"The question that they usually ask me is: How can a 30-year-old artist, being young, be so fascinated by the aging and wrinkles that mark each person’s face?" artist Antonio Finelli explained in an email to The Huffington Post. Indeed, judging by his works, the Italian artist does seem to possess an uncanny fascination with the ways of wrinkles, furrows and creases. The way skin thins and folds over time.
Finelli channels this interest into wildly intricate hyperrealist drawings, zoomed-in encounters with strangers who display time's wear on their flesh in beautiful and wholly unique ways. In Finelli's meticulous renderings, cheeks begin to rumple, chins double over and skin turn a shade at once spotted and translucent. However, throughout the intense physical shifts taking place, his subjects' eyes remain as glittering and keen as ever.
"I am continuously obsessed by the sloughing of the body through time," Finelli continued. "In fact, I don’t like to represent in a drawing the oldness itself but rather the passage of time that ends necessarily in this human state. I am deeply in love with the human body, with the skin -- its most external layer, that absorbs and records all the experiences of our life -- but most of all I am interested in a body’s evolution, its transformation, throughout the years. I am intrigued by the signs, lines, points, which enrich our cutis year after year and testify all the changes of our lives."
With the help of some well-sharpened pencils, rubbers and magnifiers, Finelli creates intimate portraits so realistic one feels, upon looking at them, like they're face to face with a complete stranger. Save for the fact that the artist leaves moments of his process incomplete, a deeper reminder of the transformation we all undergo.
"With my portrayals I want to bring a specific thought into the viewer’s mind: the body suffers a metamorphosis through the slow passage of time. With this, comes aging, that sooner or later arrives in each and everyone’s lives. There is nothing we can do. The only possible way of redemption from this status is death."
Discover the beauty of our imminent mortality in the images below. Be warned, some of the drawings are nude and may not be suitable for work.