Portraits of animals

Against the painting tradition that wants the human figure as the centre of a portrait, Saverio Polloni make the animal, wild or domestic, the subject of his artwork. His unconventional choice, however, has some precedents in the art history: in XVII century, Fabritius, a Flemish artist, already chose to represent a domestic animal, a chained goldfinch, apparently a simple subject but with a strong emotional intensity. The same intensity we find in Saverio Polloni’s artwork, unleashed by his animals’ eyes with a spark that make them come alive. The artist was born in Milan in 1957 and, following his skills in painting, he graduated in the Fine Art Academy of Brera. He started his career working as a graphic illustrator for international companies as Coca-Cola or Barilla when photography was not used in advertising business yet. When he was forty years old he decided to leave graphic design to devote himself exclusively to his passion: painting. The creation process starts with the study of the animals through several photos: since he wants to represent the animal looking at the observer, the artist reconstructs the animal looking at this and that photos, leaving nothing to chance. Saverio Polloni’s work is strictly scientific that we might think that if the animal stayed in that improbable position, it would be exactly as he paints. The technique, which combines oil and acrylic, is impeccable, representing every detail of the subject portrayed. The first layer of paint is acrylic to continue with oil afterwards. Each single hair is painted individually: this make you thing how much patience this kind of work requires. In order to enhance the portrait type, the artist wants each animal to be hit by artificial light, the same used for photo shooting. The background is usually just a very neutral one, soft tones of colour. The last thing that he paints are the eyes: it is not the typical eye of the animal, but it is an eye with a human like expression who stares at you. The choice to represent the animal in natural size is a further evidence of the skill of the artist and this make he uses different sizes canvas according to the animal he wants to represent.

Galleria d’Arte Portofino presents a selection of works by Saverio Polloni of different sizes. The artist is present in the main private Italian contemporary art collections.

Elena Ruscelloni

“Tiger”, cm. 70×120, oil and acrylic on canvas