Massimo Papi’s Poetic Universe: a journey through painting and science


A crowded opening in Rome for “Quadri viventi” (Living paintings), the latest exhibition of Massimo Papi’s paintings, on display at Galleria della Pigna. Prestigious names from the Italian capital’s political, medical and artistic circles attended, once again confirming the sound success met by this scientist-artist, who has spent the last two decades treading in the steps of great artist and painter Alberto Burri, a doctor himself.


Papi’s creative universe astounds and fascinates spectators as he turns “the colors of dermatology” into authentic poetry and real works of art. Angelandreina Rorro contemporary art historian who presented the exhibition says

in Massimo Papi – always passionate about art and drawing, a dermatologist by choice and a painter for passion – the encounter of painting and dermatology has proved particularly fruitful in terms of observation and creativity

In 2009, this led him to inaugurate DermArt, which he describes as a convention/meeting open to doctors, biologists, nurses, cosmetologists, artists, critics and art historians, to discuss and further explore together any common interpretations and grounds between the appearance of ill skin and the closest aspects of visual art. In other words, dermatology seen as art.

And Papi’s pictorial research as the reflection and elaboration of his medical practice. Over our long-standing collaboration, I have had the chance to admire all his works: his first spontaneous attempts as a boy and young man, his more recent experimentations with the very pigments and color solutions used in dermatology (colors that are beneficial to the skin), his more and more conscious creations as an adult, as a dermatologist trying to conjugate both souls living in him.

For his part, writer and art critic Vittorio Maria de Bonis has coded the esthetic references and lyrical dimension of Papi’s work: “Blurred, poetical framings, bodies bearing the marks of medications and illness, studied faces painted with ironic affection.

In Massimo Papi’s universe, Bacon’s liquefactions and Mafai’s painful expressivity blend in a final poetic alchemy where mankind’s lyric, confident curiosity mixes with the yeast of hope, even beyond Fausto Pirandello’s pages of raw realism. An ode to life, bodies, and things reconciled at last.”

Raffaele Lauro

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