If, like many, you've decided to embrace a staycation this year but are missing the charms of a different country, then allow yourself to safely escape to Italy's Amalfi Coast in Roberto Pagliarulo's latest series of oil paintings.
Bright, luminous and in almost neon colours, the landscape artworks in An Amalfi Dream are romantic and dreamy, populated by classical statues, mythical messengers and vibrant pink trees – all taking influence from Roberto's cultural heritage, as his father is Italian.
Like artists Peter Doig and David Hockney, Roberto paints the landscape with nostalgia, magic realism and as an expression of his identity. Over the last five years, he has been drawn especially to the Amalfi Coast: "Amalfi is a particularly dramatic expression of Italy," he tells us. "Towering views around winding bends, cliffs, masses of sea, always there in the background, with lemons, flowers, tomatoes and trees in the foreground pushing your eyes into the blue and green of the seascapes."
On show at Highgate Contemporary Art in London from 4 September, Roberto will exhibit 20 oil paintings alongside ink drawings featuring sweeping views from the Villa Cimbrone in Ravello, Positano's pebble beachfront, motorboats in the Mediterranean Sea, and the striking Church of Saint Mary of the Assumption with its Middle Eastern dome, decorated in dazzling yellow, white and black tiles.
The Amalfi Coast is a place steeped in literary history, of which Roberto – who studied American Literature at Cambridge University – is well aware. It has inspired writers including E. M. Forster, D. H. Lawrence, and John Steinbeck, who wrote: "Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone". Playing on the notion of myth and dreams, Roberto's cast of characters include fauns and satyrs.
He also adds a dream-like atmosphere through his enchanting and unconventional use of colour. In works such as 'Ravello, Amalfi' trees are painted purple, with complementary yellow foliage. In others, pathways appear in deep magenta. The minimalist and Matisse-like blocks of colour seem to cast a magical spell over Italy.