P. 11

urge to depict not reality but ourway ofperceiving it. Following this line ofreaso-
ning, the first paintings by a very young Ventrone, which put what was already an
accomplished technique at the service of scientific illustration, portraying cells
enlarged under the microscope, to be added to works on neurology, could, at the
acme of their mimetic accuracy, be construed as agglomerations of colour, just as
the lush flesh framed by the perfectly oval skin of a watermelon painted fifty years
later is no longer the fruit's pulp but i f anything the simple explosion ofthe colour
red on the observer's retina.

So what the visitar encounters is not Ventrone before Ventrone, but Ventrone in
the fullness ofhis artistic maturity after a career spanning almost sixty years. After
revealing undoubted talent at a young age, his first professional experiences in
Rome's pop art scene were examples of classic fig u rative art and took their cue
from the tonal painting that disting u ished the Roman school (his self-portraits are
illuminating in this regard). This phase was followed by experiments with geome-
trie forms, taking him towards informal art and arte programmata - a thorough
apprenticeship full of departures and variations surging on the waves of the diffe-
rent currents in Italian post-war painting. This rich experience enabled him to
strain with increasing confidence fora frosty hy p er-realism, in which the founda-
tions ofpainting (form, light, colour) are placed at the service of a Platonic philo-
sophical concept designed to reveal the world ofprimal ideas.
Herein lies the source of the astonishment elicited by painting that doesn't trick
the eye but the mind, causing a short circuit as we attempt to make sense ofsomet-
hing that in reality doesn't exist - pure abstractions; fruit, vegetables and flowers
that are never quite this perfect, never so effectively lit, never so finely poised on the
verge ofbeing real.

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