Skip to main content


Collection of opinions offering a more in-depth look at the painter's work and its impact in the artistic sphere.

Giorgio Di Genova

Art critic
The heliochromes of Marco Di Francesco

In the 20th century, painting underwent various linguistic revolutions and multiple expressive enrichments, which consequently also involved working techniques, which often blended to achieve further solutions and new results never previously achieved. 20th century art has become omnivorous, incorporating media outside of its linguistic specifics, but also using tools other than the paintbrush, so that the painting has experienced shifts towards collage, candle smoke, combinations with sand, stones, iron filings, neon and many other 'betrayals' of academic teachings. Despite the fact that the sun has often played a not insignificant role for some painters, until now no one had replaced brushes with sunlight. It has done so Marco Di Francesco with his works that I would call Helichromesas their colours are precisely obtained by exposing his compositions prepared with blue bristol cardboard to the sun for a whole month, covered with black cardboard cut-outs, shaped according to the morphologies, which he intends to obtain, and stuck in the frames with the glass overlapping; obviously it is a careful and painstaking work.

He must orient his works during the day by following the path of the sun in the sky, so that his works offer their surface at an appropriate angle to the east in the morning, to the south at midday and to the west in the evening. Di Francesco He devotes his time to checking the chromo-visual 'firing' point of his compositions designed by the arrangement of cards, either with vertical bands, or with the interweaving, always orthogonal, of thin strips of cardboard.

His works seem to me to be bathed in a certain oriental aura, especially when they 'bloom' in the sun, as in the work in which his laborious heliochromatic processes make a daisy 'blossom' within a composition of dialoguing diagonal and undulating bands. His artistic discourse presents themes strongly clinging to an optic of decorative elegance, where certain morphologies are repeated and where, moreover, the chromatic modulations are anything but bright, and in fact red is never present, delegating to its contiguities the task of conveying warm tones. Finally, there is one module that recurs. And it is that of the disc, which I am inclined to trace back to the operational matrix to which Di Francesco is aimed at: the sun. So much so, in fact, that the differently intertwined strips often resemble the sun's rays both structurally and visually.

Di Francesco is constantly inspired by the phenomena of nature, as befits one who has chosen the sun as his instrumentum pingendi.

Barbara Vinciguerra

Art critic
The solar painting of Marco di Francesco

Painting of light that of Marco Di Francesco, spiritual painting in its tendency towards the infinite and in its chromatic rarefaction, in which one finds, in the final results, the suggestions of Italian abstractionism from Turcato to Dorazio. His slow and laborious process of letting the sun 'imprint' his mark and then, with the typical urgency of 'doing', reorganising the forms, in an inversion of the Impressionist principle. Thus nature is the perceptive place that moves both the formal and chromatic choices, orienting the artist in an absolutely Mediterranean dimension, of a nature in movement, conceived in the moment fixed in its explosion into loving and harmonious fragments.

Marco Di Francesco seems to fully share Manet's statement in which all impressionistic poetics is encapsulated: 'The eye, a hand'. Perception and technical dexterity allow the liberation from a constrictive earthliness in the region of the spirit where cosmic sentiment is realised, where nature and light become a One Whole and reality metamorphoses. Thus, an abstract painting in the strongly polymateric and anthropological sense originates, underlined and sustained by the characterisation of painted structure-sculpture, which is specified in the value of design and drafting of the work.

The chromatic fabric of the oepra creates a score through the soft undulations of the paper, inventing a rhythm to accommodate the imprints of time, the linear and geometric scans like a musical flow that is organised into a visual sign. Poised between technical elaboration and sentimental excavation, his painting solicits in the observer the complicity of a persuasive participation. As Piero Dorazio himself argued, abstract art must "induce in the observer the sensation that there is a dimension in the painting that is not only that of the surface of the canvas, but also that of the mind, since an abstract painting can also be more than two-dimensional since the measure of space is not physical but individual and psychic".

Marco Di Francesco is one of those artists who can fully endorse these statements, and his work is a clear demonstration of this, in the nuanced emotions, in the imperceptible flashes, in the sensual pleasure of colour.

Vincenzo Anzidei

Journalist and writer
Origins recall Giotto

He was born in Ceriseto di Isola del Gran Sasso (Teramo) on 1 August 1950 into a farming family. The youngest of six children, he soon got to know earthly difficulties, although he did not neglect basic interests that, precocious in nature, were to prove fundamental to his existence. The wonders of nature do not escape young Marco's notice as he accompanies his flock to pasture: the majestic, imposing Gran Sasso, which rises up close to his house and almost towers above it, the greenery and rocks, the waterfalls that leap from the cliff and the elusive song of the partridge, the chimes of the bell tower that radiate from the small plain firstly to the hills immediately opposite and then amplify in shades of different tones among the impervious peaks of the Apennines.

In such an existential scenario of forced solitude, the embryo of creativity, the taste for the sublime, and the transcendental conversation with nature develop and unleash power. A tenacious spirit, accustomed to receiving nothing without a price, he forged his own cultural formation without necessarily referring to contemporary and past masters, on the contrary, abjuring convenient patterns of life and inculcating publicity. His vocation is from the peasant world, from the habit of treading mud and grass with respect, aware of a balance and a natural order of things. It is Rousseau's 'Emile' taken as a model, for a simplistic conception of life predisposing to a natural and authentic enrichment of the self'.

People begin to take notice of the boy who paints over rocks; but he seems to pay no heed to the judgments and predictions of the villagers. However, the environmental conditions are propitious for his adolescence: his playmates witness sketches that appear as if from nowhere and those figures of warriors that so quickly take shape on paper arouse admiration in everyone. Thus, at the age of fifteen, the first sketches take decisive shape, to which the young man willingly accompanies verses of fresh poems, as if to complete the authenticity of works that already fully express uncommon meanings. The years of the economic explosion are already a reason to reflect on the evolution of the social community: the boy clings even more to his freedom, which is constituted by the proximity of the mountains, the intensely green trees, the birds, in short, by all the natural scenery that surrounds the small village of Ceriseto. Until the age of eighteen he lived in this environment, then, in 1968, he moved to Rome.

He does not feel, in the sense that he does not personally participate in the turmoil of that year, but ends up being indirectly affected by much of it. He is the emigrant who somewhat endures, who lives on the margins, drawing strength and insight from the memory and steadfastness of principles originating in uncontaminated places, free of prejudice and false rhetoric. It is in this period that an autobiographical painting takes shape (theme of loneliness, the young man with the guitar on his shoulders going towards the dawn, etc.) where sentiment prevails absolutely, the only one capable of communicating and overcoming the greatest hostility.

For Marco Di Francesco is the period of blue', a colour so dear to the painter who, through the nuances of the tones, masterfully succeeds in bringing to the canvas the different moments of the human soul, starting with its inner suffering.

Vincenzo Anzidei

Journalist and writer
The solar painting of Marco di Francesco

In the period of his greater maturity, the artist proposed, in his characteristic humility, a series of works destined to leave an indelible mark. At a time of flattening creativity and a cooled interest in modern art, which does not produce ideas and therefore a new school of thought, Di Francesco proposes his technique permeated with a reminiscence of uses and customs that have now disappeared and almost been forgotten. Thus, the overlapping of the strips, with which he forms geometric figures and conceives faces, now light, now dark, depending on exposure to the sun, are reminiscent of the wicker weaving through which handcrafted containers for everyday use were made.

Is this the beginning of a new authentic artistic conception? Marco Di Francesco was the forerunner already twenty years ago and the art chronicles, rightly, emphasised the event.

Antonio Spinosa

Journalist - Publisher
The art of the sun in the painting of Marco Di Francesco

I was astonished, nay amazed, at the pictorial originality of Marco Di Francescoas I observed: 'You can still invent in art! And that of Di Francesco is pure invention, highly original. He paints with paper strips exposed to the sun. By superimposing these strips he manages to give you, emotions and, above all, to arouse your curiosity.

How did he get this far? Did he have masters in this extraordinary invention of his? Off the top of my head, I think not: it is all his own doing. And I believe he will amaze us again. Because I believe that there is only one great mystery in his work, that of not turning in on himself, that of not being happy with what he has done. But he will go on, and he will still amaze us with his artistic inventions.

Elio Mercuri


Marco in a constant meditation accompanies the mystery of creation, just as from a stone and a branch, from a patch of existence bursts forth to upset the consuming and devouring routine of life, opens up new realities, makes possible a new balance between what is the dimension of our unconscious and the space of the world. The spark, from the zone of shadow, from nothingness, from the abyss of death, from marginalisation, that illuminates the presence of being, redeems every creature, legitimises every dream, gives meaning to every word of poetry. Marco's work is all in this gathering in the dimension of a painting the signs of expectation, of finding the thread that binds everything he sees and knows, with a destiny, a superior reason, a sense, that does not belong to the 'kingdom', to the 'palace', of power and the market, and precisely for this reason is absolute and eternal, a trace and imprint that the word passes on and painting incarnates, an image as 'imago mundi'.

Placido Scandurra

Painter, engraver and restorer

I have known for a long time Marco di Francescosince he attended the School of Ornamental Art of the City of Rome. The paintings of his early period mainly depict the suburbs of Rome. They stem from an abrupt impact that the painter has with the big city. To this period belong the themes of loneliness, collective alienation, environmental degradation and the destruction of our natural heritage.

Another group of work is purely related to symbolism: the result of a careful and in-depth study of Zen culture, of the search for the inner self as understood in the Eastern world. A series of works on wooden surfaces, treated with a solar impression system, belong to this period. Using shaped forms of natural elements, exposed to the sun for several months, the ultraviolet rays transform the surface by darkening it and creating sensitive transparencies and shadows. This type of research is unique. In recent times, he has devoted himself to the technique of engraving. On zinc plates, he engraves the thousand stories of nature with small points.

Marco often leaves his family for weeks at a time, like the old impressionist painters, and with his van goes in search of landscapes not yet brutalised by concrete. He travels mainly in southern Italy, Calabria and Sicily, attracted by the strong contrast of light and millenary beauty. He paints from life, trying to capture and impress on canvas the emotions of the moment. Marco Di Francesco in his Mediterranean landscapes, he conveys to us the simplicity of life, everyday scenes but seen with a fresh eye, not trivialised, moments of existence of each one of us, usual, ordinary, infinite gestures. Yet seen through the paintings, these scenes or moments become solemn and full of meaning.

Marco Di Francesco makes what we overlook important and points its attention where we never look.


Via Bollengo 32/D
00123 | Rome | Italy


T: +39 329 20 31 548

Verified by MonsterInsights