“I am interested in the relationship with reality, because I can look at the information it provides and indulge its nature and language. But there is more. These natural elements are usually excuses for the shapes and even symbols that arise from my subconscious. I choose to convey a message of simplicity, calm and thoughtfulness, rather than torment or despondency. The atmosphere in each painting must come through as a ‘painting of silence’, without noise or excess. The pictorial space can have its own life, leaving all temporal conventions behind and focusing on a specific moment in time, a moment whose end I don’t wish to witness. Colour can spread outside of confined shapes and create partial abstraction: a compromise that reduces the call of the material. I look for juxtapositions between opposite forces, simplicity and complexity, formal rigour and form dissolution. I use contrasting and complementary warm and cold tones… to evoke movement that exists within the boundaries of the painting. As a result, the final stage of any work in progress is never completely predictable. And this is how it should be. Being aware of the direction of modern painting (or the end of it) and the limits of tradition, I use my research as an opportunity to create an intimate and personal relationship with the invisible reality. As Cezanne said: “Painting is not just about copying nature; it’s creating harmony between different relationships, transposing them into a specific system of tones, and developing them according to the rules of a new, original logic.” A closing thought from Matisse: “Whoever truly has something to say is driven to say it by his emotions, which lead him to developing the work in relation to his individual qualities.” Piero Anichini
The crystallisation of memory
A talented Florentine artist, Piero Anichini believes in the representational frameworks of the tradition, and showcases his innate predisposition for skilled drawing and mastery of shape ideation and rendition. His artistic qualities and priorities identify him as a disciple of the Annigoni school. There he developed the technical skill of mixing oil colours and egg tempera on canvas, which give his works refined pastosity and chromatic dilution. His aesthetic pursuit, which looks easy to interpret on the surface, is expressed and revealed through the complexities of his style: each work embraces a sort of interior investigation that, although based in reality, is simultaneously re-interpreted through the filter of memory and the rationalisation of Anichini’s painting. From initial sketch to studio rendition, each landscape vision is set in reality but gets reinterpreted by the artist who, not being completely satisfied with what is in front of him, later re-translates each scene. Thus, we see transfigured images where cold and warm tones complement each other, intense here and delicate there, and are both evocative and rich in symbolic resonances and cross-references to what lies inside. Starting with an external space, Anichini continues by portraying interior landscapes whose clearly introspective tones get paired with a renewed formal essentialism. This is where his big rooms appear as empty spaces with barely outlined furnishings, rendered more evocative by the constant presence of the light, almost like a ‘revealing prophecy’—a prophecy that does not create a physical space, but rather conjures an existential space where an intimate, anxious search for the self takes place. We witness the dialogue with the female figures that appear, at times, at the ‘threshold’: (remove) the tones are cruder with ample campiture, following the metaphysical impulses of colour. Even the assemblages of different objects are significant: their outline stands silently like a solid representation of the past, interacting with the dissolution of the background. Anichini’s production is thematically rich, multi-faceted and versatile. His originality uses the pictorial appropriation to crystallise the authentic, fleeting naturalistic dimension of the present, bestowing upon it the intimate universality of ‘being’, guided by the creative conscience of memory in its desire to stop time.
Piero Anichini, Florentine painter, is undoubtedly one of the most representative and meaningful artists within the rich artistic landscape of Tuscany. He chose to express himself through the unusual egg tempera technique, which, combined with oil paint, gives his works an essential quality that is fuelled by his true and intense love of nature. A sensitive illustrator, he keeps the dialogue between elements alive, observing them with careful attention and constructive curiosity. His expert artistry, resulting from his formal training, complements an extremely human and interesting view of the world that surrounds and inspires him. His journeys are dreamlike, visual diaries where he records rarefied landscapes, stories of men and souls, and his own melancholy. His continuous pictorial references are silent witnesses of the irrationality of being, and have the power to eliminate time and present us with solitudes and colours immersed within visual objects, realistic or imaginary. His portrayals appear to be drifting, fleeing infinitely like different visions of the same dream, revealing all their power and significance. His pictorial symbolism is a realm of quiet and spiritual refinement. His green, brown and yellow tones are always softened by smooth light and subtle tonal shifts; the nuances translate the landscape, presenting it in its harmonious form, and become part of a wider ensemble where Anichini’s brushstroke knows to hit the right notes. His pictorial expression has far more than monetary or purely formal value, thanks to his diligence, tenacity, and the continuous awareness of his environment. Anichini scrutinises the essential to extract a subtle strength from his paintings. His personal simplicity makes the work enjoyable and enjoyed, powerful and basic at the same time, and almost always intimate. His formal mastery allows him to recreate atmospheres rich in suggestion; perhaps, the never-ending pursuit of serenity and peace, rooted in the darkness of the soul, is the true power behind his colour palette. The feeling of brightness comes from the contrast between light and shadow as well as the compositional balance, whose powerful possibilities he is fully aware of. Piero Anichini is a man who has discovered the strength and sweetness of colour, and uses it as part of an authentic moment of dialogue and clarification with himself. Few artists can boast the same solemn commitment to the improvement of their pictorial expression, and the sense of self-criticism and modesty that transpires from his works. All this places Anichini among the most promising artists of recent years.
A worshipper of images
Anichini truly and visibly displays his artistic intelligence throughout his works, an intelligence that is based in rationality, expressed through and contained by both colour and analysis. A deeply Tuscan soul, he has mastered the atmospheres and techniques of Annigoni and his school. Anichini’s thick temperas almost want to reveal the hidden movements of the soul: each astounding layer of colour contributes to building the overall scene, almost as if punctuating the dialogues of a lifetime, as seen and assimilated through the painter’s refined inventiveness. Anichini can undoubtedly be called a “worshipper of images”. An atmosphere of quiet reflection pervades his landscapes, which look as if they had been filtered through deep and introspective investigation; each landscape serves to express the power of the Artist’s emotions and feelings, binding him to Nature and its elements. Throughout his works, Anichini’s gestures are cadenced and uniform; both landscape and still life—or “suspended nature”, as the artist prefers to call it—paintings are characterised by the warm, shiny textures of the paint, which he uses to create vivacious colour pairings, never losing track of the harmonious background campiture. His compositions and their evanescent reflections evoke nostalgic memories and recollections of suffering. This very personal artistic language makes each work undoubtedly valuable from an artistic perspective.
The reflexive paintings of Piero Anichini
Luciano Fabbri (psychotherapist and poet)
I have been friends with Piero Anichini for many years, and a witness to his artistry and work. Our ongoing relationship has filled me with feelings, thoughts, sensations, insights, and ‘discoveries’ that have contributed to my life and the evolution of the way I see and experience it. I saw his initial, tormented search for a personal painting technique, and observed the slow mutation into the serene flow of his potential; I now know the soft, secure hand that today holds the brush to create moments of life and eternities through the silence and harmony of his colours. We humans are at our happiest when given the possibility of finally leaving behind the endless, dramatic conflict between rules and freedom, between external absolutes and internal differences. I experienced Piero’s strong desire to ‘stay inside reality’ and, at the same time, to listen to the equally powerful need to transcend appearances to grasp and live the fullness of life; now I can look at his landscapes and still life paintings and see the delicate and strong integration between ‘matter’ and ‘spirit’, between visible time and invisible eternity, between actions and subconscious. I witnessed Piero’s intimate and painful doubt when forced to choose between simplicity and complexity, between individual and universal elements—until he found his own, firm style in paintings that are both original and familiar; until he experienced the magnitude of the motionless and yet perpetually moving circle of continuously fluid forms. I have big hopes for the future, as I can sense that the whole of humanity and the entire universe are finally going to overcome all oppositions and barriers between elements, until the creation of the universal, conscious interconnection of all things and all creatures.
Elisabetta Picchi (poetess)
You see it clearly: what others name happiness is often an unbearable swill of habit and boredom. Better, then, our delighted desperation as wise worshippers of beauty: better to use words and colours to be wary of life of its devastating salt Always preferring to joy – such an infrequent word – its illicit intolerable regret.
The individual soul and the soul of the world
The paintings of Piero Anichini have their own internal language: the language of archetypes that structure nature, from which the unstoppable force and inimitable atmosphere of each work emanates. He tries to free himself from the boundaries of two-dimensional space and from a figurative style led by the senses, much like an alchemist would try to separate the thick from the thin, the volatile from the fixed. By activating the viewer’s imagination (imaginatio), Piero Anichini’s ouvre connects the individual soul with the soul of the world. In his work, the artist takes advantage of the human ability to dream up visions with one’s eyes shut, to give rise to colours and forms, to think through images—and from this virtual reality, his images become concrete. He is able to control his inner visions without suffocating them or letting them degenerate into confused and ephemeral fantasies: his images are conveyed through a form that is clearly defined, self-sufficient, powerfully autonomous. His work continually produces an updated, refined understanding of how things really are: in other words, he knows to capture that golden moment when the self becomes aware. Piero Anichini thus rightfully claims his spot in the work of liberation, the birth of the philosopher’s stone—as the alchemists would call it—that still lies mostly hidden in the dark depths of our unconscious.