The Renaissance influenced much of the world’s most acclaimed art. From the feminine muses of John William Waterhouse and William-Adolphe Bouguereau to the dignified portraits of Hans Holbein the Younger, the beautiful images of these skilled master artists are some of the most recognizable in the world.
Until recently, they’ve been confined to their original canvases, set against old-world backdrops. Photographer and artist Alexey Kondakov uses a creative method to present these classical characters in a whimsical new light with his “Napoli Project.” By expertly superimposing figures from famous paintings onto backdrops of life in modern-day Italy, he creates a fantastical contrast of old and new.
The images are so seamlessly blended with his photographs of mundane, modern life that they appear to belong there – having somehow escaped the constraints of time to be caught using laundromats, playgrounds, and public transportation – centuries after their time. Images that were originally painted in oil fit effortlessly in Kondakov’s photographic backdrops as if they had always been there.
The Ukrainian-born artist has gained international acclaim for his project, first displayed in his native Kyiv and then in Naples – the home of the Renaissance. Kondakov says that his inspiration came from a realization that some things never change. People interact, celebrate, laugh, grieve, and love in many of the same ways they did centuries ago.
The idea for the “Napoli Project,” currently expanded under the new title, “Daily Life of Gods,” was born when Kondakov visited a museum and noticed a painting of people laughing and drinking wine together. The similarity to modern-day life struck him, and he began to explore the comparison between old and new, saying, “I thought, some things have not changed in a long while.”
Kondakov’s Instagram page features his entire collection of photographs and information about upcoming shows.