Impossible Venice
Polaris Venice - Impossible Venice

Ludovico De Luigi

Ludovico De Luigi - Paintings


Ludovico De Luigi was born in Venice on 11th November 1933 into an artistic family which goes back a long way. His father was the famous spatial painter Mario De Luigi. From 1950 Ludovico undertook a series of journeys with stays in Turin, Rome, France and the United States. Apart from art, one of his main interests is entomology. In 1959 his passion for the Venetian Vedutists (View 'painters) caused him to frequent the Gallery of Palazzo Corsini in Rome assiduously where, after studying for a long time, he mastered the pictorial technique of Canaletto, so much so, as to be able to imitate him convincingly. This Roman mansion became his gymnasium where he studied the emotions, expressions, sentiments, inklings of the soul which pushed his predecessors to the fulfilment of immortal masterpieces.

The first exhibitions began in 1965 with his one-man show at the Gallery 'Il Canale' in Venice. Two large works, views of a decaying and monumental Venice invaded by waves of insects and other fantastical beings, were very well received by the critics but it was thanks to the meeting with the gallery owner, Luciano Ravagnan, in 1968 that his exhibition activity increased successfully in Venice, in Italy and abroad. There were exhibitions in Trieste, Milan, New York, Munich, MonteCarlo, Paris and, from 1975, in many German cities.

Alongside the line of Vedutism and entomology, he became the pictorial prophet of the threats which menace Venice : flood water, pollution, technology, and consumerism of the city. Venice is represented in surreal visions, catastrophic, sensual or decadent, thanks to a meticulous oil technique to which an absolutely original use of the 'electronic brush' of the computer is added later.

In 1978 he held his first important performance, 'Colleoni Surf' in the theatre of Palazzo Grassi; in 1979 he held a series of exhibitions in Spain; in 1981 he exhibited in Mexico and then in Brazil where he obtained success thanks to the strength of his subjects and the ability of his gallery owner; in 1984 there was the exhibition at the pavilion of the Palazzo dei Diamanti in the Massari Park in Ferrara.
In 1986 he participated in the 42nd Biennale of Art in Venice, entitled 'Art and Science' with his 'Teatrum Filosoficum', a gigantic stereoscope created on canvas with one of the first electronic image plotters (the Scanamural 3M).

The desecrating ways of De Luigi's painting are also part of his passionate and adventurous life, and of his Venetian performances, some amusing and playful so as to set up a '700s carnival climate, others veined with polemics regarding the defects of the town and those administering it. Among these, the project for a Statue of Liberty in papier-mache' to be placed in St. Mark's Bay (1986) and the scandal of Cicciolina (1987). In the '80s De Luigi carried out some sculptures, creating enormous bronze horses inspired by the famous quadriga of St. Mark's as an alternative to the ugly copies now placed on the frontispiece of the cathedral.

De Luigi's horses are now in the squares of Marseille, St. Louis, Chicago, Denver, Perth and Bolzano. For the Venice carnival of 1990 he created a huge chocolate horse of the same dimensions. In 1999 he was inspired to make an enormous one in glass, created in the furnaces on Murano.
In his career De Luigi has formed congenial relationships, often transformed into fond friendship, with various notable personalities, including Peggy Guggenheim, Federico Fellini, Oscar Niemeyer, Stanley Kubrik, Laurence Olivier, Richard Burton, David Bowie, etc.