There are few contemporary artists that a display their knowledge and mastery of Classical art as effortlessly as the late Giuseppe Armani, born in Calci, Italy, in 1935. The piece we will examine today is entitled Ares. Naturally it is in dedication to the Greek god, Ares, who was the great Olympian god of war, battlelust, civil order and manly courage. In Greek art he was depicted as either a mature, bearded warrior dressed in battle arms, or a nude beardless youth with helm and spear. Because of his lack of distinctive attributes he is often difficult to identify in classical art. Yet it is clear where Armani’s inspiration for this piece was drawn from. Placing the original sculpture of Ares, currently stored in the Museum Villa, in relation to a few of DaVinci’s sketches for a funeral monument one can see Armani’s mind at work— appropriating the Masters.
The composition of this piece creates a powerful trajectory that is artfully balanced with delicate detail and striking innovation.The originality of the headdress Armani places on the crown of Ares speaks volumes to the Master’s understanding of his illustrative hand in relation to the frame of history. As the gaping mouth of the angry animal centered within it screams battle lust. The anatomy of the horse carrying the Greek god is beautifully rendered and corresponds more with DaVinci’s Renaissance sketches than with reality. Upon dissection you can see the similarities mostly in the bunching muscle of the joints and rearing stance DaVinci quickly jotted down while planning the funeral monument for Gian Giacomo Trivulzio. This still manages to be captivating , even to an eye accustomed to natural renderings, and of course is balanced by the neo-classical depiction of Ares’ anatomy. Meaning that a more primitive and stylized rendering of animal is counteracted by a consummate depiction of the human form.
Armani creates a sculpture that freezes a archetype of antiquity in a powerful split-second pose before striking. The momentum portrayed in this piece exists in accordance with serene vegetation craftily built into the composition along with the pacifying and neutral color of bone. How could one pay better homage to such a timeless figure? Check this piece out at TheCollectionShop.com as soon as you get the chance!
Review Written by James Sprang