"Melanconia" Pen & Ink Drawing, Initialed and titles verso. Dimensions: 20.5" x 13"
Antonio Ciccone was born in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy.He received his artistic training in the distinguished Florentine studios of Pietro Annigoni, Nerina Simi and the Scuola Libera del Nudo all‘Accademia delle Belle Arti.
His first major fresco dates to 1959. A compassionate St. Francis occupies a wall in the Sala San Francesco at the Convento di Santa Maria delle Grazie in San Giovanni Rotondo. In 1962 he was commissioned to fresco the Resurrection and the Stigmata of Saint Francis (1964) in the Baptistery of the same convent.
In 1962 the artist frescoed the tabernacle with a crucifix in memory of Carlo Vannucci in the cemetery of Fontebuona in Mugello, outside of Florence. A 1959 Crucifixion situated in the Badia Fiorentina in Florence was commissioned and donated to the church in 1964 by Marchesa Mila Niccolini.
Ciccone travelled to England, Ireland and the United States during the 1960s.
He met and married Linda Allison Merrill, an American art student from Washington D.C., in Florence. The couple and their little daughter, Christiana, moved to the Hamptons (Long Island, NY) in 1968 where they soon initiated the adoption of their first son, Pablo Byun, from Korea.
During the 1970s Ciccone produced an important major collection of large hard-edge acrylic paintings of San Giovanni Rotondo‘s famous stigmatized monk, Padre Pio, in orange, blue and white. The collection was eventually acquired by the Capuchin monks of San Giovanni Rotondo.
The artist held major exhibitions in the United States during this period: Palm Beach Galleries, Florida; Guild Hall Galleries, Chicago; Southampton College, N.Y.; Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, N.Y.; the Elaine Benson Gallery, Bridgehampton, N.Y., and Tower Gallery, Southampton, N.Y., to name a few locations.
In the mid-1970s the artist created a number of unique acrylic paintings entitled Nudes in Space. He concluded outstanding portraits of painter colleagues Larry Rivers and Fairfield Porter, as well as those of poets Ted Berrigan and Anne Porter.
Antonio and Linda moved back to Florence in 1980 with their now large, rambunctious interracial family of seven children.
During the early ‘80s, Ciccone produced many powerful works in charcoal dedicated to Padre Pio, as well as strong acrylic and oil landscapes of the Gargano area, in Southern Italy. These works made up an impressive itinerant exhibition that travelled the cathedrals of England and Ireland for an entire year.
1987 saw Ciccone engaged in the execution of the beautiful Nativity fresco in the parish church of Ponte Buggianese, Pistoia. A 1988 commission by Giorgio Dal Lago for the Resurrection, a large (4,20x8,50 meter) painting, was eventually situated in the Palazzo Municipale in San Giovanni Rotondo.
The 1990s were characterized by a fervent period dedicated to portraits, cats, nudes and dancers. The accomplishment in this decade of many charcoal portraits was significant. Some portrayals developed into veritable collections dedicated to Pietro Annigoni, Moira Forbes and Amintore Fanfani.
A large painting Composizione 1992-1993 was commissioned in 1991 by the Cassa Rurale ed Artigiana of San Giovanni Rotondo.
A stunning series entitled Marga and Keith was the result of the artist‘s observation and scrutiny of a dance theme that provided inspiration and subsequently led to the creation of extraordinary major compositions: L´uovo Ritrovato, Il Senso della Misura, Athlete, Concerto, Nello Studio. Other series include: Toro Maremmano, Cavalli a Coolmore, Italia ‘90, Gatti, Capturing Energy and Diana. Omaggio a Brunelleschi, Botticelli, Cellini, Michelangelo; In Silenzio, Body Conscious, and From Another Place are superb examples of other major graphic cycles.
In this prolific period the artist also captured his many cats in charming China ink drawings romping through their daily routine.
Ciccone has dedicated various graphic cycles to portraits over the years: Variazioni per Gaia, Augustus St. Gaudens, John Porter, The Moira Series, Omaggio a Padre Pio, Omaggio a Pietro Annigoni, Amintore Fanfani, The Lydia Series, The Avery Series and Spring Song.
In 2002 Ciccone had an impressive exhibition in the museo della Porziuncola, Assisi, entitled Omaggio a Padre Pio, Santo, curated by Maurizio Vanni.
In 2004 shows of his extraordinary Lydia Series were inaugurated at the Palazzo Panciatichi in Florence, at the Forbes Galleries in New York, and in the summer of 2007 the exhibition opened again in Milan at the Museo di Storia Contemporanea, sponsored by the Forbes Foundation and curated by prominent Italian art critic Vittorio Sgarbi.
The year 2006 saw the birth of the artist´s beautiful Avery Series, which was exhibited at Società delle Belle Arti – Circolo degli Artisti “Casa di Dante,” Florence, and curated by John T. Spike.
Ciccone devoted 2009 to the studies for, and the execution of his most recent frescoes depicting scenes from the life of St. Francis in the Reliquary chapel of the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi.
A fascinating new series of portraits entitled Spring Song was shown for the first time at Società delle Belle Arti – Circolo degli Artisti “Casa di Dante,” Florence in 2010.
San Giovanni Rotondo saw two important exhibitons in 2011: San Giovanni Rotondo ed i suoi abitanti nella memoria artistica di Antonio Ciccone, curated by Stefano De Rosa, and Padre Pio nell‘arte, ispirata, di Antonio Ciccone curated by Corrado Grifa and Giuseppe Bacci.Nel Mistero dell´Uomo – Portraits by Antonio Ciccone was the title of his exhibition at Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence, curated by Florentine art historian Stefano De Rosa and held in the autumn of 2012.
In 2014 the Florence Dance Center held their 25th Anniversary. One of the events in celebrating was an exhibition entitled The Light of Terpsichore featuring Ciccone‘s series Marga & Keith - La Danza. Tribute to Nerina Simi was held in Cardoso di Stazzema and curated by Tiana Ciccone with the collaboration of Cristina Acidini - 2015.The exhibition hall of the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence was the venue for Antonio iccone:Body Conscious (2016), curated by Tiana Ciccone and Giuseppe Figna.Ciccone participated in the Festival Festa Cultura San Giovanni Battista, as he has yearly since its foundation in Florence, 2012.In August, an exhibition Antonio Ciccone: Arte, Fede e Natura was held in Castagno d‘Andrea, FI. The same event comprised the presentation in the Oratorio della Madonna of the cartoon depicting the enlightenment of Saint Francis of Assisi before the crucifix (Fresco in Assisi).
Antonio Ciccone‘s works are found in museums and private collections: Collezione Padri Cappuccini, San Giovanni Rotondo; Forbes Magazine Collection, N.Y.; Guild Hall, East Hampton, N.Y.; La Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, San Giovanni Rotondo; Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, N.Y.; Carlo Alhadeff Collection, Milano; Bruce and Eleanor Dix Bistrian Collection, Massachusetts; Dixie Carter Collection, Los Angeles; Collezione Onofrio Canistro, San Giovanni Rotondo; Collezione Giovanni Fini, San Giovanni Rotondo; Lady Christina Hoare Collection, London; Collezione Tina Ciccone, Firenze; Collezione Marchesi Lorenzo e Alessandra Niccolini, Camugliano, Ponsacco (PI); Robert D. Schweizer Collection, Arizona; Collezione Rolando Vannucci, Arezzo, and Emanuele Canevaro Collection, Zoagli, Genova.
The Avery Series/Portrait of an American Family by art critic and art historian John T. Spike (2008) was the artist‘s last book. Other books include Antonio Ciccone – Vita di Pittore by Alberto Maria Fortuna (1991); Composizione 1992-1993 with introduction by Giovanni Scarale (1994); Gatti/Cats, text by Roberta Fiorini (1995); Nello Studio/In the Studio, text by Paola Bortolotti (1996); Cercando Padre Pio/In Search of Padre Pio (1997), commentary by R. Fiorini, G. Scarale and G. Setti; Antonio Ciccone’s Padre Pio (1999), text by A. M. Fortuna; Metamorphosis (homage to Pietro Annigoni) published in 2000 with essays by Maurizio Vanni, A. Paolucci and T. Paloscia; The Lydia Series (2003), text by John T. Spike, and La Resurrezione (2006) with text by Stefano De Rosa.
The maestro lives and works in Florence where he maintains his studio.
Seraphin Gallery, Philadelphia, PA