Mimmo Centonze paints his affections. His figure painting literally takes shape in front of the bodies of loved ones. Even more than in the case of Freud, where the sentimental relationship generates pictorial emotion, Centonze seems to be stimulated only by the family sphere or the one immediately close, of relatives and closest friends, of the most loved people. It is a conditioned reflex: the brush moves like a caress on the face or body of loved ones. In times as refractory to sentiments as ours, this condition stimulates creativity, and invests many young artists as a real poetic reason.

I think of the sculptor Giuseppe Bergomi who finds his ideal models in his wife and daughters (and some rare friends); or to the painter Andrea Martinelli who moves his gaze, with repeated insistence, between the face and body of his grandfather and other relatives. Centonze proceeds to a regeneration of flesh and clothes in color, which certainly draws inspiration from Freud's painting, but also from that of ancient masters, such as Ribera, or luminous in matter, such as Stomer and Ter Bruggen. Within himself he would aspire, but faith asseverates him more than reason, to reproduce the miracle of Rembrandt; and the thicknesses of color, animated by light, of his portraits and figure compositions seem oriented to this.

For Centonze, ancient painting has not passed in vain, it is not a distant world to be observed and from which to keep one's distance, but it is a living world from which to draw creative inspiration and pictorial lymph. I don't know if the young artist, although cultured and curious, knows Giovanni Serodine, a wonderful Ticino man; but I am sure that he would feel akin to him and that some paintings, such as the Portrait of his father in the Lugano Museum, would light up his heart, precisely because of the warm and living matter that is stirred and lives in the work of both.

The faces and the souls that wear them are, for Centonze, in Heaven, demonstrating that “homo homini deus”. For him Totò Riina (commissioned by the Salemi Mafia Museum) is good. Evil is elsewhere, it is in the void, in the absence. So his warehouses, even when crossed by light, or inflamed by the fire of color, are hell. Hell is the absence of man; and Centonze also ascertains the opposite condition of "homo homini lupus". But the "lupus", in his case and in his vision, is emptiness. Thus its interiors are ideal places of asceticism through the experience of the abyss. From darkness to light, and man to light. That is God.