The Soprano, 2017
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If any of Di Massimo’s works can be definitively declared a self-portrait, it would be ‘The Soprano’. Though the man’s visage is in profile, there is little doubt that it is indeed the painter himself; any speculator of the contrary need only note the artist’s initials studded upon the block of wood in front of him. The exchange between the two figures seems to be indicative of their relationship, the woman making demands and the artist dutifully fulfilling them. His bare chest suggests a kind of exposure or vulnerability, and his placid countenance in his position of subservience speaks to a humility that often emerges in self-portraiture.
It is unclear where the painting takes place, but the juxtaposition between the murky green sky and the geometric brickwork creates a sense of impossible otherworldliness that has become an integral part of Di Massimo’s oeuvre. However, as the female instructs her male counterpart to shine her shoes, the well-known Gucci loafers situate the painting squarely in the present. This, combined with the recurring female figure in other works, suggests that the tableau is a projection of the artist’s personal intimacy.