‘Sea and Beyond’: Lorenzo Mariotti at Istanbul’s Rahmi Koç Museum


Istanbul’s Rahmi M. Koç Museum, which is the first and only industrial museum in Turkey, is hosting a new exhibition by Italian artist Lorenzo Mariotti. “Sea and Beyond” invites visitors to different experiences with oil paintings revolving around the nautical, architectural and botanical themes.

Born in Rome, Mariotti earned a Ph.D. in civil engineering after studying Classical Antiquity. Working as the department head at Amerigo Vespucci, the legendary training ship of the Italian navy, Mariotti has always been interested in painting. After meeting Maria Luisa Iannetti by chance, from whom he would receive painting tutorials, he started to produce artwork in a wide range from still life to portraiture, from oil painting and watercolors on wood or canvas. Attending many group exhibitions with his works, Mariotti opened his first solo exhibition in 2009.

“Sea and Beyond” is the first exhibition by Mariotti in Turkey. The show at the Rahmi M. Koç Museum offers 33 oil paintings by the artist that are grouped into three main themes reflecting his passions: “maritime, architecture and botanic.”

A work by Lorenzo Mariotti at the “Sea and Beyond” exhibition. (Courtesy of Rahmi M. Koç Museum)

Having acquired his maritime expertise during the years he served as the head of the department on Amerigo Vespucci, Mariotti actually specializes in naval subjects and depicts various ships on his canvases. His big-scale works depicting frigates and destroyers, like Alpino and Carabiniere, are currently on board those frigates. However, “Sea and Beyond” offers a glimpse of the artist’s works depicting evocative marine subjects with some small-scale oil paintings on display.

Touring Rome with his Vespa scooter, Mariotti takes photos of some landmarks in the daylight and paints them at night after the busy working hours. Therefore, some paintings that elaborate on Italy’s spellbinding architectural structures also comprise a large part of his oeuvre. The “Sea and Beyond” exhibition takes us on a journey in the architectural landmarks of Italy as well with some great pieces by the artist. For example, Mariotti’s depictions of the Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as Castel Sant’Angelo; Fountain of the Mascherone and St. Peter’s Basilica makes one feel as if he is standing in front of these structures with extensive and vivid details.

In some of these paintings depicting architectural beauties, Mariotti also adds some scenes from daily life to create a perfect balance between past and present. For instance, the traffic lights that he depicts in front of the glorious view of Castel Sant’Angelo are like a glance at the everyday life in Rome with one foot placed in history.

Another theme that Mariotti focuses on in the exhibition is botanical. In these paintings, the artist depicts some rare plants that make you want to examine the whole day. The liveliness of the plants makes you feel like you are wandering a garden again.

A work by Lorenzo Mariotti at the

What is interesting is that the artist uses the same technique for all types of his paintings whether they depict dreamy landscapes with mesmerizing architectural buildings, a historical frigate or a crew member that tied a rope around his hand. Creating his pieces by him with layers of oil paints, Mariotti balances form and function, art and technique, progress and tradition.

The depictions of artists comprise intense lines and perfectly elaborated touches. As we immediately recognize the dramatic brush strokes of Vincent van Gogh or easily distinguish the decorative style of Gustav Klimt, using elegant gold or colored ornamentation, we can identify the work of Mariotti thanks to his authentic design in paintings.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of “Sea and Beyond” on June 7, Mariotti reported that he visits Istanbul for the second time with this exhibition. Noting that he came in 1998 when he was serving on the Italian navy ship Amerigo Vespucci, the artist continued: “Thanks to Maid of Honor, the Admiral’s Barge built in 1905 for the Royal Navy, I met Rahmi Koç. I made a painting of the Maid of Honor, which is exhibited in the Rahmi M. Koç Museum and presented to Mr. Koç. I was very excited by Mr. Koç’s invitation to open an exhibition in the museum. We had to postpone it for two years due to the pandemic, but we are finally together. As a lover of the sea and painting, I am very happy to have my works exhibited at the Rahmi M. Koç Museum, which houses such a rich collection on the subject of maritime.”

A view from the

Mine Sofuoğlu and Lorenzo Mariotti pose at the opening ceremony of the

Mine Sofuoğlu, general manager of Rahmi M. Koç Museum, also said: “As Rahmi M. Koç Museums, we have a very large maritime collection. There is a valuable collection of life-size boats and yachts, ships, ship equipment objects and ship machinery exhibited in Hasköy Shipyard, one of the main sections of our museum. With the personal collection of our founder, Rahmi M. Koç, who is a sea lover, as well as the contributions of our valuable donors, we shed light on maritime history and strive to transfer maritime culture to future generations. As the museum, we are trying to fulfill our duty for the development of maritime in our country surrounded by seas on three sides. In this context, I believe that Mariotti’s works that go beyond the sea and reflect the snapshots of daily life masterfully will be met with great interest by our visitors.”

The exhibition, which is sponsored by Tofaş, is also supported by Organic Holding and Sacmi. The “Sea and Beyond” exhibition can be visited until Sept. 11, 2022.

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