Italian painter, draughtsman, and . After graduating from the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence in 1969, he travelled around Europe and to India. He began exhibiting his work in 1971, a year after moving to Rome, later referring to his early productions as ‘mythical '. In the late 1970s he returned to and quickly established himself as a major artist of the movement in Italian painting known as the
. In large, vibrantly coloured oil paintings such as ‘In Strange and gloomy Waters a White Spot Shines, a Little Girl Flies by my Side'
(oil on , 2.00×3.56 m, 1979; Amsterdam, Stedel. Mus.) he celebrated man's sensuality, animal vitality and closeness to the natural world. Cultural and specifically art-historical references abound, especially to and to earlier Italian art, with a swirling, rhythmic application of paint in themes of eroticism, melancholy and death. In Water Bearer
(oil and on canvas, 2.07×1.70 m, 1981; London, Tate) and related paintings, larger-than-life, heroic male figures imbued with an enigmatic sense of mission are Chia's main protagonists as manifestations of his own identity; he explored similar imagery not only in and prints (e.g. an published in 1983 that reversed the of Water Bearer
, see 1984 exh. cat., p. 46) but also in sculptures in and sometimes exuberantly painted in vivid colours, as in Man with Ram
(h. 1.52 m, 1983; priv. col., see Hannover exh. cat., pp. 143–4).
Sandro Chia (exh. cat., ed. C. Haenlein; Hannover, Kestner-Ges., 1983)
Sandro Chia (exh. cat. by E. de Wilde, S. Chia and A. van Gravenstein, Amsterdam, Stedel. Mus., 1983)
Sandro Chia: Prints, 1973–1984 (exh. cat., intro. H. Geldzahler; New York, Met., 1984)
Sandro Chia (exh. cat. by D. Honisch, A. Bonito Oliva and W. Herzogenrath, Berlin, Neue N.G., 1992)