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Paper 45 x 39 in. / 114 x 99 cm
Image 34.4 x 25.4 in. / 87.5 x 64.5 cm
Etching with aquatint in 7 colors printed on Fabriano Rosaspina paper. Edition of 55. Signed by the artist lower center in pencil; numbered lower left in pencil. Printed by Vigna Antoniniana, Rome, Italy. Published by 2RC Edizioni d’Arte, Rome, Italy.
This large Francesco Clemente etching features a turquoise ocean stretching towards the viewer in the lower two-thirds of the composition. Seashells in shades of green ornament either side, and at the base of the image, a large clamshell references Sandro Boticelli’s famed painting “Birth of Venus”, in which the Roman goddess of love emerges golden-haired and nude from the ocean in a large shell. At the farthest end of the ocean, a couple glows in an erotic embrace. Above them, verdant mountains are topped by pale blue sky. Crowding the sky are neon pink and blue airplanes, some of which capsize and explode. These aircrafts subtly reference the gender of the child which may result from the couple’s union. Neon pink bleeds from the collisions, perhaps a tongue-in-cheek reference to the eternal “war of the sexes”.
Clemente is interested in spirituality, the metaphysical, and the nature of the self. His work often explores these ideas through erotic and mystical imagery, such as in Conception. His lyrical approach to image-making and characteristic love of color is exemplified in this large, colorful, mythical landscape.
A prodigious producer of paintings, drawing, and prints, Clemente frequently depicts the nude human form, including intimate self-portraits and couples in erotic embrace. Clemente’s visual language combines art-historical reference and ancient mythology with images of nature, imbuing figurative scenes with a dreamy spirituality. Sex, violence, death and birth provide equal inspiration for Clemente’s nomadic soul-searching.
Two small marks on the upper left of sheet as pictured, with some natural aging of the paper tone.