Luiz Antônio Gasparetto (1949-2018) was a Brazilian medium, psychologist, writer, performer and TV presenter. He became well-known in Brazil and Europe for mediumistic paintings attributed to deceased artists, from Leonardo da Vinci to Picasso. A video of Gasparetto painting follows.
Gasparetto’s artistic process was a fascinating and unusual one. He often worked in dimly lit conditions, moving at an incredible pace and rarely glancing at his canvas. His preferred tools were crayons or his own hands, skillfully spreading small amounts of paint on canvas or paper while blending colors and outlining contours. A unique aspect of his approach was the use of both hands simultaneously, sometimes even employing his feet in the painting process, alternating between one foot and the other.
Remarkably, Gasparetto completed simple drawings in just four minutes, while more intricate pieces took anywhere from ten to twenty minutes. In some extraordinary cases, he even finished paintings within a mere thirty seconds. Observers of his work frequently recognized deceased loved ones in the anonymous portraits he created. Additionally, he depicted renowned figures like Queen Elizabeth of England and Allan Kardec, the founder of Spiritism.
During his painting sessions, Gasparetto would have someone hold the paper to prevent it from being displaced by his rapid and intense movements. Interestingly, he engaged in conversation with this person during a trance, sometimes speaking in a different voice, which he attributed to the discarnate artist’s influence. Through this unique communication, he explained the process and meaning behind each picture.
Gasparetto described how his emotions and sensations varied depending on the spirit he believed was guiding his hand. He struggled with doubt early on in his mediumship development, wondering if the paintings were products of his imagination. This led to a period of producing work of only average quality. However, he later concluded that these doubts were attempts by discarnate spirits to persuade him that he could only paint with their collaboration. Once he was convinced otherwise, the spirits returned, and his artistic ability improved once again.
According to Gasparetto, his work served as a means for the spirits to demonstrate the continuity of life after death. As time went on, he explored other artistic techniques and materials, creating sculptures and woodwork purportedly of mediumistic origin without the need for practice or training. His journey as a medium artist continued to be a source of intrigue and inspiration.
Investigations of Gasparetto's work.
Guy Lyon Playfair, a renowned British journalist and psychical researcher, had the opportunity to meet Gasparetto in 1974 during his time in São Paulo. Upon witnessing Gasparetto’s mediumistic paintings, Playfair was utterly astonished by their quality. In a preface he wrote for Dubugras’s initial book on Gasparetto, Playfair noted that while there had been other mediums in the history of psychical research who produced art while in an altered state of consciousness, Gasparetto’s abilities were undeniably the most impressive to witness.
What struck Playfair the most was Gasparetto’s remarkable willingness to showcase his mediumship under less-than-ideal conditions. Despite the challenging circumstances, Gasparetto demonstrated his extraordinary artistic talents, leaving Playfair in awe of the entire experience.
This is an account of his work before a live audience:
During his two visits to London in 1978 [Gasparetto] was filmed by BBC television under the most difficult conditions imaginable – under a dozen powerful spotlights, in a strange room full of people he had never met, one or two of whom were thoroughly skeptical towards his work. Later in 1978 he agreed to a session at very short notice for the delegates to the International Spiritualist Federation Congress. Here, although the audience was very sympathetic […] everything seemed to go wrong. One of the curtains refused to close, so that we could not make the room as dark as Luiz Antonio likes it to be. Then we could not find any music. When at last somebody produced a cassette of some religious music, it was clear that the artists were not happy with it, and finally the batteries of the machine playing the music went dead, although they were new. Despite these problems, Luiz Antonio not only amazed his international audience with the quality of the works he helped produce, but added an unexpected bonus in the form of a most convincing demonstration of survival, when he drew the portrait of a boy immediately recognized by one of the audience, whom the medium had not even met until then. (Dubugras, E. & Gasparetto, L. A. (1979). Renoir, é você? São Paulo: Federação Espírita do Estado de São Paulo.)