Marco Salerni


Marco Salerni exhibited at Galleria Gagliardi from 1993 to 1997.

Marco Salerni  (1939 - 2017)

The term encaustic comes from the Greek word Enkaiein, which means to burn.
This technique in use by the ancient peoples of the Mediterranean civilisation was carried out on walls, stone or wood, with colour pigments dissolved in wax and fixed by heat.
Knowledge of encaustic has come to us through translations of Pliny's texts, Vetruvius's Naturalis Historiae, and De Architectura; the name of the person who first practised it is not as well known, although history tells us that the Egyptians were already making wax soluble - according to papyri dating back to 1300 BC. - for a long time.
They resorted to encaustic painting in order to preserve the portraits of their dead for as long as possible for religious reasons, since encaustic colours do not darken or crack, so the work is practically exceptionally durable.
The Romans made extensive use of this technique, as demonstrated by several "domus" in Pompeii, where we find works encausticated with wax applied to the surface to protect the painting already on the wall.
Knowledge and use of encaustic disappeared with the end of classical civilisation.
We do know, however, that Leonardo tried to use this technique to create the "Battle of Anghiari", but he did not leave any evidence of it because he himself destroyed the work, having failed to apply heat.
The study of encaustic was sporadically resumed in the 18th and 19th centuries.
What fascinated and fascinates in encaustic paintings is their lustre, determined by the translucent veil of wax that envelops the colour and gives the impression that it is the painting itself that generates the light.

Marco Salerni was born in Siena on 15 March 1939 and works in the studio next to his home in Olmo di Quercegrossa. He began working as a self-taught artist when he was very young, going through all the stages of his painting experience. After his first exhibition, held in 1960 in Siena, in the evocative setting of the Chiostro di S.Andrea, he took part in numerous personal and collective exhibitions in Italy and abroad: from Florence to Arezzo, Rome, Grosseto, Sulmona, Messina, Mantua, Milan, Avignon and Wetzlar, gaining increasing critical acclaim and winning numerous prizes.
The Municipality of Siena entrusted him with the painting of the banner for the Palio of 2 July 1979, dedicated to Cecco Angiolieri. In 1980 he was commissioned by the ecclesiastical authority to paint the large altarpiece for the Church of the Blessed Bernardo Tolomei in Siena.
He has exhibited several times in Avignon, under the patronage of that municipality, and was invited to participate in the collective exhibition organised and sponsored by the Municipality of Wetzlar in Federal Germany. He has exhibited several times in Spain, in Marbella by invitation and in Valencia, where he inaugurated the Academic Year of that University with an anthological exhibition and gave lectures on encaustic.
His works have arrived in Switzerland at the International Expo in Geneva, and he has been invited to the International Museum of European Fantasy in Brussels and has participated several times in the Expo in Ghent. Also by invitation, his works have arrived in Japan and the States.
Since the difficult years of his first experiments, his works have been marked by continuous research, by planning and verifying each time, until he rediscovered the ancient and fascinating technique of encaustic painting, the "Egyptian" use of beeswax, through which he almost sculpts the table in a painting that expresses itself "by force of levare", which communicates what it represents.
In 1989 he completed the encaustic painting of the walls of the Sienese church dedicated to Beata Maria Taigi in Vico Alto.
Various of his works are currently housed in private collections and public institutions. 

Carmine Benincasa, Roberto Barzanti, Aldo Cairola, Edmond Volponi, Gino Morbiducci, Carlo Munari, Gilberto Madioni, Marurizio Vanni and others have written about him.