The painter Hero Paradiso was born in Santeramo in Colle (Bari) in 1912. He was son of Bartolomeo, a well-known artist of the town. At the age of 14, he held his first solo show in the salons of Bari’s Art Gallery, under the patronage of the city provincial administration which awarded him a five-year scholarship allowing him to continue his studies.
Here is the unabridged text of a resolution dated 1927 found in the town records by Hero’s great friend, Mr Gianni Stano: Resolution n.2, 10 January 1927: Purchase of a little picture at a cost of 100 lire painted by the young Hero Paradiso (15 years old) who, notwithstanding his youth, held an exhibition in Bari a short time ago with great success.
He has great artistic talent and it is very likely that in the near future he will become a brilliant artist. In Naples, he was Vincenzo Irolli’s pupil and he improved his preparation in the Vatican Museums. The humanist Tommaso Fiore helped him in the study of humanities. He set up exhibitions in the most important centres of Italy and in Vienna and Paris. In 1946 he moved to South America and settled in Rio de Janeiro for 15 years. After a string of successes, he exhibited in all of Latin America’s capitals. In 1961 he was invited to Hollywood and he stayed in the residential quarter of Beverly Hills for 12 years. During this period he also showed great talents in sculpture. He acquired U.S. citizenship because of his artistic talent and in the USA he worked a long time with the galleries of “Sloane and Wilder” and “A.A. Brothers”. His works appear in the world greatest private collections. During his last years abroad, he exhibited in Canada and in the Far East (Tokyo, Hong Kong and Calcutta). In September 1974 he returned to his home town where he continued to paint feelingly until the end of his life (09/10/94).
Hero Paradiso’s long career was strongly influenced by the lesson of his father Bartolomeo, who was a great artist too and the pupil of a famous Apulian painter of the 800s, Francesco Netti. Detached from every formal satisfaction, his works are characterised by a solid and well-built structure enabling him to deal with complex themes full of great emotional charge.
Each element of his paintings contributes to the understanding of the message lying in the work. Most of Paradiso’s artistic beliefs aim at conveying the ideal values at the basis of events of great symbolic importance. From the most tumultuous to the most expressive images, Paradiso always carries his composition towards a new interpretation of reality reaching the level of transcendent images. The use of colour together with his palette knife technique show a refined mastery of his field compared with the great painters of the past.
His favourite subjects are landscape and still life and they show a strong and endless love of his land, Apulia, of which he adores its natural scenes and its costumes.