To reconstruct the torn fabric of reality in the image, De Romanis uses natural light and man's secret light, in order to illuminate the overall meaning of things. Because light which is the primary source of all that is visible is brought by the painter inside himself by transferring it to the canvas.
Rossini dazzles spectators and listeners with an almost violent light emanating from his music. The composer, in fact, is such a dazzling light that in some cases he risks to burn us.
Agostino De Romanis, was born in Velletri (Rome) on 14 June 1947, Gioacchino Rossini, was born in Pesaro on 29 February 1792 and died in Passy (Paris) on 13 November 1868.
Both work with a strong focus on light and content, considering painting and composition as a way to express themselves, projecting themselves towards a new dimension of beauty that goes beyond the represented and the vision of reality.
In the entire production of De Romanis, light gushes out greatly, capable of purifying the image from darkness. And the artist appears in his real ability to evoke forms from the ancient world and gradually invest them with new life now by appealing to the evocative landscape visions that find a graft of great value in what constitutes the fundamental core of this art: light.
The painter works for and within this element which is not a totally natural constituent since it is an invention dictated by his sensitivity.
It is a soft but liquid light that flows slowly in upward flows and flows again into those real or illusory spaces, creating as it passes different points of view and new focal centres, to illuminate the complexity of the observer's psyche.
The works of the two masters can also come together because they manifest a profound psychological investigation beyond the figures and surfaces, beyond shapes and colours, through highly personal and meaningful languages able to excite.
De Romanis does not develop the figures represented in the canvases with clear outlines, but he brings them out backlight, by contrast. Nothing here is a priori in such a way that even the particular gives breath and controlled readability to the whole. This is the case of Opening of light (2013), Broken ties (2014), The end of flight (2015).
Rossini's characters sing about love, he becomes a poet of the human heart in duets and trios of impalpable beauty. But the love for Pesaro is fleeting, overflowing with desire, it is more nostalgia and a dream to be realized than an accomplished fact. His lovers, Arnold, Ramiro, Tancredi, Almaviva, Aesace, have to wait a long time for the brief moments with their beloved: happiness belongs to the moment, it is pursuit and then rapid joy. Woman is the great protagonist of Rossini's works, both heroic (Desdemona, Anna), regal (Elisabetta, Semiramide), sensual (Armida, Fiorilla), and delicate (Ninetta, Cenerentola). Often, they are victims of their fathers, they can lose love or commit suicide, but they are always the focus of the action. In these visions everything shines and has an immense breath.
Also the characters of De Romanis sing about love, as in Angela (1980), ethereal companion of a large part of his life, as in the disturbing female figures of Woman protected by fire (2003) and In defense of love (2004, triptych). In 2018 he illustrates Torquato Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata. It is a long and tiring work consisting of 20 tables that from the first representative Tancredi arrives at La Vittoria, passing through The Infernal Challenge (tab. IV), Suleiman and the magician Ismenus (tab. X), The enchanted forest (tab. XXIII), Rinaldo sleeping (tab. XIV). The monumental monograph, edited by Roberto Luciani, aroused an enchanting emotion, lasting and regenerating, a fatal point of arrival in the profession.
Rossini's ideal of absolute beauty finds its best expression in the singing that has always flourished, of Baroque and eighteenth-century derivation, revisited by the composer who is a great expert and writes "for the voices". Thanks to excellent interpreters such as Nourrit and Duprez, Malibran, Pasta, Colbran (his wife from 1822 to 1845) creates a "Rossinian" vocal style, based in the male field on the high register of the head and not of the "chest" and in the feminine field on the softness of emission, the colours, the agility. Rossini chooses "voices" that express the feeling of clarity and eurythmy, tenors like David and Nazzari together in the Otello, or altos with an extended low and acute register like Isabella Colbran, basses like Filippo Galli to whom he can entrust imposing roles.
The Rossini orchestra is also well built harmoniously, showing a capacity for seduction equal to singing.
Rossini has a formidable sense of rhythm which is like the very strong framework with which he supports the construction of the music scene. It often takes on an immense vitality, called Dionysian, as if the entire cosmos exploded within a solid architecture. Naturally the Rossini melody undergoes an evolution: from the elegiac clarity of the first productions (Tancredi), to the winged vastness of the following period (Donna del lago), to the more delicate pathos (Otello), to the astral virtuosity (Semiramide), to the pre-romantic feeling (Guglielmo Tell).
In the production of De Romanis the exotic references become intense coinciding with the trips to Indonesia that began in the Eighties. The rhythms of the oils change in the landscapes and colours, speaking to us of the wide register of a soul able to contain the meditative silences of the great windward rice fields of the island of Bali, of the volcanoes of Semeru and Java, of the prayers on the Kalimantan river. All the works possess strong symbolic qualities: Agostino in fact encircles the colours in tight drafts, harmonized with each other by altering the timbres. The compositional whole seems to disappear in the details, everything is labyrinthine, impregnable, incoherent. Enchanted by the diaphanous light and intense Indonesian scents, he has transposed his feeling into the deposits of historical memory, drawing a new poetry outlined by a personal linguistic declension.
Rossini builds vast polyptychs, the result is that of an overwhelming radiance, a feeling of universal Beauty that transcends characters and actions thanks to virtuous singing and a refined orchestra. The vocal and instrumental splendor, the search for original timbres ensure that in his works Gioacchino expresses his own conception of musical ideas as forms of statuary beauty in their purest vitality. The composer rises above the romantic drama, beyond the psychological characterization, like a sun radiating beauty over the world thanks to the Music that speaks only of itself, always full of sparkling light.
Even the paintings of De Romanis amaze with the beauty of poignant atmospheres, archaeological suggestions, touching colours and deep and widespread shades, landscape compositions and sublime and poetic figurations, such as In the garden of enchantments (1990, triptych), Heroes and myths (1990), Red from the earth and the sky (2000), A life rises from the earth and the sea (2001), Elevation (2002). The viewer can therefore get in touch with his inner world through the paintings, because the artist thinks with images and expresses himself with images, a dreamlike and fairytale world.
In Moses in Egypt, on a book by Andrea Leone Tottola, from the tragedy L'Osiride by Francesco Ringhieri, (debut on March 5, 1818 at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples), Rossini will experience moments of high religiosity, such as De Romanis in the apse of Saint Giuseppe Artigiano’s church in Rome where in 1987 he created two large paintings entitled Old and New Alliance (oil on canvas, 300x315 cm). Blessed by John Paul II, they express the theme of the covenant, making the presbytery a point of reference for the journey of faith and a point of irradiation for a deeper understanding of God's plan for man. In these works, the artist has depicted the fate that hangs over man, using an imaginal abstraction with strong chromatic accents. The symbology, more implicit than explicit, is visionary. It does not describe individual episodes, it is rather a symbolist whole, where there is no interruption between the figures and the context.
On closer inspection Gioacchino's journey as a researcher in music and Agostino’s one as a researcher in painting, springs from an innate sensitivity and a technical and artistic mastery, from the long professional and human experience he had in Italy and abroad, from the joy and sadness that is in existence itself, from perpetual praise to the earth and nature, from turning to absolute beauty, work after work, with results of great poetry.
(Translated by Serena De Romanis).