The idealist and dreamer Roberto

To Roberto Romoli I’m tied up by an ancient friendship, born half a century ago at Francesco Petratca primary school, in Florence. In big cities you can happen to lose touch with each other for years, sometimes for ever. In our case, after a long period of distance, the common attendance of the world of art made us to meet again. In 1998, my job as giornalist kept me to realize a film report for ‘’Incontri con l’arte’’, of  Toscana Tv, on the occasion of the inauguration of the renoved Villa Montalvo. For that event, the municipality of Campi Bisenzio, had organized a common exhibition of  the artists joining Studio 7, one of the most rigorous and committed group or the region.

Among the painters who had taken part to the exhibition, I found Roberto; the same phisiognomy, although scarred by the flow of time, the same sensitive and hearty temper, as when we where children. When he showed me his pictures, I hardly believed how such a calm and pacific man, like my old friend was, could express such a turbulent, troubled, disturbed and disturbing art. Obviously, I didn’t express any opinion, because the long attendance of the exhibition’s rooms has always suggested me to postpone any consideration to a second time, after having had a deeper  knowledge of the artists and their works of art. What could I know, after several years, about Roberto’s personality and about his cultural, artistic, social and human background? Nevertheless, this antinomy intrigued me a lot and, having appreciated his artistical qualities, besides its contents, I choose Roberto, together with some of the most important artists from Florence of the time, for an exhibition of Contemporary Art of which I was tutor, held to Caffè Pascò in 1999.This way, I  had the opportunity  to admire many other Roberto’s works  and that would be for the following years, when I could go deep into his artistic world, following him for many other television reports in several exhibitions: to La Mimosa in Campi Bisenzio in 2000, to Convitto della Calza in Porta Romana in 2001, to the Limonaia in Villa Vogel in 2002, to Arci club of San Donnino in 2004, to the salon of the Hotel West  Florence in Campi Bisenzio in 2007, arriving to his personal exhibition in the Seminario Vescovile in Fiesole in 2009 and to the  more recent tribute to Giovanni Fattori in Antonio Berti showroom, in Sesto Fiorentino .A whole decade during which I could realize that Roberto and his art are two faces of the same medal.  In fact, in his basic themes there is  all the delusion and frustration of an optimistic person betrayed by the real thing, of a sensitive man persecuted by the oppression of the arrogants, of a pure soul dirtied by nowaday’s moral, social and spiritual corruption, of the citizen ignored by the state institutions.
There is Roberto as a man, idealist, daydreamer, utopian, who puts into the hands of the artist Romoli the task to depict his own malaise, his wish to change things, to shout his anger against the world’s cruelty, using the only arms he has – brushes, colours, canvas.

There is  the desire to communicate using mostly the fantasy, a fantasy aimed to give to the viewer the hope to see a glim of light in the surrounding darkness. And what else he could choose to represent all these things but the surrealism, which permits to assemble symbols, scenarios and characters completely unreal, as far from real situations as completely coherent to the contemporary problems.

And what other group of artists could count him among its members, if not Studio 7, which since the earliest 70’s has been able to coniugate mirably the artistic and cultural research to the social commitment and the interpretation of existential malaise.

The constant and often preponderant presence of blue skyes in Roberto’s paintings is not only an evident metaphoric research of escaping reality, but also the research of a spiritual elevation capable of relieving his nightmares and fears, as a man lost in the trivial labyrinth of everyday happenings.

Fabrizio Borghini

A critic and poetic eyes

We often use – and just for convention – to define “surreal” a painting as Roberto Romoli’s one, so inclined to transgress the picture of reality over turning the prospects and laws of gravity, opening the sky like a theatre (more often than earth) to figurative metaphors where the artist reflects his own critical and poetic eyes about life and history.

Romoli keeps his distance from the quaint fancy of Surrealism, related to the representation of unconscious connections, even if, being Romoli a present-day artist, there are obviously some historical examples in his cultural store.

Romoli shows a precise consciousness of his own symbols and so the connections, which he creates between space and forms and the nature itself of things (even if released from the rules of truth), derive from his vision of the world and not of the most deceptive oneiric activity. In his free “lay-out” of reality there is certainly all the richness of a poetics inclined to “imaginary” and by that the artist can conform to an idea of beauty even anxious themes, where the evils of the present time are reflected such as the overpower of money, the nature offended by the decay, the loss of human identity, are subjects of a lot of his compositions, but we can always find something salvific in the component aesthetics: in the clear and shining light, in the spaces opening towards the infinity, not to say about explicit traces as a floral form’s birth in the pleats of desert zones. So a wish of lightness and pacification corresponds to the disappointment, to the clear becoming aware as witness of his own time.Besides his “narrative ego” assumes a shape, in a lot of his recent works, in the slender figure in flight with the small balloon and elsewhere other coloured balloons; as then the transparent bubbles sail and meet like different and only worlds in search of relationship. Continuously “wandering” in the Space and in the Time with his own visual tales, our artist lives again, painting, his experience of travels going in search of the prints of history in the geography of far and magic places visited as Petra or Machu Picchu, but even in search of that introspective travel that takes him to the consciousness of himself. Following this wake, where his speech in Art evolves, some verses of great writer Hermann Hesse are ringing in my mind: “We must cross spaces and spaces without stopping our foot in any place, the universal spirit won’t bind us, but step by step raises us.” – (“Steps”)

Roberta Fiorini


Florentine, he launches himself into the art world already in the sixties. As in a purebred horse, it’s immediately easy to notice in him strong expressive skills, which address him right away to a brilliant career in painting, although cap in hand, due to the retiring behavior of the artist himself. Getting afterwards to the surrealist movement, he becomes a member of it, with a remarkable change of style and inwardly committed. He includes his philosophical thought to the basic topics, carrying out his painting experiment as a therapy, a soul medicine, he talks with the heart, he thinks, he experiences, and he brings us back on the canvas what he composes, setting it in order, working it out with photographic precision, often gazing the formal hyper-realism. With a masochistic pain, he composes patiently in the shade of his studio, he dreams, invents and creates. And he makes us conscious of the chosen notions, as a social commitment. He shows artworks to the world, those are like the sons of his own desires, those give the sense of his life. His whole production brings out the problems and the spatial boundaries of existence and contemporary life. Roberto Romoli depict us a parallel, ideal world, out of the ordinary facts dynamic. Sometimes with a calm oneiric interpretation, some others moved by an unknown strength, he tends to instantly give fantasies from a post-industrial nightmare. The pictorial meanings in Roberto Romoli are exactly the expression of this own philosophical and political theory, and of the release beyond the natural boundary of unconscious urges. Roberto Romoli, as a man and as an artist, embraces also every man contradiction. That’s why it’s so strong the spiritual expression, related to our earthly life, often in contradiction with our expectations, touching the limits of “paranoia”. But in Romoli comes out a really private poetic, able to bring out a sort of ancient survival spirit, always focused to reach that ideal dream. A dream that every sort of art wants to reach. It doesn’t exist a type of art or a philosophical movement better than the others and they all trying to reach the same aim… An aim able not only to enchant the one who enjoys it, but also able to bring that sense of inner peace and completeness that whoever artist, painter, sculptor, musician, writer could make the child inside him live, emancipate, grow….letting him go beyond. So, as Andrè Breton wrote in the famous manifesto from the 1924, opening to the world this cultural and humanistic movement, “Not art for arts’ sake”. But an art that try to solve the contradiction of a too short and expectable life, for which the human intelligence is often insufficient, considering the huge possibilities that it may express. Roberto Romoli, in his own small way, as each intellectual and artist in the history, shaping and building up himself, in that small brick, that he will have to support, together with the others, the huge weight of what the future of the world will be, so to donate it to the entire humanity, with the heart and the respect of a human being and a special artist.

Giacomo Basile 2009