Ranieri's work dazzles the viewer at once with immersive color and complex forms both natural and constructed in appearance. But appreciating these paintings requires prolonged viewing.

The diagram at right generalizes a painting's regions, and how elements in one region may balance or oppose another. We will use this to tour the scene of the work Porta Gemina below.

It has two opposing halves. The eye is drawn to the lower quadrants which have eliptical forms whose respective lighting and surrounding patterns differ greatly. Before we can enjoy these places, the central vertical column draws our gaze. In it, a prominent structure emerges with an altar encased in fiery orange shapes. Via a diagonal path, we find ourselves calmed by the cooler region in the upper left. Immediately we plunge into the bath of blue color below it, relaxed by the green world within. Is the oblong shape a doorway into this world? Or does it pass through to the other side?


Diagram of a painting's regions: quadrants, vertical columns, horizontal registers, and diagonal sectors.

PORTA GEMINA, of the Domus Aurea series

View looking down at the top edge of a painting. The viewer is standing at the bottom of the diagram. Looking at the canvas on the wall, they see into the painting as if gazing through a window. The lines and arrows represent the possible sight lines into the scene.


Through prolonged viewing, we find ourselves continuing to stroll for as long as we like, pulled deeper, crossing, returning.

A three-dimentional representation of this strolling is depicted at left. When we enter Porta Gemina, we move straight through the blue portal at the lowel left of the painting. Is the central gateway floating above or behind the red space? Or is it an archway in a wall of red stone? As we pass through the door, we enter far into this space, meandering to the right. Then we walk back along the road by the altar, pass it, and exit by the door at the lower right.

Many possibilities exist, and each time we look at the canvas the journey is unique. Gaze for long intervals at these works. Where do you find yourself? What world exists just around the corner?

We discover that the canvases of Ranieri are certainly not two-dimensional works, nor even three-dimensional works. They are fourth-dimensional experiences: exciting, pleasing, soothing, transforming us.



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