Thomas Micchelli

Copy After Masaccio, Florence (from Expulsion from the Garden of Eden in the Cappella Brancacci, Santa Maria del Carmine),  2003, pencil on paper, 10 x 7 inches 

Micchelli: Circling Back


The simplest way to put it is that Italian art and culture form the double helix around my life and work. Although both of my parents were born in this country, I grew up in a social fabric that was far more Italian than American, which I didn’t fully appreciate until my first trip to Italy, where I felt immediately at home. My first memorable encounter with art was in the form of a coffee-table book of Michelangelo’s paintings that one of my uncles, an amateur sculptor, showed me one Christmas morning when I was seven or eight. The visceral transcendence of the forms overwhelmed me in a way I couldn’t comprehend, imprinting an indelible sense of wonder.


The compact volumes, structural solidity, and primacy of line that undergird the art of Michelangelo, Masaccio, Pontormo, Caravaggio, de Chirico, Morandi — to pluck a handful of names out of dozens — are the elusive touchstones of my practice. They are not elements exclusive to Italian art, of course, but no matter how widely I cast my net, I always find myself circling back to the Italians and the Italianate when I need to find my bearings.


Copy After Caravaggio, Rome (from John the Baptist (Youth with Ram) in the Galleria Doria Pamphilij) and Copy After Michelangelo, Florence (from The Deposition or Bandini Pietà in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo); each 2003, pencil on paper, 10 x 7 inches

Thomas Micchelli

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