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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Luca Maleonte: Rome Street Artist does Francesco Totti

By Alice, on via Casilina Vecchia
RST follows, recognizes, and appreciates the work of a small group of serious street artists, Roman and otherwise, whose work has appeared in the city.  Among them are C215, Hogre, Alice and, most recently--a discovery of only weeks ago--Luca Maleonte.

Maleonte's Vespe, in Quadraro

Maleonte recently made a big splash in Quadraro--a suburb on both sides of via Tuscolana--where he drew a series of wasps/"vespe" to commemorate the efforts of the area's people to harass, irritate, and disrupt the German occupation of the city in 1943/1944. Romans have long memories for that occupation, and many continue to dislike Germany, things German, and Germans for acts committed 70 years ago.

Our favorite Maleonte is just two blocks from our apartment in via Olbia, not far from San Giovanni in Laterano and within a few blocks of where Totti grew up.  It's a 3-story drawing of AS Roma soccer legend Francesco Totti, accomplished on a school building at the corner of via Aquila and via Farsalo.  Totti may have attended school there, or the location may have been chosen because it's across the street from an athletic field where the blossoming star learned his trade.  Despite its simplicity, it's instantly recognizable as Totti. The artist's name is at left, rendered here as Luca/Male/Onte and often written as one word: Lucamaleonte.  He was born in 1983.

Maleonte's "Vecchio a Chi?", in San Giovanni

The Totti is the first part of a Maleonte cycle, "Contemporary Mythology," carried out under the auspices of 999CONTEMPORARY--which provided all the funds--and the local government of the area, Rome's 7th muncipio.  The title of the work--"Vecchio a Chi?"--"Old to Whom?"--was Totti's response when, at age 37, critics called him "old."  Maleonte intends the work to engage the idea of aging in contemporary society.  The artist works in a stencil style that combines contemporary street art with touches of 15th-century medieval.

The Totti work, tagged.  

Unfortunately, the original work has been "tagged"--that is, written over, in this case in a limited way, the tagging occurring only at the bottom of the portrait.  Even so, the original work is a significant one and, from one we have learned of the ethical traditions of street art, should have been left alone.

For photos of Maleonte accomplishing the Totti work, see

Luca Maleonte's contribution to a Macro Testaccio exhibit on street art.  It has an Adam-and-Eve look,and is
titled "Allegory: The Future Flees the Present and Takes Refuge in the Past".  The
exhibit is in La Pelanda and is free.  

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