Francesco Clemente (1985)
About this artwork
Francesco Clemente is an Italian painter born in Naples in 1952. At the time this photograph was taken, he lived part of the time in New York, Rome and Madras. Clemente came to the fore internationally in the late 1970s and 1980s, when expressive, figurative painting became popular again. Here, Mapplethorpe has photographed Clemente standing in front of one of his own paintings. With arms outstretched and head set against a halo-like form in his painting, Clemente looks like his namesake, Saint Francis (Francesco) of Assisi, receiving the stigmata (the marks corresponding to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus).
- title: Francesco Clemente
- accession number: AR00152
- artist: Robert MapplethorpeAmerican (1946 - 1989)
- gallery: In Storage
- object type: Photograph
- subject: Religious
- medium: Gelatine silver print
- date created: 1985
- measurements: 37.40 x 37.30 cm (framed: 50.80 x 40.60 cm)
- credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
- copyright: © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation
- photographer: Antonia Reeve
The American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe became famous, not to say, notorious, in the 1970s and 1980s for his photographs of the male nude and sexually explicit, gay imagery. Although often considered controversial, Mapplethorpe tested the right to individual freedom of expression. These images were not meant to be titillating or obscene but beautiful in a traditionally classical way. His work, therefore, holds a significant place in the history of artistic struggle to depict the world as it is, with honesty and truth. His nudes, when considered alongside his portraits of children and flower photographs, show him to be overwhelmingly interested in the beauty and transience of life. Mapplethorpe, even when facing death from AIDS, affirmed the beauty of the here and now.