Abstract Goa and Ladakh appear in Italian expressionist Francesca’s paintings

Renowned Italian painter Francesca Amalia Grimaldi is flanked by Italian Ambassador in India Vincenzo De Luca (to her right) and art historian Aman Nath (of Neemrana Hotels), who jointly inaugurated her February 23-27 'Metamorphosis' art show at LTC, Bikaner House in Delhi. Others, from left, curator Uma Nair, Sanjeev Bhargava of cultural organisation Seher, the artist's husband Sergio Ledda and Piyali Dasgupta, Programme Director of Bikaner House.

The soothing breeze at twilight hours along the tropical Goa beaches tugged at the sensibility of Francesca Amalia Grimaldi like a thin layer of fine silk, triggering spontaneous creativity in the Italian painter. That inspired her to wield her brush on the canvas with distinctive imagery, even as the images carried flashbacks to her formative years on the seafronts of her Mediterranean country.

An exhibition, which is now on in the Indian capital, features ‘Goa Beach’ among 32 select paintings of the European artist. The five-day event, named ‘Metamorphosis’ and displaying some of Francesca’s most recent mixed-media works, will be for public view till February 27 at LTC, Bikaner House. The show is organised by Masha Art, a prominent art investment firm with a portfolio of over 5,000 contemporary paintings and sculptures.

Francesca Amalia Grimaldi, Goa Beach, Mixed media on canvas, 122cm x 152.5cm, 2023

The show, curated by scholar-author Uma Nair, was inaugurated by Italian Ambassador to India Vincenzo De Luca and art historian Aman Nath, who is founder of Neemrana Hotels. The exhibition is open from 11 am to 7 pm.

“For me the sea is like a colourful, graded symphony. It reflects layers in harmony through nostalgic melodies,” says Francesca, who grew up in Sardinia as well as Sicily, and did landscapes till end of the last decade. She is also a trained geologist.

The predominantly blue ‘Goa Beach’ (2023), measuring 122cm x 152.5cm on the canvas, is an impressionist landscape that suggests the artist’s preference for solitude. The seashore tourist spot in southwest India is where Francesca returns “again and again”. They lend her creations a meditative signature, which comes clear in ‘Metamorphosis’.

Francesca Amalia Grimaldi, Ladakh Mountain, Diptych, Mixed media on canvas, 91.5cm x 122cm, 2023

Curator Uma Nair notes that Francesca’s choice of ‘thin layers as colours’ enables her to translate the atmospherics onto the canvas. “For the artist, though, this virtuosity is not the goal. It’s almost a by-product of the dulcet shades and nuances she adopts to create the mood,” she says, adding: “This mastery is evident in her abstract study ‘Under the Sea’ and a diptych named 'For War’.”

The harmony in the hues has also to do with the visual artist’s love for music. “I was drawn to classical composers…right from my childhood,” recalls Francesca, whose father was a violinist-pianist. “Now when I paint I listen to masters,” she reveals, reeling out names of Sergei Rachmaninoff, Pyotr Tchaikovsky and, of course, W.A. Mozart, besides certain jazz virtuosos.

Renowned Italian painter Francesca Amalia Grimaldi and curator Uma Nair at the inaugural evening of their February 23-27 'Metamorphosis' art show at LTC, Bikaner House in Delhi.

Within her odyssey in blue at ‘Metamorphosis’ is Francesca’s ‘Ladak Mountain’, a diptych casting morning light over the frozen lakes of India’s highest plateau amid the morning mist. More recently, she explored the new frontiers of abstraction. This evolution is the result of a personal research in the field of contemporary expressionist painting, influenced by her extensive travels in Europe, Australia and America.
When it comes to ‘For War’ and ‘The Sound’, they are a pair of canvases steeped in abstract expressionism.

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