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Italian Philosopher Shows Sculptures in Moscow

Federico Severino paints over metal statues, creating a life like effect. Olga Chetina

In a bright room of the Yelena Gromova Gallery, a collection of motionless figures immediately draws the attention of visitors. Some of the most famous sculptures by Federico Severino are on display in this Moscow gallery.

Severino's works can be seen in many churches and cathedrals, both in Italy and elsewhere. One of his most recent works, "Way of the Cross," is at the Pantheon in Rome.

Federico Severino was born in Brescia, Italy in 1953. At the age of 12, he began to study at Domenico Lusetti's studio. Though he decided to graduate with a degree in philosophy, he was still drawn to art and sculpture and continued to refine his artwork.

Now, Severino is famous for his unique style in which he creates astonishing sculptures by combining classic art of the 16th century with modern art. His education in philosophy has a great influence on his works, which explains the many mythological creatures in his art. Severino says his sculptures tell history of Man through symbolism.

His sculptures could be easily mistaken for marble because Severino paints rough metal as bronze with tender and warm colors. Interestingly, Severino never uses models for his sculptures, all his creations are the result of his imagination. This is the reason why the bodies on his sculptures are oblong.  

Severino always pays attention to human wrists and feet, and the mood of the scene can be read by the details of his sculptures' finger muscles. The tension of hands creates a special atmosphere, and the story behind Severino's sculpture becomes clear. There are light brush strokes carved into bronze on some of his sculptures, as if they were paintings and not sculptures at all.

Every bronze figure expresses strong emotions and dark beauty, a feeling of great sadness intertwined with obscure irony. Sometimes, there are noticeable fingerprints on sculptures, which is a ravishing addition to the figures' roughness. Nevertheless, facial expressions on his sculptures are always full of deep emotions. Entwined naked bodies frozen in amazement remind one of Dante's Inferno.

One of Severino's most famous sculptures is "The Minotaur and Ariadne." There are many copies of this sculpture all over the world, and some of them are different from original, but the most accurate is on display in Moscow. This sculpture highlights the vulnerability of women and, despite his menacing appearance, the Minotaur's expression is truly heartbreaking.

All of Federico Saverino's sculptures have something in common that attracts a viewer's attention. Whether it is dark irony on human kind, or grievous scenes, all of his sculptures have special energy. It makes people admire his works of art.

Works by Federico Saverino will be on display until Nov. 25 at the Yelena Gromova Gallery, 23 Savvinskaya Naberezhnaya, Bldg. 1.

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