From figurative painting to surreal symbolism



Guglielmo Coladonato while he works on his favourite theme, Metamorphoses

A view of the Torrimpietra studio
A corner of Mr. Coladonato’s studio 
with a group of artworks
Exhibition at the Diocleziano Museum in Lanciano, 1985 – From left to right, the President of the Region of Abruzzo, Senator Germano De Cinque, Mr. Coladonato and Mrs. Rosa Russo Jervolino
Rome, 1975 – An exhibition at Palazzo Braschi
Rome, 1975 – Exhibition at Palazzo Brancaccio – Mr. Coladonato with Professor Bonanno and Prince Brancaccio

Guglielmo Coladonato was born in Torricella Peligna, in the province of Chieti, on 3rd January 1933. He lives and works at Aranova near Rome.

The atmosphere of his land of origin, the “rough yet gentle” Abruzzo, has accompanied the artistic development of this “intense painter, who uses lively colours and features an interesting choice of subjects”, as he’s described in the Enciclopedia dell’Arte Italiana per il Mondo. We may add here that Coladonato prefers faesite (synthetic wood) for his oil paintings, often using the rough side, which makes retouching impossible, because he considers this material better than canvas due to its capacity to preserve colours and the whole artwork.


The exhibition at Borgo Valsugana in 2002 – One of the five rooms of Gugliemo Coladonato’s personal exhibition
The Master in his study standing in front of his paints

Critics define Coladonato’s work as spacing from figurative to surreal symbolism, with brushstrokes that are at times smooth, to express female grace, at others imaginative, as if they were sculpted in the colour and light of the figures, landscapes and still lives, to reawaken a certain interior affliction and the contradictions of life itself.

His childhood was strongly marked by suffering: after the death of his mother, his harsh and relentless father sent him out to work as a shepherd boy, spending long periods of solitude in the wilderness of Mount Irco, where he began to make his first stone sculptures. His adolescence was further troubled by the dramatic events of World War Two, during which he was struck by shrapnel and lost an eye, and was later welcomed in the Villaggio del Fanciullo, a refuge for children at Silvi Marina, where he began his sculpting education.

Exhibition at the Town Hall of Ragusa in 1978 – 
Mr. Coladonato with the Prefect, Mr. Franco MonacoHe turned to painting after meeting the brothers Tommaso, Giuseppe and Michele Cascella, in Chieti, who encouraged him to attend the local art school. After completing his studies, he went to work first in Piemonte, at the Law Courts of Saluzzo and then, in 1961, at the Court of Appeals of Rome, where he was employed until 1970, at which time he had fully convinced himself that his true vocation was painting, having participated, since 1967, in a number of group exhibitions in various Italian cities.

From then until today, Coladonato has held about a hundred individual exhibitions, some of which at prestigious venues: the Museo di Roma, the Museum of Science and Technology of Milan, the United Nations Building in New York, and various art galleries in Paris, London, Caracas, Belgium, Canada, Australia, receiving many prizes and awards. His works are exhibited in museums and private collections in a number of countries.

Among the enthusiasts of Coladonato’s talent was the great Spanish artist Salvador Dalì, whom he had met during a trip to Spain in 1967, and who predicted a bright future for him as an artist, and the famous Abruzzo author Ignazio Silone, who, in 1977, a year before his death, expressed the desire to meet the painter and visited him in his studio on the Via Aurelia at Torrimpietra, defining him as "a painter of reality, brimming with fire, always in search of moments of pathos and humanity".


© - Guglielmo Coladonato - 2006