Hermeneutics starting from the Greek etymology hermeneutikè (téchne), "interpretation, translation", has identified over the centuries the process of reconstructing the profound semantics of texts, to canonize itself in a more intrinsically historical procedure, taking care of the mens auctoris.
The hermeneut, immersed in a golden space, par excellence untranslatable, is proposed here in the key of a personal self-portrait, appropriate to the ambiguous iconography of the magician, the first of the tarot cards, through the right hand placed on the table, which bears the number I engraved, and the outcropping wooden wand. This figure is attributed the role of illusionist, tributary of a fictitious esoteric speculation, based on the Jewish cabala, which invests the entire tarot game; vivid reference in the representation through the aleph, first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, marked in the lower right corner of the table, in a game of correspondence between the author's name (Stefano, from the Greek Stephanos which literally means "crown" ) and the comparison of the letter to the first Sephirah of the Kabbalah (Kether, identified in the Crown).
The portrait therefore manifests its intentions and strips itself of its apparent ambiguity, to dress itself in a new irony: the hermeneut is here a satirical figure, a philosopher equipped for the interpretation only with the means of the conjurer

"L'Ermeneuta", Autoritratto

Aracne Hybristes

The work follows the Greek myth of Arachne, of which the moment immediately preceding the condemnation of the goddess Athena against the young woman sinner of arrogance and changed into a spider is captured. In the representation there are clear references to the place of origin of the girl, daughter of a Lydian dyer, dressed in purple and carrying a shell of the mollusc responsible for the production of the same colour; next to it a spider, an omen of imminent metamorphosis. In the background there is the symbol of the hubris of the weaver, or the tapestry challenging the goddess, on which the divine loves of Zeus and Europa, Leda and the swan and finally Demeter and Poseidon are described.

The work reinterprets the martyrdom of the saint by tracing the classic iconography, despite being dressed only in the veil of Christian passion. The pictorial surface is torn at the throat of the young woman, where the wounded support itself becomes the fatal stab from which a pearl of blood drips. Thus a dialogue is generated between the painting and its support, which participate in the narration of martyrdom.

Santa Lucia

La Ctonia Dimenticata, Cupra

Chthonic deities are mainly female figures linked to the cults of underground gods, from chthònios "underground". In this case, the goddess depicted here, Cupra, was a divinity among the ancient Umbrians and Picenes, custodian of fertility. It is therefore clear in the representation how the figure lies on the ground given by the wood of the eviscerated support, while flowering shoots develop from her body.

Starting from the theological concept of the Pietà, the figure in the form takes up the iconographic tradition, especially in Michelangelo's masterpiece. However, orphaned in her womb, she disposes herself to the value of the denied Pietà, turning her gaze to where her son lay. And yet, the removed surface no longer perceived as privation, but as a different figurative language compared to painting, can be interpreted by identifying the woman as a Christological figure, re-appropriated the lost Pietà. In this sense, the feeling of pity is manifested through the giving of the work itself, an offer or sacrifice represented by a painting intimately linked to its support which itself becomes a work. The bowels of the figure correspond to those of the panel, thus breaking down the dichotomy between painting and support. Therefore the conception of painting as an illusory space disappears, where it is precisely its foundation that betrays the artifice.



Over the centuries, the icon has been an instrument and vehicle of worship among peoples. In the Christian rite, the debate between the iconophilic and iconoclastic instances, and the act of paying tribute to them of devotion or adoration, was extensive and long. The ambiguity of this medium is explored in the work; in it the haloed figure appears disfigured by a violent iconoclastic act and is represented intent on grasping the nature of the damage directed towards her face. It appears hollowed out and disfigured in a depersonalizing fury. The delicate gesture of the hands, and the lithe attitude of the body, nevertheless betray a subtle eroticism, casting the shadow of an ambiguous satisfaction.

In painting, the inclusion of elements intended to symbolize a certain concept has often been present. In this case, those represented here have always had a positive meaning, aimed at life and prosperity. In this alleged praise of life, however, the opposite value of transience is hidden, where the horns of the roe deer, symbol of rebirth, belong to its remains, similarly to the flower its stem is severed; of the orange, an allegory of prosperity, its zest remains and the egg, with its many emblematic facets, is presented in its polished surface, corrupted by cracks and imperfections. The result is therefore an image of illusions, also expressed in form, through impossible interpenetrations and above, the bee, a tribute to fifteenth-century paintings.

De Deceptione

Lo Zelo

Figurative representation is not foreseen in the Islamic artistic tradition, since the creative act is the unique prerogative of Allah. However, there is an iconography made up of miniatures, which formal structure is recalled in the work. The subject thus circumscribed relates to the frame in a Jewish-Islamic symbolic dialogue. The palm and cedar in the woman's hands recall the Jewish feast of Sukkot, celebrated at the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, acclaimed mainly by the Zealots. The latter recognized in Christ a potential leader in the rebellion against Roman rule, a disregarded hope that led to the lack of popular support during his trial. The Islamic characters instead, report the dissolution of the acronym Hamas, a political and paramilitary organization active in Palestine. The analogy therefore manifests itself between the latter acronym, which can be translated as "zeal" and the name of the Jewish sect, sharing in addition to the same linguistic root the same basic ideology, which has produced the reputation of terrorists in the respective groups. The entire work therefore moves in a game of analogies and contrasts, where ideologies unite and religions divide, where the formal Islamic matrix is ​​opposed to the central figure, who does not shy away from any mimesis, except for hiding his face.

Inspired by Yvette Chauviré's snapshots on the language of hands, the work attempts to deal with the theme of love mismatch, whereby we see the two images of the rejecting and the rejected juxtaposed. Therefore, if on one side there is the young woman who with her hands suggests a negation, at her side those of the man assume a contorted posture, a symptom of his own suffering. Further contrasts can be found in the backgrounds of the two figures, the lively female one takes on a geometric pattern made up of inverted arrows, while in the darker male one, they are turned upwards, where they indicate the two sexes.

Dittico del Rifiuto (Rifiuto, Tortura)

Trittico della Diaspora, o sulla Dispersione (Sis, Deir el-Zor, Ararat)

Inside the triptych, each painting has a specific name, which identify precise geographical places and which, following one another, trace a geo-temporal path that covers some of the darkest pages in the history of the Armenian people. Starting from Sis, a historic city and religious center of Armenian Christians which subsequently declined in the 15th century following various foreign occupations. Deir el-Zor instead takes us to events much closer to us, being a location in the Syrian desert where the death marches ended during the famous genocide of the early 1900s. Ararat differs from the chrono-geographic discourse, being it the mountain complex identified as the landing site of Noah's ark at the end of the flood, then symbolically becoming the resting place of the victims of the genocide. The triptych therefore exemplifies, recovering the Greek-Roman myth of the Fates, the diaspora of the Armenian people. However, the mythological reference is limited to a formal quotation, since the theme of spinning is linked to the Armenian textile tradition, highlighted by the bottom of the first table (Sis) depicting a carpet (Lori Pambak). The same is then re-proposed in the second painting, (Deir el-Zor) however reduced to pixels and therefore almost unrecognizable, to arrive in the last one, (Ararat) to a black space, on which the verses of the Armenian poet Daniel Varujan stand out, victim of genocide.  

“This is the hour, my soul, which is alone like the cicada
you rest on the peaks;
than in uncorrupted stillness
you get inebriated with your singing
like the sun of its light, alone with its light.”

The figure evidently recalls the crucifixion of Jesus Christ albeit in an unusual iconographic key, placing the accent only on the feet of the tortured, thus fleeing from clear personifications with the Messiah. This choice is justified by the nail, which, driven into the table, causes an emergency whistle to hang from it, an instrument that accompanies life jackets. This element therefore draws a parallelism between the martyrdom of the son of God and the victims of the Mediterranean Sea of ​​our time. The verse taken from the Gospel of Luke which serves as the title of the work "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing" also marks an analogy with the contemporary social context, although the work is far from being partisan, for it speaks of the dead, and the dead as such have no colour.

Luca 23:34

Fireflies Never Leave

In the folk culture of central-west Africa there are many myths and stories related to tribal magic; in particular between Ghana and Togo, there is what is called Adze, a vampire who wanders around in the form of a firefly and which, once captured, reacquires human forms. The work is therefore based on this ancient belief to create a parallelism with contemporary local socio-economic situations, where the Adze embodies the phenomenon of neocolonialism of the new emerging powers, primarily China, which "vampirize" African states. The subject depicted therefore finds himself surrounded by a swarm of fireflies against a background that evokes the facial paintings of the tribes that bear the aforementioned myth. Furthermore, on the shoulder, there is a hand with the Chinese characters "沉默" (silence) on the side, which cast a shadow on the presumed gesture of reassurance.

The two tables alternately depict two dreamlike and geometric landscapes that dialogue with each other in an understanding and contrast of light and color. The warmth of the first welcomes a totem, or a tower, in a solitary space with a desert flavor, on which an unnatural hot and burning daylight is reflected. The second instead offers to the eye two mysterious cerulean pyramids standing out in the cold tones of a still and frozen environment.

Impressioni Metafisiche

La Madre Defunta

In 1966 China witnessed the beginning of one of the most violent breaks with the past in history consisting in the systematic destruction of the culture prior to the advent of communism, liquidated as "old bourgeois". The work therefore focuses on the legacy of that period, placing the emphasis on the loss, denial and oblivion of the past. The figure wears traditional Qing clothes of which only the shapes can be guessed as the flat white background, a color traditionally used for funeral rites, conceals its shape. The gold background that surrounds it is torn, revealing beneath it a violent red on which the title of Mao's libretto stands out, an emblematic book of the revolutionary period. The objects in the woman's hands bear witness to a mutilated culture, the lotus flower, an important flower in the Buddhist religion, has withered and from the burnt fan emerge, instead of the wooden frame, votive incense to the dead. On it are also painted scenes inspired by the illustrations of the painters of the Ming and Qing dynasties and there is a poem by Chenz Ziang, a poet of the Tang period.

Song on Youzhou Terrace

"I look back — I do not see the ancients;
I look ahead — can't see the generations to come
I brood on the endlessness of Heaven and Earth,
And tears stream down — I stand alone."

The wand laid like a dumb quill, the abandoned clothes like an inkblot.
No gaze, no figure, not even gold is left to maintain the illusion.
The wood remains, as in the beginning.. after all it has always been about that, only wooden planks.
The Hermeneut is no more.

Il Ritiro dell'Ermeneuta