Roberto Bernardi


Roberto Bernardi was born in 1974 in Todi, a former Estruscan town in the Italian region of Umbria. At a very early age he occupied himself with painting and made canvases in oil.

During his secondary school days, his interest manifested itself more and more and as an adolescent he began an exhaustive study of the old painting techniques of the Italian Renaissance masters and of the traditional painting materials and methods.

After he finished his secondary education in 1993, he left for Rome, where he became a restorer of paintings in the Franciscan church San Francesco a Ripa, a 17th-century church in Trastevere, one of the oldest districts of Rome. Proceeding from this position, he started to work as an autonomous painter in 1994, painting landscapes and portraits.

Soon he developed a great appreciation for contemporary still lifes in a hyper-realistic style, closely resembling photorealism. This style first developed in the United States in the 1960s as a fierce reaction to abstract expressionism, an extremely personal and subjective style of painting that had been widely popular since World War II.

With his knowledge of painting techniques, Roberto Bernardi manages to achieve extraordinary control over the representation of reality. He displays a preference for everyday scenes and trivial materials. The appearance of a draining board in the kitchen stacked with pans and dishes or a display of brightly coloured lollipops, wrapped in cellophane, may be the subject matter of his still lifes. At the same time he applies the traditional painting techniques that were used as early as in the 16th and 17th century and also chooses classical compositions for his objects. Patches of light and reflections on materials such as plastic, glass and chrome are no small part of his arrangement. Moreover, in the placing of the often bright and artificial colours of the sweets, he not only proves himself to be a painter who has mastered the oil paint technique, but also demonstrates an exceptional understanding of composition.

Roberto Bernardi’s choice of everyday, cheap and often trivial objects corresponds with pop art. In the art world he is indeed considered a member of the third generation of painters continuing in this movement which was launched in the 1960s.