Retired repairman filled his B.C. house with near perfect replicas of masterpieces he paints himself

Last month, a few days after the the National Post reported on the mysterious disappearance of the most expensive painting ever sold, Leonardo da Vinci’s long lost portrait of Jesus of Nazareth, an email came to the newsroom.

It was one sentence long: “Do you really want to know where the Salvator Mundi is?”

Attached was a photograph of a slim, bearded, grey-haired man, holding that morning’s newspaper as if in a proof-of-life image from kidnappers, and behind him, in an ornate wooden frame, was the unmistakable adult Jesus in a blue robe, two fingers of his right hand raised, a transparent orb in his left. On closer inspection, there was only the slightest sense — maybe in the eyes, or the crook of the Christ figure’s unsmiling lips — that this image was not quite as ethereally striking as the one for which a Saudi prince paid $450-million, before it vanished without explanation in advance of a scheduled exhibition in Abu Dhabi.

In fact, this was not the original Salvator Mundi, just a nearly perfect replica, and the sender was the artist’s friend. But that revelation is not where the story ends. It is where it begins, because that replica is just one item in a private collection of paintings that must be one of the great artistic wonders of Canada — an entirely derivative collection of mostly life-sized masterworks from Italian Renaissance luminaries such as Leonardo and Michelangelo to Dutch Old Masters and English landscapes and French Impressionists, all painted by the precise hand of one retired electrical motor and generator repairman, Cosimo Geracitano, 71.

His house in Coquitlam, BC, is like the Louvre, the Uffizi, and the Rijksmuseum all in one, chock full of famous paintings, plus a few masterpieces whose originals are not in museums at all, such as his living room ceiling, which reproduces Michelangelo’s famed Sistine Chapel scene of God creating Adam.

There are 45 in total, including 18 in his living room alone. Salvator Mundi is his favourite because of the magic in the eyes.

“I take my time,” he said of his artistic copying. “I take a long time.”

But there is only so much time and so much space. Today, three and a half years after the death of his wife Caterina saw Geracitano’s artistic output spike dramatically to become a daily exercise, with more than 20 painted since her passing, he is running out of display space.

“There is no more room in my house,” he said in an interview, sounding at once sad and proud.

As he tours a reporter around, he says that living among these works of other people’s art makes him feel like Lorenzo de’ Medici, popularly known as the Magnificent, the great arts patron of Renaissance Florence.

Cosimo Geracitano, a replica painter is working on recreating the Allegory of the Planets and Continents by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, at his home in Coquitlam, B.C.

Those of which he is especially proud include da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine, 1490, which he painted one hair at a time; …read more

Source:: Nationalpost

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