Anne Robinson, Karen Saxby
More than forty works trace Julian Schnabel’s artistic career from the 1970s to the present day and provide the chance to admire the paintings and sculptures of a great creative man who is considered an all round American phenomenon. An internationally famous painter, sculptor and film director, Julian Schnabel stands out for his astonishing metaphoric skills and the overwhelming expressive power that comes through his work. Well known for his plate paintings, in reality Schnabel has used an endless number of varied materials and support systems to create his works, including velvet, oil skin, pieces of wood from all over the world, veils, photographs, rugs, tarpaulin and in general any flat surface that inspires his creative processes. Towards the end of the 1980s, Schnabel began using extra-large formats for his work. This magnificence, though at times read by critics as a mere attempt to impress the spectator, in reality was born from a desire by the artist to create a connection with the imposing paintings of the past commissioned by the State or Church, and with the “big paintings” of post war America. This retrospective illustrates his poetic is strongly inspired by Jackson Pollock and Cy Twombly, but also based on the European and Mediterranean tradition in that it evokes the style of the old Italian and Spanish masters – such as El Greco and Tintoretto – and reinterprets literary and cultural references that are ancient and modern, from Homer to Aeschylus, to the art of the great masters such as Giotto, Goya, Antoni Gaudí and Pablo Picasso.