Riccardo Mayr, “Escape from Gliese 832c,” after Guido Reni, 17th century, oil on canvas, 49 x 68 inches

Gallery 30 South in Pasadena, California, is certainly caught up in the Star Wars phenomenon that has captivated millions for decades. This exhibition features a rare collection of 17th- and 18th-century paintings remixed by Italian artist Riccardo Mayr. We’ll let you be the judge…

On view now through January 2018 at Gallery 30 South in Pasadena, California, “Religious Paintings of the Expanded Galaxy” is a fascinating exhibition of reimagined 17th- and 18th-century paintings by artist Riccardo Mayr. In each of the reproductions, Mayr has superimposed Star Wars characters or effects directly onto the canvas. “The Star Wars iconography added to the antique oil paintings are part of the exclusive exhibition and the only one of its kind scheduled to take place in the U.S.,” reads the gallery’s press release. “It is a look into a family’s incredible history and a new modern day pop culture phenomenon. Star Wars and fine art collectors around the globe will have the opportunity to experience that bigger-than-life presentation where all art pieces are for sale.

Riccardo Mayr, “Arc of Constantine and Star Destroyer,” after Franz Kaisermann, 1765-1833, etching with hand color, 11 3/4 x 16 5/8 inches

“One may have never known what existed within the vast collection of family art in Italy until the artist, Riccardo Mayr, inventoried that family collection upon the death of his mother. At that time, Riccardo came across a collection of some very damaged paintings in their ancestral villa in Ferrara, Italy. A conservator informed Mayr that the paintings were worth less than what it would cost to restore. Mayr then upcycled each painting, combining religious art of the past with pop culture mythology of today. The paintings which Mayr has used include works by Franz Kaisermann and painters in the School of Ferrara. Although his method stands to be controversial, the paintings were actually saved using his technique.

Riccardo Mayr, “Manchild,” Ferrarese School, 18th Century, oil on canvas, 27 x 23 inches

“Although widely controversial due to the nature of 17th- and 18th-century paintings being old and important, each painting has been given a new life and opportunity for collectors with the transformation featuring the Star Wars saga. The collection is a tribute to Star Wars and an exceptional opportunity for collectors to own rare and unique one-of-a-kind art pieces.

Riccardo Mayr, “The Long Lost Hologram Message,” Ferrarese School, 17th century, oil on canvas, 31 x 25 inches

“Examples of the collection include the painting titled ‘The Long Lost Hologram Message’ painted over a 17th century Ferrarese School painting titled ‘St. Francis of Paolo’ or ‘The Escape from Glies 832c,’ after Guido Reni painted on a 17th-century painting titled ‘The Escape to Egypt.’

“Much like the movie in the theaters, collectors are mesmerized by the paintings, which give new credibility to the value of collecting both art and movie memorabilia. It’s a new take or ‘mash up’ as some call it, of art breathing an unexpected life into a movie or theme.”

To learn more, visit Gallery 30 South.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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