Romans, goddesses & cats–Vincent Arcilesi’s mix of modern life & myth

Immersion in Ancient Rome happened easily for Fine Arts professor Vincent Arcilesi while on sabbatical in Rome in 2009.  His paintings of contemporary Romans wandering about the empire, seem to suggest a total accessibility to the ancient world.  His series “Arcilesi in Rome,” work he did while on sabbatical, will be on display at the   from May 2 to May 30.  The opening reception will be held on May 2nd from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“I stayed in the historic center. The parliament was a block away,” says Arcilesi. “Lawyers and politicians were walking around, conducting business in these ancient buildings.  It’s not just a tourist place, contemporary life goes on. But there’s a new Rome as well that’s built outside the historic center.” 

“Bernini in the Roman Forum I” 20″ x 16″. Oil, 2013 by Vincent Archilesi

“Bernini in the Roman Forum I” is one of Arcilesi’s seven new paintings, many which show a commingling of ancient and contemporary figures.  They will be on display along with eleven drawings named for Roman goddesses.

Playful, anachronistic elements provide scale and humor in Arcilesi’s paintings. There are women on horseback appearing less like conquerors than tourists. In another there’s a tiny Dachshund facing the opposite direction of an imposing  Roman emperor on horseback in Piazza del Campidoglio. In another, four lazy cats appear nonplussed beside ancient nudes and a distressed goddess.

“Dreamer and Her Dream,” by Vincent Arcilesi

Vincent Arcilesi’s daughter, Francesca Arcilesi, runs the Arcilesi-Homberg Fine Art with Norma Homberg. The two recently made the transition from running a pop-up gallery to their current gallery, located at 111 Front Street in Brooklyn.  Hours are: Wednesday through Sunday 12 noon to 6 p.m. 

Photo by: Steven Tucker

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