Acquired jointly with the National Galleries of Scotland through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
Francesco Clemente is an Italian painter born in Naples in 1952. At the time this photograph was taken, he lived part of the time in New York, Rome and Madras. Clemente came to the fore internationally in the late 1970s and 1980s, when expressive, figurative painting became popular again. The pose and facial expression that he adopts are those of a saint or holy man. Mapplethorpe, who grew up a Catholic, uses the iconography of Catholic imagery to bring out something of the saintly seeker-after-truth in Clemente, who regularly spent time in India where he was inspired by the richness of the culture and religious practices.