The overused comparison between Caravaggio and realist painters does not really suit Luigi Benedicenti. It is somewhat reductive to confine the historical horizon only to a sole artist, even of such skilfulness as the Lombard master. The work of Benedicenti is deeply rooted in the still-life tradition that sprouted in Europe in the late XVI century, embodied by such masters as Bosschaert the Elder and Bruegel the Elder, whose accurately descriptive paintings were often employed for scientific purposes. Such naturalism reached its apogee during the XVII century in Rome and Naples with painters as Pietro Paolo Bonzi, Giovan Battista Ruoppolo or Giuseppe Recco specialised in the production of lavish still-lives, swarming with groceries, bovine carcases, game, shining fish and iridescent shellfish of unusual shape.
Notwithstanding Luigi Benedicenti has a strong independent personality which cannot be fully explained through the prism of his precursors. After having deeply meditated on their works, absorbed the symbolic value, Luigi moved away from this genre. He came up with a completely new style, what the critic Claudio Malberti defined as ‘Realismo Estremo’ or ‘Extreme Realism’. Benedicenti replaces the fish and meat that used to decorate the dining rooms of the leisure class with contemporary Italian patisserie, ice cream and classy drinks. However the change in subject matter is not the only innovation introduced by Benedicenti. Luigi is a son of our times and as such he uses all the technical means at his disposal. The strong artificial lights utilized during the early stages of his paintings allow him to get the essence of the subject depicted and convey the same sensorial feelings that the object would produce in real life. Benedicenti’s style – clear, immediate, shiny of multicoloured reflections – is the result of years of intense study and tireless practice.