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  Ambra Mattioli Art Performer, Musician, Writer, Painter, Cabinetmaker Designer

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  • Biography

  • Harpies

  • Harpies and Elements

  • Mith and Metaphor

  • Trials of the Soul

  • Said about me

  • Personal Paint Activity

  • Lithographs


Ambra Mattioli

An artist telling about  ancient, lost in time things that talk to our souls, she is a daughter of the Air and, patient and secretive, is waiting to spread her wings into  free flight.


I graduated in 1979 and, following my family tradition, I started to work in an important and prestigious Bank, which made everybody very proud of me.

It was a dark and uncomfortable time. I knew the 9 to 5 job was not suited for me, at the same time I didn't want to disappoint my parents.

Soon, I tried to compensate the long desk hours, spent on dry financial matters, with sleepless nights of sketching and colouring. Painting was my cure for boredom, my haven from everyday routine.

After a short while, I switched to part-time, fully aware that there was no turning back.

Next  came the exhibitions, a natural forward step, although I didn't expect the general appreciation  with which my paintings were received.

I won a prize in an Art Gallery downtown Rome and the judge, Professor Boezio Balestrelli, in complimenting me for my work, took for granted that I was a well established professional. When I reluctantly told him that I was an amateur with a common job and, moreover, a beginner, his neck became all red. During the following months, he kept insisting I needed a proper artistic education until I surrendered and joined the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome, where he had been teaching for decades. My final exam was at the Scuola Libera del Nudo, where I finally graduated. I ranked first, although I had never followed a single lesson and had kept painting  my usual way. But, at least, I had an official recognition for my “unusual    mastery” as the irreverent Tuscan Boezio (later to become a very dear friend) used to say.


Today, oil painting is the most common technique, but I prefer to paint in tempera and I don't buy my paints in tubes, I like to make them myself. I use sulphates, pigments, saffrons, oils. Mixtures I instinctively knew how to prepare even before someone explained to me their recipes were actually very ancient and shared with me his knowledge of them. My temperas are long lasting, their colours as bright as the Fifteenth Century's temperas must have been, before oxidation took over.


My paintings have been shown both in solo and  group shows, always obtaining very positive reviews from art critics and warm appreciation from the visitors. Some of my works can be found in several Art Yearbooks and Modern Art Catalogues.


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"When Ambra talks about her harpies" by Guglielmo Savini

When Ambra talks about her harpies, or rather her, “Winged sisters” as she likes to call them her  face lights up  and her eyes glow. Like others who are interested in her work I have asked her why she has chosen – if it is a choice – to paint in intense and unusual colours fantastic settings; settings which refer to a past epoch, - one which never existed – and why call her delicate female figures ‘harpies’, when in the common understanding ‘harpy’ is synonymous with a feminine figure that is both ugly and evil natured.

 I have often noted in Ambra what seem to me similarities with the figures of her paintings, and when half joking I asked “Did they really exist?”…… “What do you say, do they exist today?” …… she gave me a slight smile. Ambra does not respond to such questions. A tall woman with delicate features who moves lightly,  she shifts her attention to her paintings...

Harpies and Elements


Ambra Mattioli says of her work, “flying creatures with human characteristics really do exist”.

The images here are only part of the story she says smiling. She explains retelling in a soft voice the events narrated in a book which has long fascinated her: Le Cronache di Etzebur, by Alessandro Maggiora Vergano, published by “Editrice Selearte Moderna” of Milan in 1976.

An archaic branch of the human species, many centuries before man learned the art of writing, flew in the ancient Armenian skies. The oral tradition of the nomads of Kurdistan still tells of an ancient tribe of winged women which terrorised the shepherds of the high planes sending

every kind of evil and misfortune to those who crossed them...

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Myth and Metaphor


Some things have an intrinsic, unique magic. Light filtering through forest tree leaves, rocks shaped by the wind, the twisted trunk of a tree....they never fail to catch my eye. Myths, metaphors figures of speeches, belong to our cultural heritage. They are the shared language that help us understand our everyday life. Some of these things,  shapes full of colours and light, I have depicted as I feel them.

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Trials of the soul


In my paintings there is always a little, hidden extra meaning. In the restlessness of the figure, in the  focusing on a detail or a saturated colour instead of the overall image. It's just a painting, it fixes a single instant, but what happens after that instant has passed? Is it really a tentative expression of the soul?

Sometimes my remarks have been really harsh....brushes rinsing water!

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Said about me


(…) Her most recent activity is focused on the recovery and representation of the fundamental Neters that have interacted with man since the dawn of time, on the universal evolutionary factors, the ancient wisdoms, the primeval forces still at work: everlasting values nowadays  ousted, in her opinion, by egotistic thought, by the wild tendency of man to” have instead of being”.

Her project includes twelve works inspired by the four basic elements, air, water, earth and fire, in various combinations. Her ever present feminine figures, symbolic representation of dynamic evolution, are embedded in wood slates engraved by hand and decorated with silver and gold foil, to underline the preciousness of the consciousness they aim to awake.

The message of her paintings is an hidden treasure we can discover searching for the right key inside the depths of our hearts. (…) By Alberto Algardi


The force of the stroke, springy yet graceful,  and the almost tangible vibration of the colours, create scenic, harmonious volumes, shaped into imaginary forms made real with measure and elegance.

Ambra, with her patient intuition and the use of her hand-made original paints,  imaginatively reconstructs old myths and their hyper-real worlds. She is able to concentrate in her work, with unique creative taste, the emotions and feelings of the intrinsic messages, full of meaningful omens.

Her brush stroke, quick and precise, brings forth in the different postures, both the flow of thoughts and the inner tensions of the figures, enhanced by backgrounds of mostly warm colours or, sometimes,  cold colours but  softened and diluted. Tonal, fragmented volumes harmonically connected, transfigure the objects into symbolic essences,  allowing her poetics to communicate a surreal tension.

A sophisticated, symphonic harmony that, through a careful, bright, intense arrangement of the scenes and a rich chromaticism offers a wide visual space and almost makes tangible the anguishes and hopes involved.   By Vito Cracas


(…)The whole work of Mattioli, born in Rome and now living in peaceful Grottaferrata, is influenced by her moving from city to country, from narrow to open spaces. Her paintings are highly figurative and symbolic, transcending closed spaces to hover in the air or land on a sea shore of faraway horizon. Nothing is static. Every feminine figure is a bird-woman ready to take off and fly high, or walk on waters sustained by a strong passion shown in a fascinating chromaticism that connects the old (is it a coincidence that Mattioli prepares the paints herself with natural ingredients?) with figurative experimentation (unique her touch and her brightness)  that is sometimes influenced by the painter other activities:Theatre and Wood-craft.

Here we are in the philosophic cycle of “panta rei” where fire, air, earth and water merge and create into the soul the spiritual drive of those symbolic messages that express the artist inner quest. (…)     By Piero Marras


Caught in their everyday life. Pictured in their mountains, in their impervious dwellings near the ancient Mare Caspium's shores. Daughters of the Air, surrounded by symbolic atmospheres representing the soul searching expression of the Artist's sensitive nature.

The message is metaphorical and therapeutic if accepted by one's soul.

Air, Water, Earth and Fire, combine and interact in a never ending cycle.

Her paintings immediately recall her name: Ambra. Magnificent crystallization from the Past, enriched by the masterful work of the Present,depicted by this young Artist's skilful hand. She offers us mysterious, surprising encounters, flights into the wonders of remote spaces gilded by time. Sumptuous, bright places that attract us to the inner space of our true self.

Thank you, Ambra, for letting us have a glimpse of your soul.   By Adele Minutillo


There is a beautiful message about life in these paintings depicting the history of this ancient people.

Her brush stroke, precise and sure, is able to touch the soul of the watcher. One catches the evocative pathos of the unusual colours. One feels the suggestion of a message that aims to transcend the hues and lights of mere painting and becomes personal both in the theme and the chromaticism, modern, real sharp, that gives unique character to magnificent icons promising events to be lived or dreamed.  By  Prof.  Boezio Balestrelli


Her work is metaphysic. It is based on logic and its rules, at the same time its images mirror a deep poetic truth, a spiritual one. In her paintings a chance is given to awake the intuition of those who can and want to see it.

The ability of wingless flight frees human substance from earth-binding elements, uncovering (or rediscovering) the dimension of thought capable of influencing the matter and transcend it.  By Jean Claude Gaetani



Personal Paint Activity


  • Città di Grottaferrata - Estemporanea di pittura

  • Spoleto - Festival dei Due Mondi (Arte Festival)        

  • New York (USA) - Video Exposition for Italian Artists, Art Works                              

  • Città di Grottaferrata - “Una Domenica con gli Artisti”

  • Roma - Galleria “Athena Art”

  • Roma - Centro Culturale “CASC - Banca d’Italia”,  Mostra Personale

  • Roma - Galleria “Il Canovaccio” (Studio del Canova), Mostra Personale

  • Roma - Via Margutta,  “Alternativa 94”, Work in Progress

  • Mapello (Bg) - Premio Agazzi 1997 - XIII Concorso nazionale di pittura, acquerello e grafica

  • Città di Soliera (Mo) - 12a Biennale nazionale di pittura

  • Roma - Arte Expo 97,  Fiera di Roma 

  • Città di Albano - “La Cornice”, Mostra Personale

  • Roma - Studio d’Arte “Il Ponte”

  • Roma - Villa Marignoli , “Rassegna d’Arte Contemporanea 1998”

  • Vandoeuvre (Francia) - Centre Culturel André Malraux

  • Roma - Palazzo Santacroce, Istituto Italo-Latino Americano, Artisti a confronto, giugno ’98

  • Londra (GB) - Harrow Arts Centre 98

  • Roma - Arte Expo 98,  Fiera di Roma

  • Roma - Centro Artistico Culturale La Pigna, Palazzo del Vicariato, Mostra Personale

  • Roma - Galleria San Bernardo alle Terme, Associazione Cassiopea, Rassegna d’Arte “Arte ed oltre…”

  • Rosas (Spagna) - “Arte Italiana in Spagna”, maggio ’99

  • San Pietroburgo (Russia) - Artisti Italiani Contemporanei, giugno-luglio ’99

  • Frascati - Studio d’Arte “La Sibilla”, dicembre ’99

  • Città di Marino - Assessorato alla Cultura e Pro Loco di Marino - Sala Esposizioni Palazzo Colonna

  • Mostra Personale, marzo 2000

  • Roma - Palazzo Barberini Sala Giulio Cesare, Rassegna d’Arte “L’emozionale nei molti volti dell’Arte del 2000”

  • Roma - Chiostro dei Padri Rosmini Basilica di San Giovanni a Porta Latina, Centro Culturale Rinascita Artistica,  Mostra d’Arte “Dai  Colli  Albani a Porta Latina”, aprile 2000 -  Winner of the first prize

  • Roma - Galleria Il Leone, Rassegna d’Arte “Il Giubileo ed il 2000” 

  • Parigi - Espace Richelieu, Galleria Le carre d’or, ott. 2000

  • New York - ArtExpo2000

  • Reggio Emilia - Fiere di Reggio Emilia, Mostra di Arte Contemporanea  “Immagina” 2000

  • New York- Q.C.C. Art Gallery / Cuny, Baysite, Jan 2001

  • Roma - Palazzo Barberini Sala Giulio Cesare, rassegna d’Arte “Works of Art”, maggio 2001

  • Roma - Galleria l’Angelo Azzurro, Omaggio a René Magritte

  • Reggio Emilia - 4a Mostra Mercato di Arte Contemporanea  “Immagina”, 2002

  • MercArt 04 – Fiera Internazionale dell’Arte Lugano, 2004