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Work of art by Maestro Raffaele Ciotola

The HIV-positive artist Ciotola fills the relic of San Gennaro with his own blood.

Art and life intersect more than ever in the latest painting created by Maestro Ciotola: “Relic”; a so strong intertwining that the painting not only represents but becomes a real reliquary, containing the artist's own blood (HIV-positive) used as pigment. Ciotola's daring decision to identify his blood with that of St. Gennaro was not made out of presumption, but because the Saint himself has always identified with his people. And as a native son of the Neapolitan people who has been living away from his homeland for years, Raffaele Ciotola feels the need to rediscover that blood bond that connects him to his people, who are one with the Saint. A gesture of entrustment, placing his own blood in front of San Gennaro, his own life with its history as well as its memories, its sorrows, its joys, but above all its hopes for the future.

The artist Raffaele Ciotola was born in Naples on the 17th of October 1964. His loving and receptive  family promoted his studies and supported supporting his artistic  nature. He obtained the Artistic High School School graduation and got  the Master of Arts degree at the state institute of Arts "Filippo Palizzi" in  Naples in 1983. Since he was a boy he has been devoting his life to  painting in a professional manner; after his debut in 1980 at an  exhibition in his hometown, he kept on taking part in other collective  and personal exhibitions set up in several Italian cities until 2002  (Piano di Sorrento, St. Anne in Naples, Milano, Viterbo, Milan). He was  awarded the gold medal at the National Biennial of Sacred Art in Torre  del Greco in 1980 by prof. Mr Franco Girosi, a famous Neaolitan artist  of the last century. It was foundamental for his training, the meetings  with prof. Mr Franco Girosi and with Mr Luigi Signore, an artist known  as one of the best sculptors of cribs in Italy today.
He studied music  and attended the voice class at the Conservatory of Naples, but the  meeting he had in Rome in 1987 with Master Mr Renato Guelfi, opera  singer and painter, was so crucial to his professional growth that he  started performing as a singer in some Italian theatres (Lecce, Santa  Maria di Leuca, Ronciglione, Villa Pignatelli in Naples). He got to  obtained some rewards such as: the gold medal in "La Triade" Prize,  Palazzo Sormani - Sala del Grechetto - Milano; the diploma of honor at  St. Anastasia, Naples. His personal exhibition in Tuscia dates back to  2002 , in this occasion he exhibited for the first time at the Sala  Anselmi in Viterbo. His painting style and production are  characterized by an intense use of colours and by the chiaroscuro  effects conveying a whole creative freedom and a boundless vital energy,  without hiding any strong and eloquent emotion, leaving the viewer a  hope, a light , the one that leads beyond any solitude and that blurs  roles and social conventions.
In fact, from the late 90s, his work is  more focused on topical issues and feels the effect of his civil  commitment against homophobia and discriminatory behaviors, so it became  a vehicle to spread some nonconformist messages, even inspired by  universal ethical values. In 2003 he created the artistic movement  called "Stop Homoph Art" which aims to spread the culture of respect and  fight against homophobia. From this battle, "The Madonna of the  homosexuals" came to life, it became the emblematic work of his  production and will be exhibited for the first time in the foyer of the  Mercadante Theater in Naples on the 18th of October 2014.
So his  landscapes and his dreamlike hermetic metaphysical views of the first  period, they have been gradually replaced by works full of reflection  and judgment which are well received by public and by critics,  attracting the attention of Mr Jean-Louis Cougnon, Chief Excecutive at  General Managment of European Parliament.

* In 2018 he created a second art movement '' Rock Art Ciotola ''. It aims to beautify famous people from all over the world in a Rock style, with respect and without making fun of them. The style is to tattoo them especially from the shoulders towards the end of the neck to elevate their appearance to the highest aesthetic levels.

* The work of art "Italy against racism" dedicated to the fight against "racism" which was appreciated by correspondence by the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella.

* '' San Bonaventura da Bagnoregio '' the work is exhibited in the Co-Cathedral of Saints Nicola, Donato and Bonaventura - Bagnoregio - Viterbo.

* The work of art '' Our Lady of Fátima '' is OFFICIALLY part of the Fátima Museum COLLECTION.

* Catalog of the international artists of Tuscia - Viterbo - Italy.

* Book '' Raffaele Ciotola and his vitalism '' Ediz. Mondadori, Feltrinelli, IBS, University bookstore.


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