The artist was born in Naples, Italy, and grew up splitting his time between Italy, France and Spain, where he was surrounded by some of the most famous works of art in the world. These images seeped into his subconscious and form the background source material for his whimsical style of art-making, which he creates using the most contemporary medium of them all: the computer.
To create these cheeky contemporary works, Del Prete looks to the works of artists like Baroque masters Diego Velazquez and Caravaggio. He works in the style of formal portraiture, with carefully considered compositions filled with rich details and moody chiaroscuro. while imbuing this academic style with a modern, street art sensibility, he adds tongue-in-cheek graffiti tags in pieces like a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II scrawled with “God Save Me!” in neon pink.
The figures in Del Prete’s work aren’t always recognizable, but when they are—as in the case of Died This Way (2014), in which a figure of singer Lady Gaga takes on mythical, Brobdingnagian proportions while keeping her signature dramatic makeup—the work adds an element of Pop Art reference-making to their otherwise sedate appearance. Other pieces, meanwhile, reference current events and issues, like a young boy painted like a Spanish noble, his clothing nearly bursting open in a reference to the growing obesity epidemic.
In this way, Del Prete is able to take the past and bring it into the present, or as he puts it: “Taking famous paintings and reworking them allows me to give them a new meaning that is applicable to today’s crazy world.”