San Martino and the poor man
Salvatore Mangione, detto Salvo
Oil and paper applied on canvas
Always with a strongly self-celebratory intent, Salvo aspires, in the early seventies, to compete with the great masters of painting, obviously on the basis of a peer comparison. (...) Tracing the evolution of painting over the last seven centuries, by Simone Martini in Cézanne, passing through Stephan Lochner, Cranach, Rembradt and Boucher, Salvo's canvas ideally closed the path as a standard bearer of twentieth-century painting. Typical of that turn of years, even in this canvas the artist plays with the quotation of tradition, loading the iconography, now historicized, with a studied realization awkwardness in an ironic sense, in a sort of artistic tampering with aesthetic values assimilated to the history of style and presented in a renewed form. The model is the "San Martino divides the cloak with a beggar" by El Greco, ostentatiously counterfeited for the recontextualized scene and the replacement of the dark tones of the original with luminous tones and fragrant colors, in a reinterpretation that smacks of almost outrageous re-appropriation of a well-known piece of history of Western figurative culture. The conceptual approach of the painting, starting from the rejection of a consolidated creative practice, is further underlined by the replacement of the face of San Martino with that of the painter's wife dressed in the old fashioned way, in a work that intercepts at the same time ancient painting, pre-Raphaelites, pop art and conceptual art. Seven centuries of art history in fact.