sounds and Tastes


My father’s parents were first-generation Italian Americans who grew up across the street from each other in New York’s Lower East Side. My grandmother’s family was from Northern Italy, and my grandfather’s family from the South, near Naples, so early on they had to keep their relationship a secret. I have early memories of my grandmother making lasagna and espresso (the latter, which she offered to me in small quantities with lots of sugar) and of my grandfather playing the violin.


My grandmother was a seamstress, doing piecework in the home. She died when I was eight-years-old. My grandfather traveled to Italy each year to purchase new and used instruments to import back to America, and he maintained a small workshop in the basement to varnish, repair, and set up violins and violas. They were both makers, balancing craft and aesthetic in their own ways. To this day, I use a stovetop espresso maker, similar to the one used by my grandparents, for my morning coffee, and I often think back fondly to the stories of their experiences and heritage.


As an artist, I look to several Italian artists for inspiration, masters from the early Renaissance, such as Giotto, Masaccio, and Fra Angelico, as well as another more contemporary favorite, Giorgio Morandi. In their paintings I find a confidence and stillness, an honest expression of human truth in its pure form. After college, I had the amazing opportunity to study in Italy for one summer, taking in masterworks from Etruscan and Roman art through the Baroque. Yet equally formative were the landscape vistas, the streets, and the sounds, smells, and tastes of this magical land. Through travel, we learn so much about life and ourselves. In its own way, art offers a similar portal. I hope to walk those streets again and revisit these old friends sometime soon.

Sequence, no. 108, 24.5 x 12.5 inches and Sequence 25-2, 16.5 x 8.5 inches

Both 2018-19, encaustic on panel (diptych)


Paul Rinaldi