(A long story…)
Piero Costa was born in Milan in 1935 but grew up in Ostiglia in the lower Mantova area. In 1954 he moved to Caracas where he definitively matured the surrealist experience. In the 1960’s he stayed in various Latin American countries. In 1967 he landed permanently in Bonaire in the Netherlands Antilles. From here the works for the first important solo exhibitions start. The exhibitions in Curacao, Mexico City, Lima and Caracas date from this period. Obeying the call of the great masters of the seventeenth century, and having known only Mantegna through the extraordinary work of the master at the Gonzaga court, in 1970 he returned to Italy with the intention of undertaking a thorough study of the painting of that era.
It is not enough for him to see and know, he wants to participate.
And he participates by performing paintings that are unfaithful copies of Mantegna, Tiziano, Giorgione, Vermeer, Bosch, provocative inventions that allow him to enjoy a rich and satisfying painting, also destined to attract new interests around the great masters of painting.
(Massimo, one of the two son…)
Piero is a person of infinite calm, he works pampered by classical music in his atelier where surprisingly you can find tubes of oil paint dating back to the 1950s, bought by himself and used with religious parsimony and the cat sleeping blissfully in the chair. His professionalism can be seen from the fact that there is no waste but at the same time everything is clean and organized as if painting were more of a ceremony, a sacred act. He doesn’t have a real palette as he gets the color from time to time so he opted for ‘sheet’ palettes which he uses to mix colors and also you notice the lack of waste, he uses all the color mixing it with others get the right shade, without waste. He studied a lot the masters of the past, he visited museums when he could observe the great works very closely to study the brushstrokes, here he marvels at how certain paintings seen at a certain distance are impressive but up close they show obvious imperfections, this is also the magic of painting! He has his true love for Vermeer, an unreachable painter, a master of light and detail but he adores many artists especially of the 17th century such as Velasquez, the various Holland painters but in reality he knows painting from the Renaissance to the present day because for he is passion, admiration and stimulus, but also research and that is why he started to redo (in his own way) the masterpieces of the past not so much to get used to the technique but above all to understand its essence, that magic that years before surprised seeing the same paint from different distances. Here I am once again in Piero’s atelier, a unique place, with its vague scent of trichlorethylene mixed with oil colors, the smell of canvas and fir wood, an almost Zen environment, with symphonic music that is never too loud and the inevitable sleeping cat on the chair to admire the works scattered everywhere but in perfect order.
I was very surprised to find awards, medals, certificates around the house, in the drawers or in some cupboard, he never told me about it but he seems completely disinterested in the subject, he much prefers that people collect his works rather that a critic pamper him and I truly understand. It took me years to collect news about the various works, I saw them go around the house continuously so I thought I’d collect them all neatly in a virtual gallery that you can visit by clicking on the ‘Gallery‘ button in the shop menu, at the top. The gallery is not complete, all the works from the 50s to the early 90s are missing and many do not have adequate photographic documentation but in the end I think I can create a fairly complete gallery.