Digging by Brian Romagnoli, Lincoln, Ontario. Painted in 1988, at 176 King
Street, 28' by 31'. The mural places the viewers back in approximately
1824 and portrays the three elements of canal building: man-his muscle
power and ingenuity, horsepower and machine power.
approaching the subject of digging the Old Welland Canal, one has to realize
that this was one of the mose awesome engineering projects undertaken in
our history. In order to circumvent the unnavigable Niagara River rapids
and falls, the canal was built to link the Great Lakes to the St. Lawrence
Seaway, using a series of locks between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. It
took four different building periods to complete the task: 1824-29, 1833,
1871-87 and 1912-32."
mural reflects three-major ingredients of canal building; horsepower, machine
power and manpower. In the 'humanistic' tradition, I chose the dominant
figure to be a Herculean man, wielding a pickaxe, in the foreground. There
is a sense of confidence, ingenuity and unwavering conviction in his face,
while his actions speak of a pioneering force as he breaks up the stone.
In the middleground, he is supported by secondary figures - a draught horse
pulling a railcart, and two men trudging up the hill, digging into the
background montage of historic photos was conceived to give further credibility
to the locale of the subject. Perhaps this is a trademark of mine, since
I believe that there is more to painting a mural than just replicating
a big photo on the wall. By creating an 'antique granulized' effect, these
scenes are subdued, and the drama of the foregrounds - which is entirely
original - is increased."
have to be treated differently. They have to be over-dramatized and very
theatrical. It's also very important to do research about the time period
so you can be accurate with the details."
say that when you're in Rome, you should do as the Romans do, and play
out your life like theatre in the streets. After seeing Michelangelo's
Sistine Chapel, I had to wonder whether Wellanders were ready for this
type of extroverseion. Well, they surprised me!"
Virtual Guide's Comments
eloquent and articulate explanation of his work leaves little need for
additional comment. The mural is a powerful depiction of man's dedication
and determination, enabling him to carry ships over a mountain. The mechanical
creations are relegated to the background, by both their position and their
ghostly representation. The essence of the power necessary to complete
the Welland Canal is the man, not his machines. Compare the treatment of
the man in this mural to that offered in "Canal Construction" or "Steam
Engine." Romagnoli presents a celebration of man and a buoyant confidence
in the future of the Welland Canal.
the Artist: Brian Romagnoli, Lincoln, Ontario
Romagnoli is a graduate of both the Ontario College of Art and the University
of Guelph and also studied at the British Institute in Florence, Italy.
The opportunities he had to closely view the works of the old masters influenced
his own work significantly. Brian is comfortable painting various subjects
in several media.
runs a graphic design business and has designed and marketed more than
100 logos for small businesses, corporations and institutions. Through
a second company, he has published several limited edition prints of his
paintings, which are distributed across the country.
has a growing reputation as a "historian with a paintbrush" and leads the
way in the uncharted territory of Canadian heritage art. He has more than
50 art shows to his credit and became the first Canadian to be commissioned
to design Christmas Collector Plates by Royal Copenhagen of Denmark, the
world's oldest manufacturer of plates. This brings a time-honoured tradition
to Canada for the first time. Brian's art appears in private and corporate
collections across North America, China, Japan and Europe.
to First Mural|