Italian Lyrics on Paper

Recent Watercolors, The Gallery in Cork Street, London, 2013


An aura of calm and subtle poetry breathes through the works of Walter Boni, an artist from Modena, for whom painting is the deepest vocation. The works speak with a confidential lyricism

that seems to be almost in stark contrast to questions of the destiny of man, and those of the social order, which should, according to a widespread mentality, be the principal occupation of the scholar, with a purely philosophical training.

In truth, the contradiction is illusory, since, as will become apparent, his research into nature, necessarily includes the human aspect. It is necessary to immediately underscore that Boni unearths another dimension in painting, and one which remains deeply authentic in and of itself, in its ability to establish an intimate communion, from soul to soul, with nature. And it is in this relationship of immediacy, of a more direct involvement, that the artist expresses his enthusiastic capacity to search among the deep folds of reality and reveal, through delicate tonal variations and effects, an internal vibration, of the occult and the eternal pulse of matter, in all its mysterious secrecy.

Circling through these paintings is a physical intoxication, the thrill in nature, which, while caressing the seasons, within a colouristic exaltation of a scenic view, to the amazement of a seductive vision of a flower, is not always dreamy, amazing, or given to an exhilarating feeling of joy and awe.  As is evident in some paintings, something of Boni's naturalism is characterised by elements of anxiety, of quiet melancholy, and sometimes, of the existential, which from the point of view of narrative, taps into more informal values.  The subject matter however never takes on a lacerating form, but rather distils the severity of the colour distribution, of shadowy tones. The colour palette changes into a highly variable attribute and manifests itself in all its richness and intensity of expression. When shattered, the artist's joyous touch, unifies them again by incorporating a soft light in certain arbitrary discordance, as if unfolding the rim of a melodic sweet song. It is in this context that the watercolours of Walter Boni can be aligned with that “ultimate naturalism” described by Francesco Arcangeli, that signature style of the Po Valley region, which declares itself within informal trends, yet does not achieve a provisional poetic result, but rather a rich decanting of the soul.

Michele Fuoco


Boni, tra i figli della sua generazione, si rivela solitario celebratore di delicate immagini. I suoi acquerelli, nel tempo e fuori del tempo, sono segnati dall’impegno emotivo con cui egli avvicina i colori; i temi, quelli legati alla tradizione di questa tecnica nobile e sensibilissima, che vuole amore panico in abiti di grazia bucolica. Di qui le sue architetture di una bellezza d’insieme ritmata - è facile avvertirlo - in una musicalità che raccoglie colori, spazi e atmosfere. In questo insieme s’inserisce la solarità primaverile di impressioni visive quali il fiore e l’angolo agreste denso di contrasti cromatici. Gli aspetti della natura, cercati e raccolti nella discrezione di giardini e contrade, dove ogni cosa si ammorbidisce e si sfuma in un pigro e incantato riserbo, appaiono desueti.

Guido Franchetti