This month we are delighted to show “CONVOLVULUS PURPURENS”, a work by the artist Massimo Pulini, b. 1958.

By Massimo Pulini, b. 1958
Enamel, radiography and mixed media on panel
150 x 120 cm


Diacromie & Dialogues R. Pittelli, The Italian Institute of Culture, with an introduction by Sir Denis Mahon, London, 2006 ;
Solve et Coagula, G. Papi, 2003 ;
Il Museo Sonnambulo, L. Fornari Schianchi, 1999 ;
Tempestas de Memoriae Ruinis, Claudio Strinati – Maurizio Calvesi, 1997 ;
Nero d’Avorio, Sabrina Foschini, 1992 ;
Massimo Pulini, P. Portoghesi, 1989 ;
Massimo Pulini, I. Tomassoni, Perugia 1984

This stunning painting is from Pulini’s radiography series called Phosphenes (FOSFENI), which is based on enamel-coloured works treated with thermos-graphic applications, a technical process to determine temperature degrees within an object or body, which he then translates on a chromatic scale.

The boldly coloured areas of paint that Pulini’s brushstrokes leave to settle and coagulate evoke vital temperatures in the reconstruction of human faces and bodies. Here, the head of a woman with a pearl earring emerges from the pictorial magma and formless material to reveal the distinct introspection of a psychological portrait whilst still forming an internal abstracted shape. Pulini created this painting for Tate Britain and it is heavily influenced by his earlier Anachronism conceptual style of superimposing images, which characterized his work throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Convolvulus is a shrub-like, climbing plant, also known as bindweed or morning glory, which produces an abundance of bright, eye-catching flowers with a yellow or golden heart, which open in the morning and fade in the evening.


Massimo Pulini was born in Cesena, Italy on 15 August 1958. He is based in Montiano and Rimini, and teaches at the Bologna Academy of Fine Arts. He is an outstanding contemporary artist (a favourite of Sir Denis Mahon), a great scholar and an authoritative art historian.

He began to exhibit his work in 1975 with his first solo exhibition at the Galleria Comunale d’Arte in Cesena. He has since shown his works in many private and public galleries, including the Palazzo Strozzi; F.I.A.C. at the Grand Palais in Paris in 1982; the Galerie J.P. Lavignes and Vendome Galleries in Paris in 1983. It was in the 1980s that he took part in several key exhibitions curated by eminent critics, which gave rise to his style of painting dubbed Anachronism, in which he superimposed images with textiles and paper, overlapping them, making them interact on a blackboard background or, if painted on canvas, on a dark background from which bright images emerge.

This work culminated in him being selected from a competition to produce a large work to be displayed in a building designed by Philip Johnson in Dallas, USA. This in turn led him to undertake an extensive research and study of the history of art, specifically Baroque art, resulting in increased recognition as an art historian in Italy and Europe, which evolved to him being given solo exhibitions in major Italian, French and British museums, most notably an exhibition of his contemporary work at the Villa Adriana in Tivoli in 1997, and at the Galleria Nazionale in Parma in 1999. In 2002, he received a commission from the Vatican Museums to decorate the vaulted hall of Pope John II’s library with angels holding a coat of arms.

In November 2006, he organized an exhibition of his work together with Sir Denis Mahon at the Italian Institute of Culture in London, at the same time publishing two corresponding catalogues of his oeuvre. Pulini then went on to co-curate several exhibitions with Sir Denis Mahon, including Guercino : Poesia e sentimento nella pittura del Seicento, held at Palazzo Reale in Milan in 2006 and at the Ala Mazzoniana, Grandi Stazioni in Rome in 2007. That year, six of his works were selected by a committee led by Cardinal Betori and chaired by Pope Benedict XVI to illustrate the Liturgical Lectionary that is still used to this day.

For more than thirty years, he has carried out important work into the history of art. He has published numerous articles and books, as well as contributing to plays and novels. Between 2011-2019, he served as a member of Rimini City Council and promoted the Biennale del Disegno, dedicated to the art of classic and contemporary drawing.

Prof. Massimo Pulini lecturing at Musei Capitolini, Rome.


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