Paolo Staccioli

"Staccioli's ambition is extremely significant: that of pursuing an ancient world, the dream of antiquity, and of fragments of a civilisation which he intends to reconstruct by means of the indications of pictorial and plastic dremas." - Gian Carlo Bojani
Staccioli began painting as a teenager, and held his first solo exhibition in 1973. He worked in ceramics and terracotta bas-reliefs at the end of the 1980's, experimenting with glazes and oxygen-reduction firing and moved on to lustres, employing clays oxides and salts, under the guidance of the master-craftsman Umberto Santandrea from Faenza. Staccioli eventually gave up painting altogether to focus on ceramic based artwork, transferring his subjects to vases and other ceramic objects. During the 1990's, he began to experiment with plastic, producing interesting results.

To inaugurate the Museum Park of Poggio Valicaia in 2000, Staccioli moulded a large horse ridden by a winged putto. He continues to work in his studio at Scandicci and Montelupo, moulding figures of warriors, travellers on carts and boats, and, most recently, Cardinals. His new figures are painted with lustres on ceramic objects, and vases.

Staccioli is inspired by the Old Masters and seeks to create a link between the ancient and traditional, and his unique forms of expression. Though not formally trained in art, his natural skill and extraordinary imagination makes him an outstanding self-taught painter, sculptor, and ceramist. For example, Staccioli includes classical fragments from Paolo Uccello's "La Bottiglia of San Romano" or objects from his childhood in his newly-constructed visual language, creating dream-like spaces and compositions.

This technical curiosity combined with creative vitality has led Staccioli to explore the expressive potential of ceramics, with its innate material malleability. He begins a piece by working with fragments rather than full forms, then deconstructs, moulds, cuts and rearranges the fragments into shapes and spaces which reflect the imaginary forms that emerge from his soul and are completed by his treatment of the brush to give them even more dimension.

Staccioli's decisive strokes and delicate contrasts between opaque and bright tones define his "pulcinelle" (small hens), horses, dolls, or cherubini. He is able to create shadings which allow light to enter the dull material and create delicate effects of depth and atmosphere. The figures that appear to emerge from fantasy worlds which populate his sculptures are created by high relief, bas-relief, or paint. The liberal expressiveness of these figures is always a delight and surprise, even when they appear repeatedly on his works, and express a serene solitude without reference to divinities or mythology.

Horses are a subject that Staccioli particularly loves, and are represented as virtual and immortal survivors of a battle, rising as tormented giants with bellies swollen from the strain. He poses his horses on a vertical axis in all his works, emphasizing the sense of upward movement that creates a sensation of relief and liberation.