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If R. Browning was interested in what he called “The soul’s study”, we can say that the French painter Olivier Bartoli explores the frontier between real images and romantic subjectivism.
He tries to communicate the quintessence of human spirit and this is why his figures are painted in a lucid, harmonious and unconscious self-revelation.
The technique of his paintings illustrates a step in development from the realist to impressionist styles, extending  the significance of painting through allusions to figures who give spiritual bonds between reality and dream, hope and fear, emotional self and states of consciousness.
To make us see life and dream afresh thorough his paintings, he depicts the spontaneity of natural feelings, remembering C.F.Alexander’s verses “Each little flower that opens , each little bird that sings, he made their glowing colors, he made their tiny wings”
Olivier Bartoli uses primary colours to define  depth emotions and shapes and he is linked to the Flemish Baroque artist Anthony Van Dyck for the smooth  bright, color schemes.  Emphasizing natural beauty, he is able to create vivid images that render the reality of the moment, uplifting  the human spirit to the highest level.
His works contain intense details and have a psychological rendering of thoughts surrounded by  an allegorical atmosphere, remembering P. Eluard’s verses “C’est la douce loi des hommes de changer l’eau en lumière, le rêve en réalité »
He is linked to the German Renaissance  artist A.Durer for the  frontal and highly symmetrical portraits but one of the primary striking points of Bartoli’s  art is the lack of conventional background without regard to time or place because he is interested in the  imaginative and symbolical elements that highlight  the spiritual evolution of the moment, remembering E.Dickinson’s verses  “A light exists in Spring…A color stands abroad on solitary fields that science cannot overtake but human nature feels”.
Another aspect of the images is the artist’s observation of details because he wants to represent  subjects and sentiments of silent dreams in a variety of forms, shapes and colours, remembering Ovidius: “Ignoti nulla cupido”.
He is therefore interested in the world of children and could be linked to  the French academic and traditionalist painter W.A. Bouguereau who  captured the soul of youth children.
We can notice an accurate rendering of the human forms and  in the paintings "La vie est un rêve" fillette , "Rayon de soleil" 20130809  , "Charmeur"  20130808 he portrays children conveying the tenderness in  lively images,  augmenting  the depth and importance of glances, underlining  innocence and beauty, reality and dream, remembering  Shakespeare’s verses “Dream in light years, challenge miles, walk step by step”.
Bartoli’s works have highly symbolic meanings and the  painting "Rêver" rêver remembers Munir Mezyed’s verses “The word lies in the bed of my voice till it gives birth to the ode then it goes back to your breast”.
It is important to notice that the works are not completely symmetrical, the strands of hair fall differently on either side and it seems that the children are absorbed in their dreams, remembering D. Adams’s verses “He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it”.
In the depiction of beauty and femininity, he is influenced by Peter Lely’s portraiture style also if Bartoli’s women are depicted in their natural beauty and do not wear luxurious jewelers.
Everything is depicted with precision and awareness of composition but the background is black, emphasizing the artist’s monograms that give the canvas a sculptural quality.
He is a fashionable portrait painter and the painting "Manouche"  could be connected to S.Mallarmé’s verses  “Dreams have as much influence as actions
His graceful portraits are very charming and in the painting "Hot and cold" chaud froid he captures the souls and spirits of his subject,  remembering C.Rossetti’s verses “In happy dreams I hold you full in night…your smile makes day of night” 
For the classical use of composition and form used in the painting "The holly spirit temple" 20130804 , Bartoli can be linked to J.Arany’s verses “In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities
 In the painting "Nostalgie" tristesse he manages to capture the nuances of insecurity, the search for identity but the eloquently romantic expression reveals the sincerity of the woman’s feelings, remembering N.Gaiman “Dreams are real. But they are made of viewpoints, of images, of memories and puns and lost hopes”.
The painting "Tigre" tigre3 could be connected to  W.Blake’s verses “Tyger! Burning bright in the forests of the night what immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry?”
Therefore, with the key elements such as colour, perspective and the expressions of passions and melancholy  he is able to create  imaginative and expressive canvas that speak to the heart,  capturing the subtlest feelings  and the most meaningful nuances of mood and personality, remembering Aristotle’s statement “Hope is a waking dream”.
Cappello Maria Pia
Copyright                                                                                                         Rome, 18 August 2013

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