Presentation of the artist - Februry 2012
Armonia & Art critic: Philippe Daverio
Armonia & Stefano Accorsi, Paris 2011
Genoa "the superb", a city unique among others like a provocative and beautiful nymph that moves among the measuring glances of a captivated crowd. Petrarca called it "the queen of seas ", intoxicating, always in the spotlight, ever radiant "thanks to its citizens and to its walls." An antique city praised by the great of this world, like Blaise Cendrars in his memoires, anchored in the salty green depths of the harbor city. Fertile ground, it was cradle to many other great figures of human history: Christopher Columbus, Niccolò Paganini, Domenico Piola and the Nobel Prize winner in Literature Eugenio Montale. Men, figures of eternal fame. It is in this cultural wealth that Thomas Diego Armonia was born, under the brilliant brushstrokes of the first sunbeams, in a morning of 1971. Today well known, the artist, testimonial of a signature style, is appreciably influenced by the Italian baroque movement. Thomas Diego Armonia shares in the inheritance of the Genoese school of the 17th century, as proved by the generosity of detail and the density of elements of his pictorial compositions.
His work, original and edifying, has earned him worldwide success. While still respecting the canons of membership of his school of inspiration, Thomas Diego Armonia proposes a new artistic direction by depicting women marked by a munificence at once carnal and distinguished, so far removed from the early clichés that compared his work to Fernando Botero's voluntarily disproportionate portraits. "Every artist tries to have his own signature, even if at the beginning we often come out of our schools still too imbued with our references. It is rather difficult to emancipate from them and to find a path unmarked by the style of others. Very often we unconsciously reproduce what most influenced us. So much of what distinguishes our style is not necessarily the result we expected." T-D Armonia
On the other hand the artist becomes famous first and foremost in a style that pulsates at the rhythm of Rembrandt, Rubens or of Barocci, always agreeing with the codes of baroque aesthetics. Armonia is harmony, the elegance of a mastered technique, the result of a skillful mixture of greatness and refinement, the delicate duet of wealth entwined with grace, a subtle perfume full of traditional and modern artistic essences.
Thomas Diego Armonia made his debut at the school of fashion of Genoa . A short dabbling in the world of fashion followed, without reaching its full blooming potential. In 1993, he realized a first personal exhibition and experimented with the Genovese painter Croce Armonia, "the master of mines." The artist afterwards dedicated himself exclusively to painting, completing his fine art studies in Padua . Earlier in his career, Thomas Diego Armonia worked exclusively in color, and this characteristic accentuated the superficial similarities between his works and Fernando Botero's. The first paintings exhibited luminescent tones, and proposed a chromatic wealth appropriate for his former thought. Many have been seduced, inspired, filled by the "fragrance" of Armonia. The artist's meeting with the French ethnologist Jean Malaurie turned out to be seminal for Armonia's analysis of Inuit tribes. Thanks to his influence, the artist quickly came in contact with writers Giulia Bogliolo Bruna and Yankel Karro, who dedicated him words almost poetic in their tone. The positive comments of Domenico Buffarini, an Italian writer and photographer, also described faithfully the art of Armonia. "With this mélange, Armonia reinvents the rules that govern the body and how we represent it. Central to his love of tradition is, in my interpretation, the influence of Santeria, as transposition of man into “doll,” and a syncretic dimension of his work. As he presents the intricate steps of a ritual, he dismantles and reassembles the human figure, and we feel we can nearly see magic at work. It is then left to one's imagination to complete the imperfect bodies without hands and feet, as one travels between realism and idealization. Just as his paintings in color are intense, those in black and white monochrome are pure." Ferrante Ferranti.
Just like ethnologists, Thomas Diego stands as an observer of the populations of the world. With time, his experience and techniques evolved, and with them his sensitivity, pushed by different winds like a fearless caravel through the passionate swell of far-away seas. His success is due to the gradual refining of a style more and more appropriate and clean. The success of the paintings is realized by following two different inspirations: they are elaborated according to the codes of the figurative arts but also draw largely from the European classic style. The artist has a modern approach to painting: his works are influenced by contemporary design; they are in harmony with the trends of the time and introduce the vision of an era of globalization where he realizes himself through the fusion of styles and cultures. He affirms himself in the evolution of his signature. He grows in the furrows of experimentation and eventually becomes recognizable and unique. Armonia's unmistakable and original "touch" draws mainly from his experiences and his personal encounters with others. And so we observe, through the paintings, the desire to immortalize a scene, a glanced rapid look trapped into the corridor of time, evading the ever changing vicissitudes. Disguised under a pout, a fickle and pensive face: Thomas Diego Armonia looks for and hunts the purity of expressions. His almost Buddhist smiles, the fixed, ambiguous eyes suddenly crossed by a light of mockery, the pearly, pure, smooth, sensual skin: the lines are exploited to the maximum to obtain the truest results. They highlight the most revealing aspects of our profound nature as opposed to our outside appearances. The eyes are the facial feature most emblematic of Armonia's style, the beautiful detail that he so masterfully portrays in his canvasses. The deep, liquid pupils loaded with intensity are witnesses of all the unrevealed lies and of the sincere captured feelings. Their length, drawn outwards, their stretched out shape confers them a distinctiveness so characteristic that it expresses, in a certain way, the infinity of the messages they can deliver. They are disproportioned, and far from being harmless, they become the symbol par excellence of Armonia's style. Today, the Italian artist, now an adoptive child of France 's capital city, reaps the praise of European critics. He is mentioned in the Mondadori catalog of modern and contemporary art and in the reference catalogs Artnet and Artprice. His worldwide fame is due in large part to his breaking into the Asian market.
"When Asians examine my pictures, they are generally very surprised. They are used to seeing similar styles in the art that is already available on their market, but are put off balance by the obvious stylistic differences in my paintings. This reaction is only amplified when they discover that I am a European artist." T. D. Armonia
It is indeed true, as he often says himself, that opposites attract. The art market is in a complete new phase today. At world level, statistics pointed in the year 2000 to a certain tendency that showed a strong concentration in a few countries: the United States represented 49,8 % of the market, against 28,75 % for the United Kingdom and 5,6 % for France . This totaled a share of 84,15 %. The trend in the last few years has reversed: the redistribution of disposable wealth allowed art to become gradually more democratic, even if still divided in function of style and products. As they get involved in Western art, Asian countries are also trying to impose their own artistic movements in a significant and valid way. The Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, presented as the darling of the world of modern art, illustrates perfectly this new tendency. As change takes ground, China and the Asian continent might end up successfully dictating the artistic trends of tomorrow. Taking into account this parameter has help construct the artistic universe of Thomas Diego Armonia. In his paintings, filled with multidisciplinary influences, art converges with luxury; the brilliant reflections of gold leaf become only a hint among the fineries and precious clothes of these ladies with luscious bodies; the faces adorned by these immense eyes are completely unique: a set of elements that reveal how Armonia chooses to please, how he seduces. Armonia's success came about rapidly, as evidenced in the spin-off sector of luxury items, where he provides artistic refinement for the home. His universe, so rich in sources of inspiration, is populated by modern yet classic women who embody the values of universal elegance in design, fashion and in all sectors of creativity. The ability to gather different worlds creates for the artist yet another source of enrichment. The numerous elements, combined with elegance in these canvasses, evoke a deep fascination and the recognition of masterful and evident technical competence. We invite you to judge this by yourself in this volume, because indeed, as Michele de Montaigne said, it is a much more "beautiful harmony when saying and doing go together."Jean Sebastien Rondel