Alberto Manfredi's etchings - 2000, Nicola Arnoldo Manfredi

From the very beginning Alberto Manfredi has used intaglio engraving as an artistic language that is not subordinate but complementary to the pictorial one.

His prints are intended not as minor art, but as a black and white translation of the iconographies and stylistic features of his painting.

For Manfredi, however, engraving is essentially drawing, a synthesis by harmonically organized lines of the chromatic and volumetric values of the painting. If in the female figures and in the landscapes with houses, straight signs prevail that articulate the space of the matrix in an order of angular geometric modules, in the faces - often portrayed - the lines take on circular or elliptical trends converging to the optical center of the image.

Manfredi consciously assimilated the rules of classical and Renaissance harmony and adopted them in style, filtering them through the impressionist lesson - which often resurfaces in the softer and more curvilinear signs - and then the cubist and expressionist one.

Hence the sense of compositional harmony that persists in his engravings, despite the distorted perspectives, the squashed volumes, the optical deformations, the alphabetic inserts and numbers apparently incongruous with respect to the scene.

Favorite technique, etching by unique engraving, which does not allow fakes and errors in the drawing. Drypoint, the other favorite technique, used individually, has sometimes been folded to liven up the regularity of the etched signs with a more suffused black. Manfredi does not like pictorial cuisine provided by aquatint or soft wax.

With this distilled and sober etching language, the iteration, through infinite variations on the theme, of female figures, landscapes, portraits and self-portraits, of animals, generates, in Manfredi's engravings, the sublimation of the represented object and creates the topoi of the art of this one among the last great peintre-graveur of the last century.