Contemporary realism - Cesar Santos
Cesar Santos, “Special Period,” 2023, oil on linen, 200 x 142 cm

On the work of Cesar Santos, who is inspired by the Old Masters, from the London gallery Robilant+Voena:

Moving beyond the representational portraiture that has been the core of his oeuvre until recently, the works in this exhibition demonstrate Santos’s personal spirit unleashed through his creations. The paintings and drawings appear simultaneously familiar, evoking the aesthetics of the Old Masters, and unrecognizable, comprised of intangible forms that appear to shift and coalesce throughout each composition.

In the artist’s own words: “The materiality of the paint and the canvas becomes an eco-system of relationships, representing colors, space, and solidity with their potentiality in motion. I make new objects communicate in their environment, becoming stories of the visual system with open possibilities.”

Santos’ inspirations are drawn from the more awkward or subversive corners of art history, such as Old Masters who were the eccentrics of their era, such as Giuseppe Arcimboldo, or those whose style was at odds with conventional beauty, such as El Greco or Francisco Goya. Further, his paintings take influence from the fleshy forms of Peter Paul Rubens and the expressive grandeur of Michelangelo and Raphael.

Alongside his European Old Master models, in these artworks, the artist incorporates elements from the cultures of his native Cuba, and the United States, infused with his own interest in psychology. Santos synthesizes these diverse experiences with a rigorous understanding of design, color, and the structure of his materials, giving birth to his art.

EXHIBITION > Cesar Santos: InFormal
Through October 27, 2023
Robilant+Voena, Milan

How to paint like the Old Masters

Cesar Santos has a variety of art video workshops available through, including:

  • Secrets of Portrait Painting (in English and Spanish)
  • Secrets of Figure Painting
  • Secrets of Figure Drawing

Let Cesar Santos teach you how to paint like the Old Masters: Start here


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