With a twinkle in his eye and a seemingly endless array of wonderful stories to tell about his career as a blessed and gifted artist, Pietro Rapisarda clearly loves people as much as he loves to paint. He remembers his interaction with customers down to the smallest detail, and that same attention to detail is evident in his paintings as well. Originally from the city of Catania in Sicily, Pietro’s parents were an actor and a costume designer, thus he comes by his creative talent naturally, even though he tells us that he’s had no formal art training.
Pietro’s father ensured that everyone in the family grew up with a strong work ethic, so at age 8, Pietro began working in a barbershop. It was there that he learned to appreciate the value of the lire, and recognized that his ability to earn a living would be his passport to independence. In 1970, when he returned to civilian life after military service, Pietro quickly grew restless in a thankless and unfulfilling factory job. In his own words, Pietro noted that he was seeking ‟a better life.ˮ He prayed for relief from his job-related stress, and claims it was God's energy that led him to begin painting. Pietro describes his early works as flat, one-dimensional pieces. Interestingly, when he painted a lire into one painting, it seemed so realistic that viewers were compelled to touch it, and at that point his career as a painter blossomed.
On his business card, he described his works as ‟Metaphysical Paintings,ˮ and, to his own amazement, the popularity of his work grew quickly. People seemed to appreciate his unique vision, and were anxious to speak with him and to learn more about his work. In 1986, Pietro introduced his micro-paintings to the tourists who observed him painting in the Piazza Navona in Rome. He notes that while these works are truly quite diminuitive–most no more than 1.25" square–they are nonetheless extremely detailed, and became popular mementos for tourists in and around Rome.
Working through a high-powered magnifier and painting on non-corrosive aluminum, Pietro chats with passersby as he paints, explaining that micro-paintings or ‟miniaturesˮ date back to ancient Egyptian papyruses and the beautifully illuminated manuscripts of monks whose works pre-date the printing press. Often, when someone expresses interest in purchasing one of his Roman scenes, such as the Coliseum or St Peter’s Basilica, Pietro will ask them to return in an hour. And when they return, they delight in discovering that he has added their likenesses to the painting, truly personalizing the miniature they’ve selected, and making it a one-of-a-kind treasure that will enable them to recall their adventure in Rome each and every time they view it. To display his miniatures, Pietro has also designed and hand-crafted a line of metallic finish frames, to enhance the appearance of the miniature artworks they adorn.
In his home studio near Miami, Pietro continues to create Roman miniatures from his memories of life in Italy, where he also met his wife, Alicia, a sculptor. We’re confident you’ll agree that his paintings are beautifully detailed original works of art that you’ll be proud to own or give as gifts to friends and loved ones