Raffaele Riva

Raffaele Riva is an Italian artist from Milan. He is a painter, sculptor and engraver. Raffaele’s father was a craftsman, an engraver, and a lithographer. As his son grew up, his father showed him the different techniques he used to create prints, significantly influencing Raffaele’s artistic inclinations. His first memories of drawing involve the sketching of his own hands after school class to provide stimulation for their development.

Raffaele Riva attended the Accademia di Brera but was not interested in the formal training. Instead, he preferred to go behind the backs of his professors. He was a frequent visitor at Galleria Pesaro, where he watched and studied Tommaso Minardi’s works, significantly influencing him. Riva believed that art should be created with freedom and not by following any set rules- thus, he rejected painting in oils and pastels in favour of lesser-known techniques such as tempera. In tempera painting, the colours are mixed with water and applied to a base coat of egg white. The colours then come together on the surface in a way that resembles paint but are opposite in consistency. After some time, the colours fade and blend, creating a natural texture of light and dark. Raffaele Riva preferred this technique to another popular tempera medium, gouache, created by mixing gum Arabic with water. The disadvantage of gouache is that it can take much longer to dry than usual.

Raffaele Riva‘s primary interest was in painting and sculpture, but he also worked with engraving machines which allowed him to create works more abstract than his paintings though still symbolic. In the early 2000s, Riva began experimenting with vitreous enamel to create relief prints. This process involves applying melted glass to a plate and then applying a new layer of glass over the image. The image is then inked to print. This technique can take 1- 4 days depending on the printed piece. Go to this page for additional information.


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