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Italian artists creates Pope Francis portrait measuring five acres as symbol of peace

2013-09-07

It's probably the largest artistic portrait of Pope Francis ever rendered. It takes up an entire growing field outside the city of Verona, in Italy. The artist,Dario Gambarin, uses a tractor to sculpt large portraits from the earth, but also other images loaded with meaning. For this portrait, his inspiration came with from the Popes appeal to work for peace in Syria.  

DARIO GAMBARIN
Artist
"I think that everything he says, he means it. He has this strong, direct force, and during Sunday's Angelus, it hit me! I was watching TV when he said, 'Never again war,.' And from there, I felt my mind churning, and said I need to do something too, do my small part.”

The Italian artists work of art takes up nearly five acres! His art is both ephemeral, because it lasts only hours, but it's also ecological, because his work is only possible in between harvests and the sowing of new crops.

DARIO GAMBARIN
Artist
"It's ephemeral because, like with a performance, it has to be filmed just when it's done. After an hour or two, you can't see it anymore, because the humid earth comes to the surface. But then the sun bakes it, and the piece disappears.”

Gambarin has done portraits of other leaders and personalities, like Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, and even Mickey Mouse. He created a piece after the nuclear leak at Fukushima, Japan, and after Benedict XVI announced his resignation. This artist develops his pieces without points to tell him where to go, so the only way to check his work is through aerial photographs.

DARIO GAMBARIN
Artist
"To begin, I make a sketch, a design. I try to find the essential lines in the face, and draw only those. It's as if I'm cutting pieces of cloth to paste them on paper. Then, I check out the field on a tractor, and try to find mental points of references. After that, I just let myself go, and since I don't see anything, I'm in this sort of trance, then I start the piece.”

Gambarin also does more traditional paintings on canvass to expose at galleries. He learned how to drive a tractor as a child, since he comes from a rural family. Now he fuses those skills with the artistic methods he developed over time, to create unique artwork. 


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