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Melty Oil Paintings Capture the Dramatic Beauty of New York City

An Italian artist uses his classical training to bring heart and warmth to stone-faced cement cities.

by Diana Shi
Sep 10 2016, 11:45am

Empire State Building at Sunset. Al images courtesy the artist and Barbara Frigerio Gallery, Milano

Thick strokes of oil paint mingle with the occasional burst of twilight color, turning New York City, Chicago and other major urban cities into gauzy, timelapse visions. The painterly series by Italian artist Valerio D’Ospina depicts overcrowded locales with a moody romance tempered with the desolation of navigating a big city alone. Each painting is an honest depiction of an ever-growing metropolis whose expansive grid system and cluttered airspace are both tranquil and things of ravishing beauty. Each painting is noticeably devoid of human life, save for a few moving vehicles, resulting in tableaus of an objective yet poetic city system. 

Looking South

Manhattan Study

Chicago from Above

D’Ospina frequently foregoes colors to construct visions that emit not the hum of human energy, but the whistle instead of a breeze passing between skyscrapers. He brings a wealth of experience to his artwork, having studied at the respected Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, where he established a strong hold on the technical painting skills of the Old Masters, and eventually went on to pursue a teaching degree at the same institute. D’Ospina has also spent time flexing his professorial skills at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and working in an antique-painting restoration shop in his native Italy.

Via the Barbara Grigerio gallery, the artist shares his method of using “brush strokes, fast and dynamic, [to] rewrite the profiles of buildings, skyscrapers, emphasizing the verticality.”

D’Ospina displays his adept hand by portraying most of his cities from the aerial perspective and treating his subjects like the architectural stunners they really are. The artist says he focuses on portraying “ 'a city monument,' often New York, which looms [over] man but that he himself wants to dominate [by] embracing it with his eyes, but he remains distant, impassive and inscrutable.”

Black Out in Manhattan

Snow Over Manhattan

To see more from Valerio D'Ospina—including more works from his international cityscapes series—click here.

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