Carlo Maria Mariani

(b. 1931)

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(1931– )

Italian painter associated with Pittura Colta. His paintings refer to the history of his native city of Rome and look back at the classical tradition, although with an eye to the contemporary situation. This stemmed from Mariani's activities in the 1970s as a Conceptual artist. As such, he ‘completed’ some works for Angelica Kauffmann (1741–1807), a painter who worked in the Neoclassical style which Mariani subsequently adopted. The issue is how far such work could be produced in the late 20th century without irony. Certainly some of Mariani's paintings suggest that the past they represent is irretrievably lost. It is Forbidden to Awaken the Gods (1984) shows two artists with the physiques of Greek gods lying asleep among fragments of giant antique statues. Mariani's paintings attracted critical attention at a time of intense debates about Postmodernism and especially about the role of revivalism. Charles Jencks (see Postmodernism), although primarily concerned with architecture and design, illustrated Mariani's paintings as exemplary of the way in which a sense of history could restore the meaning which had been drained from culture by modernist purity.

Subjects: Art.

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