Riccardo Clementi personifies the tall, dark, handsome and dashing artist one would imagine he would be after viewing his Old World like romantic paintings. Born 1945 in Rome, Italy, he was educated at the Scuola Statale Per Alimentazione (a technical college) and from 1971 to 1973 the Scuola Artista Di Via Repette (a visual arts college).
In 1986, after visiting friends in Seattle, Washington, Riccardo decided to emigrate to the U.S. and live in Seattle. Although he loved Italy, he found the country so sunny and too tempting to play outdoors, where as in Seattle, he could remain inside during the many rainy days and accomplish so much more painting. Because Riccardo did not speak English, he took a job as a cook in an Italian restaurant to be around people in order to learn English.
Riccardo paints from his imagination and memory of his life growing up in Italy. His paintings depict a charming world of tiled roofed villas tucked in the lush countrysides and villages of Italy with vast vistas and views of the ocean, rolling hills, vines and bougainvillaea as seen through the windows of Riccardo’s world, whether the fields of Tuscany or the waterway outside of Florence. Immersed in the atmosphere of his Italian heritage, Riccardo’s paintings are filled with rich, enticing colors of emerald greens, Mediterranean blues, warm browns and touches of reds and yellows found in the gardens that flow through his paintings. It is a treat to watch Riccardo paint, surrounded by clay pots of many brushes, holding three brushes between each of the fingers on one hand while painting with a brush in the other dipping it into pots of thick bright paint.
“Every kind of painting is magical because with very simple elements like brush and color one can create something beautiful. In some mysterious way a painting in general is magical. Many people ask me why my paintings have so much sky. Sky, for me, is freedom. It is the only element that you cannot manipulate. You can shape a building, you can possibly cut or shape a tree to exactly how you want it, but not the sky. The sky is freedom. I like to paint the Cypress tree because like the culture in Italy, it is simple and spiritual and so tall coming up to touch the sky of God. Most of the time I like to open a window where you possibly see something that normally you cannot see, something that is a total creation, something that is purity in the world. Because in my painting I call for everything pure in the world, a window of purity in the world, a trompe l’oeil or the illusion through spatial qualities of all that is pure in the world.”
While still living in Rome, Riccardo had many solo exhibits at galleries such as Terra Fuoco Gallery, Palazzo Brancaccio, Palazzo Delle Esposizioni De Rome, Palazzo Barberini, and Ostia Anticia Gallery and obtained many mural commissions.
From 1992 to the present, Riccardo has had exhibits in Seattle galleries such as Nelson, Poncho, Lisa Harris, Amore, and the Underground Gallery in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Riccardo’s unique paintings draw us into a world that fills our imagination with what Italy was in the more romantic times of the past. One can almost step into his villas and experience the atnmosphere of antiquity. A certain mysterious quality found in Riccardo’s work intrigues us and lures us into the windows of his world.