Servitium Amoris, 2021 by Saturno Buttò
Mitchell Pluto
6 min

Eros and Agape: An Interview with Saturno Buttò

6 min

Saturno Buttò’s artistic creations represent a modern perspective on Classical European art, capturing the essence of distinguished Western masters. With his unique touch, Buttò adds a melodramatic mood to his work, captivating gothic and dark art enthusiasts worldwide.

Saturno Buttò finds inspiration from a variety of sources, including symbolic rituals, the portrait, figurative painting, and Catholicism. Through his works, he skillfully combines the sensual elements of the human body with a profound spirituality.

Dear Death, 2023 by Saturno Buttò

Fig.1. Dear Death, 2023 by Saturno Buttò

Could you share your place of origin and explain how it influences your work?

I was born and lived near Venice and studied artistic disciplines for 10 years in the city. However, the territory itself contributed little to my education. I mean, for example, to the Venetian “view traditions”, masters such as Canaletto, Bellotto or Guardi never involved me. Artistically speaking, I have a concept of “doing art” diametrically opposed to where the nature of the place should take me. My interest was immediately focused exclusively on the human figure, with no concession to the landscape or otherwise.

Happy Family, 2020 by Saturno Buttò

Fig.2  Happy Family, 2020 by Saturno Buttò

What made you choose the name Saturn?

Saturn is my first name. It may seem strange in fact, especially if associated with my artistic universe, which has decidedly “dark and heavy” characteristics, I might say that the saying: “Nomen Omen”- (Name is sign) is at least relevant this time. However, I am there. I consider it a lucky coincidence.

Annunciazione, 2017 by Saturno Buttò

Fig.3  Annunciazione, 2017 by Saturno Buttò

What medium do you work with and do you have a specific time of day that you prefer to create?

I was initiated, at the time of Art High School, into the practice of classical drawing and I subsequently trained as a painter. Let’s say that, apart from a few others discipline linked to school teaching, my work only uses the ad technique oil, initially on canvas and then moving on to the panel. When I was young, I liked it work from late afternoon and evening, but for a few years I have been painting with greater frequency in the morning and early afternoon.

Svenimento s Caterina, 2019 by Saturno Buttò

Fig.4  Svenimento s Caterina, 2019 by Saturno Buttò

Who are the artists who have most inspired and shaped your artistic style?

I was interested in the history of art and there would be many names to mention who, over the years, have inspired me. But I must also say that when I felt too involved in the work of a particular artist, I tried to “distancing myself” so as not to fall into the mistake of imitating him. However, in technical terms, I really loved Jan Van Eyck, Rembrandt, the Flemish, Titian and Caravaggio, certainly and painting from the nineteenth century. While in conceptual terms, I drew much more from contemporary photography rather than painting. Robert’s works come to mind Mapplethorpe, Joel Peter Witking, to name a few.

Three Angels, 2018 by Saturno Buttò

Fig.5  Three Angels, 2018 by Saturno Buttò

Can you provide details about how the use of live models shaped your narrative and the theme in your work?

I have always liked portraits. I think it all started with the first drawing sessions from life with the model. Even after my studies, I continued to portray people from life for a long time. Then I developed my approach to photography. Once the subject has been established, the camera aids in making the poses and eliminates the need for preliminary drawings. This resulted in greater ease and speed in creating more elaborate scenes. The choice of models results from direct knowledge of them. I dialogue with them long before developing an idea and there must be an excellent feeling. The positive result of a project is mainly determined by how much you know how to put into it and ensuring the models are at ease. Everything else is part of the job...

Dig Lover, 2017 by Saturno Buttò

Fig.6  Dig Lover, 2017 by Saturno Buttò

What experiences motivated you to combine occult themes into your work?

I would like to clarify one thing: I have never dealt with “occult themes” in the sense of my initiation of an esoteric, magical or other nature. My symbolism mainly comes from an interest in religious themes. Of course, there are alchemical symbols and probably (sometimes) of “Satanist” derivation, but they are complementary to the theme of religion, specifically Catholic, which has always had a powerful influence on my artistic research. I conceive the figure I portray as full of eros and spirituality. I consider these elements are indispensable by treating the human being as the only model in my works. Otherwise, I would only see it as a superficial exercise that is decorative.

Danza Macabra, 2022 by Saturno Buttò

Fig.7  Danza Macabra, 2022 by Saturno Buttò

What is your definition of progress and how do you measure it?

Speaking from a personal perspective, I see progress in the quality of the works, the evolution constant, over the years, of the paintings offered to the public. Not so much in the sense technical (which is the most evident) as well as conceptual.

Servitium Amoris, 2021 by Saturno Buttò

Fig.8  Servitium Amoris, 2021 by Saturno Buttò

How does your art contribute to your overall well-being and personal growth?

Painting and creating new things is the purpose of my life and it makes me feel good, not just with myself. If I don’t like or am not convinced by what I’m doing, I get depressed in the workplace.

Ten Years After, 2021 by Saturno Buttò

Fig.9  Ten Years After, 2021 by Saturno Buttò

What do critics and collectors say about your work?

Collectors certainly fall in love with my work to the point of wanting more than one, if not even many. Regarding the critics, I honestly don’t know exactly, but it’s very interesting. What I know is that I don’t need anyone’s consent. I have a lot of clarity in mind about what I have to do. Like it or not, I wouldn’t change my creative line.

Leda ctonia, 2018 by Saturno Buttò

Fig.10  Leda ctonia, 2018 by Saturno Buttò

Are there other areas of interest to you, such as hobbies, films, or books, and do they have some influence on your artistic expression?

Of course, yes. Cinema and books certainly, but music, above all, has always been important to me great help in the creative process. I like to recreate in the studio what I think is the right atmosphere to accompany my work at the easel and beyond. Listen to music and contemplating the work a course of work puts me in an ideal condition to evoke new visions and suggest other works. And I always have a notebook ready in which I then take notes.

Saturno Buttò 2016 clothespin

Fig.11 Saturno Buttò 2016

In the extended Premium edition of the article you can find many more examples of Buttò's dark sensuality

Click HERE for our earlier article on the art of Saturno Buttò: Reflecting Upon Eros, Thanatos, And Chronos

You can follow Saturno Buttò on Instagram

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