Giuseppe Angeli, called Franco, is born in Rome on 14th May 1935 in San Lorenzo neighbourhood from a traditional socialist family forced to move in order to escape the accusations of subversion. Firstly, they go to Borgo Pio and then to Via Angelo Brunetti. He is the youngest of the brothers and because of the war he does not finish the elementary school. After his father’s death he starts working to provide his sick mother: he works in a market, in a barber shop, in a laundry, in an upholstery, in a bodywork learning to use silhouettes, cut-outs and stencils that he will use in his works. After his mother’s death when he is 13, he is looked after by his older brother, Otello, union leader and secretary of the Communist Party of Cinecittà.
He starts his artistic activity in 1955-1957 self-taught, except for his relationship with the sculptor Edgardo Mannucci, in his studio he sees the paintings of Burri.
Firstly, he conveys informal poetry and he realizes monochrome, material and dark representations that he covers by ripped and torn nylon stockings as a symbol of poverty and ache. The images of the tragic bombing in San Lorenzo, lived during his childhood, are in his first works: “The material, for me, is a fragment of a big European laceration; my first productions are like a wound from which I remove the bandages. ..where the blood is coagulated but it is no more a red spot- All must be torn and broken”.
Angeli adheres to Communist Party in the section of Campo Marzio in 1955 and he meets Tano Festa, Mario Schifano. They establish a strong friendship because they have the same popular extraction and the experience of the war. They are called “Master Pains”, the artists of Piazza del Popolo that they meet at Rosati Café and in the galleries La Tartaruga of Plinio de Martiis, L’Appunto and La Salita with others artists, for example Francesco Lo Savio and Pino Pascali, Jannis Kounellis and Fabio Mauri.
Angeli attends Guttuso and he likes Caravaggio’s and Kees Van Dongen’s painting (after that he has seen his exhibition in Ginevra in 1976, he dedicates him some paintings) and he has another inspiration that is the poetry: Sandro Penna, Cesare Vivaldi, Nanni Balestrini are his friends and they write some descriptions about his works.