The son of an art historian, Domenico Gnoli was raised with an intensely broad knowledge of his Italian artistic heritage and never shunned it. He explicitly linked himself to bygone masters and their techniques.
"I was born knowing that I would be a painter, because my father, an art critic, always presented painting as the only thing acceptable. He pointed me towards classical Italian painting, against which I rebelled soon enough. However I never lost a Renaissance sense of taste and craft." (D. Gnoli quoted in Domenico Gnoli: Ultimas Obras 1963-1969, Madrid 1990, p. 28).
These two early works by Gnoli, with their textured surfaces and subdued colours emphasis Gnoli's link to his artistic heritage and echo the frescoes of Renaissance artists such as Massaccio and Piero della Francesca.