Franco Battiato | Original prints, lithographs, etchings and illustrated books


"In painting I see all my faults, and I'm interested to improve. I'm greedy and I look forward to getting to work"

(Franco Battiato)



Franco Battiato, born Francesco Battiato (Riposto, March 23, 1945), is an Italian singer-songwriter and composer.

The artist has spoken about himself in an eclectic and personal way: after the initial pop phase of the sixties, he moved on to progressive rock and cutting edge in the following decade. It is, has returned to the footsteps of light music deepening even the song of author. Among the others still in which he has ventured there are ethnic music, electronic music and opera among many. During his career, in which he often met with a public and critical success, he has availed himself of the help of numerous collaborators including the violinist Giusto Pio and the philosopher Manlio Sgalambro (coauthor of many of his songs). His texts reflect his interests including esotericism, philosophical theoretical, Sufi mystique (in particular through the influence of G.I. Gurdjieff) and oriental meditation. The musician has also ventured into other fields such as painting and cinema. He is one of the artists with the highest number of awards from the Tenco Club, with three Plaques and a Tenco Award.

Between November 2012 and March 2013 he carried out a very brief experience as a tourism councilor of the Sicilian Region in the center-left junta of President Rosario Crocetta declaring that he did not want to receive any compensation.
Around 1990, the musician begins to explore other fields of expression, approaching with pleasure and curiosity the pictorial exercise. For the artist from Catania, the very meaning of painting resides in a kind of continuous experiment of self-analysis and self-improvement. As proof of this, in an interview with the newspaper La Repubblica he said: "In painting I see all my faults, and I'm interested in improving. I'm greedy and I can not wait to get to work ". On the other hand, Battiato himself has never loved to call himself a painter, but simply a "man who paints". From 1993 his activity led him to organize personal exhibitions in Italy and in the world, often in large cities such as Rome, Catania, Florence, Stockholm, Miami, Istanbul and Gothenburg; one of his exhibitions was curated in collaboration with the artist and engraver Piero Guccione. In over twenty years he has produced about eighty works signing under the pseudonym of Süphan Barzani.

In his works, executed on canvases or gilded plates, he prefers oil painting techniques and uses of earth and hard pigments. The covers and booklets of Fleurs, Wrought Iron and Gilgamesh Opera are some examples of Battiato's painting. The artist's paintings mostly represent iconic figures like Sufi, Dervishes that pray, and even faces of ordinary people, usually friends of the artist. Critics have often spoken about the painting of Battiato, a reinterpretation of Byzantine art, passing through the primitive Tuscans of the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. In this regard, the musician states: "That then you recognize stylistic, structural or compositional coincidences between these types of works and my paintings should not be surprising: I am bound, as is evident also in my work as a musician, to an archetypal aesthetic ".

Critical reviews

«[...] Battiato's painting, if we pretend to channel it into a comfortable bed of neoprimitivism, forgetting the operational and intellectual wealth that sustains it, would risk to appear to us the hobby of an episodic and halved artist; while, conversely, observing it with both eyes, nature and culture, we will see the colors affectionately marry the notes, words, meditations of the author and in this alliance, not to say connivance, explain the unmistakable number of one soul."
(Gesualdo Bufalino)

«[...] This is Battiato's painting. Of course: it should be said of the other, because tradition requires two-page presentations at least; and so it is easy to run with memory to the "primitive Sienese", these painters who had art and faith on the tip of vibrating brushes, free from fictitious fictions conventions preconceived and transitory values ​​then as today of a humanity captive of consumerism. Also in painting Battiato he sends us the message - a message due to his love for humanity, completely without discriminating barriers; to his tolerance that allows him to embrace and make his own the good of every human message enriching and acquiring the soul; empathy, pietas, values ​​of the soul understood lived and loved ... and eventually translated into painting. »
(Gabriele Mandel)