Francesco Clemente is an Italian artist known for his dreamlike paintings based on esoteric themes of sexuality and spirituality. In 1980, he created a painting called “The Sun,” which showcases his unique style with the use of traditional art and culture from India. This artwork is characterized by its formal experimentation with symbols, portraiture, and the human figure.
As an artist, Clemente often incorporated non-Western symbols and mythology into his paintings. “The Sun” painting showcases his fascination with Indian mythology as it presents the sun god Surya surrounded by circular patterns representing various forms of energy. The depiction of Surya’s face features large eyes—symbolic of wisdom—and a thin mustache common to Indian men.
Clemente’s art has inspired many fellow artists too. Eric Fischl once painted “The Clemente Family,” featuring Francesco Clemente as a veiled figure along with his family members in the background. Additionally, one of Clemente’s artworks called “The Midnight Sun IX” reveals similar dreamlike qualities involving non-Western symbols that provide spiritual overtones when interpreting it.
Overall, Francesco Clemente’s “The Sun” painting from 1980 is an abstract representation steeped heavily in Indian mythology that experiments with portraiture and circular motifs revealing deep-rooted spiritual connotations characteristic of some practices in India.