Some artists are a slave to their tradition, some others revive their tradition by moving on.
Cianfanelli, a fifty years old Florentine physician and painter, is right on the edge: artistically he is faithful to the memory of his father Folco who has been an excellent painter and etcher. From his father he inherited his gist: the intense yet fresh Tuscan character, the long and tough experience as an etcher, the authentic taste for the scene as an open space and for the objects which are part of it , the landscape as the image of the soul.
For his part, Filippo adds an outstanding capacity for drawing - a mixture of neatness and sinuosity - that has been with him since his childhood, a refined sense of composition that transforms each painting into an implied chessboard where everything lies in harmony, well balanced and neatly placed. His chromatism is now extensive and hazy as clouds of color - his crowns of leaves - now skillfully elaborated on his timeless magenta background which on occasion sparkles and changes in uncommon glows or in soft glazing. Those who look at his painting will immediately face that “ineludible sense of proportion and connection” which Emilio Cecchi used to find in every Florentine handicraft work, especially of art.
What has been said so far generates a calm, unstrained, neat and never self-referential painting, glad to depict “its” universe which never refers to any need or narrative instance. It simply shows the painter’s world, so familiar, lyrical and neat, caught in the less exposed moments of the day. The world displayed by the art which believes in the most intimate force of poetry.
Cianfanelli is above all a landscape painter. In his dimension what is close - the neat and bare dry-stone walls - and what is far - the water and the horizon - melt in a unique balance. In his beautiful still-lifes he expresses an evocative neatness close to the Nordic style but softened by the Mediterranean light. The magic of his drawing finds his excellence in depicting animals, mainly horses.
Filippo Cianfanelli, a true painter, also owns and offers us, among other things, a calm charm, a serene happiness of being which is uncommon to find in today’s crowdy and confused painting world.
Filippo Cianfanelli knows that his painting is rightfully his, as he has inherited its expression from his father, Folco, who himself "was an untroubled artist capable of depicting the most lovely aspects of life and creation"and of telling his people" by the means of simple yet evocative words the emotion and amazement he feels confronted with miracle of nature...", as Armando Nocentini wrote about him many years ago.
One evening, when a few friends and I invaded is studio, I sketched his portrait, somewhat in caricature, which I remember very clearly: bold at the temples, with moustache and a short beard, standing in front of the easel, painting his world. And today after 25 years, I see him again, through his contryside; the same places, I believe, where he used to accompany his father, equipped with palette and paintbrushes, and rejoice at the refreshed images laid down on the canvas where Folco reflected his realism; that very special Tuscan realism which is so capable of making poetry vibrate and the imagination soar: either before a Florence which emerges out of its details to open into a wide yet essential vision under and around Brunelleschi's cupola; or along the streams where elm trees cast their shadows on the banks, following the water's course. Wandering lost in his own thoughts berween the plains and the hills, from colour to colour, over the bluish outline of the mountains, in an atmosphere which helps recall memories as witness that they themselves are the paradise from which nobody can be chased, as Jean Paul has written.
In the painting of filippo Cianfanelli these thoughts live in remarkable harmony with the images and float gently down from clear skies to the hills and frolick there in suggestive perspectives. And it does not matter if the themes are the same as those handed down from the wise Folco, which the eye of Filippo used to study very attntively in order to soak up their intrinsic value and to treasure for ever their precious teaching.
This exhibition has many references to events which in Cianfanelli's life have been of historical importance, milestones along a difficult route littered with challenges to its lovers, either trying to make them fall in love with the past or entrancing them with te new, which is varely and vaguenly intuitable through the thick veil separating us from the future. Or else, more simply, to persuade them to repeat the old story that art is not compatible with a professional carrer. And it is that old story that Filippo Cianfanelli has clearly lived.
In spite of the many preambles, this exhibition, truly a debut, is easy and agreeable to understand, and the problems which may exist stealthily behind those very familiar and seducing images evoking paradise-memories always eager to exalt our imagination and our conscience as well.