Raffaele De Rosa is a well-read painter. Far removed from any gratuitous search for effect, the artists dreams emerge softly or irrepressibly from the picture. They deceive time and confuse past and future. The cities painted could be the old villages ofLunigiana but the architecture does not always appear to adhere to Euclidean geometry. Fantasy figures, clearly defined or blurred characters and alien animals move around his landscapes and seem to stem as much from ancient myths as future reality. As Pietro Clemente wrote, “De Rosas painting is not narration but illustration and, as such, more ambiguous and open. Illustration is evocation and setting, the creation of scenarios in which to guide the narrative imagery. It is a point of connection, with no obligation of sequential continuity, between the non-iconic imagery of internalised stories and the world of the vision into which they can be translated”. Raffaele De Rosa evades reality to invent another, replacing the routine objective with a theatrical creation of his own. He pursues the thread of memory, readings, legends, myth and history. In this way he creates an alternative world devoid of the perversions of reality, where everything, including the fantastic, is filled with meaning and significance, based on a parallel but sensible geometry. The Orient and the West coexist in his pictures with a very modern and European taste for synthesis, as well as an attraction to arabesque and decoration. Gothic architecture is combined with lights of anti-naturalistic origin; the drama and the joys of thought all find a place amid the spires and inaccessible and unfathomable heights. De Rosas is a fantastic “cartography” in which reality is indistinguishable from the impossible and in which what we deem imaginary may instead belong to the real world. His pictures are the photo-frames of a single story in which the iconography is often a pretext by which to turn story into legend so that the story can be traced via the myth. In fact, it is the archetype that speaks in his “fairytales” – everything that is original, generations of collective experiences and the “real name” of things in the world.
by Chiara Filippini