Francesca Leone 'Beyond the Water' (Opera Gallery London)

Francesca Leone 'Beyond the Water' (Opera Gallery London)

Paris, France Friday, September 21, 2012Sunday, October 7, 2012

Paris, France
Friday, September 21, 2012Sunday, October 7, 2012

Francesca Leone 'Beyond the Water'

21st September - 12th October 2012

In September 2012, the first UK exhibition of one of the most distinctive contemporary artists, Italian portrait painter Francesca Leone, will open at Opera Gallery London.

Curated by Director Jean-David Malat, the exhibition will consist of 20 new canvases, highlighting the maturing of the painter’s technique and the virtuosity of her portrait painting.


Francesca LEONE was born in Rome in an artistic milieu: her father Sergio is the famous film director, creator of masterpieces in the world’s film industry (the most renowned probably The Good, the Bad and the Ugly); her mother was the first ballerina at Teatro dell’Opera in Rome. After attending a course in scenography design at Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome, she decided to devote herself to painting. She specialized in painting and graduated with Professor Lino Tardia at Rome University of Fine Arts.

Throughout her career, Leone has focused on the psychological fluctuations of an image, representing emotional states and personal feelings. Her cinematic canvases and dynamic brushstrokes do not allow the viewer to look away, capturing the humanity of a face. Her first solo exhibition was in Palermo, Loggiato di S. Bartolomeo, in April 2008.

“The first time I saw the works of Francesca Leone I felt a deep, extraordinary emotion.”

These are the words of musical composer Ennio Morricone. In June 2009, Leone created a portrait of Morricone, which was subsequently awarded ‘McKim 2009’ by the American Academy in Rome.


Photography and film are both points of departure for Leone’s works. Having sprung from the world of ‘motion pictures’, she somewhat ironically takes a frozen image and generates the illusion of movement with the paintbrush. This is done with the splash and flow of water over a person’s face. The title of the paintings ‘Flussi Immobili’ (or ‘Motionless Flows’) paradoxically represents what Leone is getting at: capturing movement in a static medium. Streaks of water catch the light, producing a mirage of high-speed trickles and drops.

The work of both Francis Bacon and Eadweard Muybridge is called to mind when considering Leone’s pieces. Their analysis of movement through still photography froze the human form in expressive gestures. Leone similarly manipulates falling water in order to create an image charged with expressivity, and which represents the instinctive and fleeting reactions of these faces.

The use of water generates multiple meaning within Leone’s paintings. Not only does it say something about universal vitality but it also touches upon an individual’s fluid state of mind: subtly referred to in the exhibition title ‘Beyond the Water’. Leone brings her own emotional state to bear on these pieces. She has spoken of a “newfound tranquility” in her own life which one can infer correlates with the motif of water and the idea of purification. The overriding impression gained from the images is that peace of mind is hard-won, and that finding it is a far from painless process. Dark backgrounds and obscured faces emphasize this struggle.

Ultimately, there is truth, trauma, euphoria, elation, depression; all captured within Leone’s paint.

Opera Gallery London

Opera Gallery is a global network of 11 galleries all around the world, from Singapore, to New York.
Directed by Jean-David Malat, the London branch opened in 2005, and is located in the heart of London’s most luxuriously selective; Mayfair.
Showcasing only the best art to offer from the masters of street and contemporary, the gallery attracts and invites art amateurs, art connoisseurs, and most of all art lovers.