By day, Matthew Martelli is the water facilities administrator for the Revere Water and Sewer Department.
But when he returns home, he becomes award-winning artist and oil painter Matthew Martelli.
Residents and historians can view Martelli’s latest creation at Revere City Hall: a stunning oil painting of Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States.
Mayor Brian Arrigo graciously welcomed the 65-year-old city worker to City Hall with a special portrait unveiling ceremony which is located on the first floor across from the Elections Department office.
In a glowing review of Martelli’s work, Arrigo later wrote on Facebook, “All of our city workers are talented, hardworking individuals, but that talent often extends far beyond City Hall. Thanks to Water and Sewer employee Matt Martelli for donating “Abe” – an oil on canvas painting of President Abraham Lincoln. The attention to detail is incredible, and the craziest thing is that he did it in just two days. I am always amazed by the talent of our municipal employees! Be sure to stop and have a look the next time you are at City Hall.”
The timing of Abraham Lincoln’s work is perfect: President Lincoln’s birthday is February 12, while Presidents’ Day will be celebrated on February 21.
Martelli said the inspiration for the Abraham Lincoln play came to him after reading a book about the Civil War. Lincoln was president from 1861 to 1865.
“That’s what interested me,” he said. “I had a canvas and I wanted to do a portrait, and I chose Abe Lincoln.”
Martelli said he is considering a second portrait of a major figure in American history to complement Lincoln’s artwork at City Hall.
A lifelong self-taught artist
Martelli has worked in the water and sewer department for over 16 years.
“But I’ve been an artist for years now — in fact my whole life,” Martelli said. “My twin brother (Mark Martelli) is an artist, and my children (Paul Martelli and Max Martelli) are artists. Paul went to art school and Max was in the US Navy, but he’s an amazing artist. It’s in the blood.”
Martelli graduated in 1975 from Northeast Regional High School in Wakefield. He has no formal artistic training.
“Everything was self-taught,” says Martelli.
He has presented his works at spring art exhibitions for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. He made many lithographs and has a painting on display at the 600 Club inside Fenway Park. Numerous prizes have been awarded throughout his career.
“I take pride in my work,” said Martelli, whose website is martellistudio.com.
A Famous Revere Family
Matthew Martelli is a first cousin of baseball legends, Tony Conigliaro and Billy Conigliaro, who both played for the Boston Red Sox. Matthew’s father, the late Vincent A. Martelli Sr., was Teresa Martelli Conigliaro’s brother.
Vincent Martelli Sr. founded the Revere Little League, along with Edward McLeavy. Her mother is the late Phyllis M. (Achenbach) Martelli. The former Achenbach School on Park Avenue is named after Matthew Martelli’s great-uncle, Max Achenbach.
Matthew’s brother, Vincent A. Martelli Jr., is one of the greatest hitters in baseball history at Harvard and played for the Cleveland Indians (now Cleveland Guardians) organization. Vincent Jr. also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
“We are Revere people,” said Matthew Martelli.