When news reports announced that "Sopranos" star James Gandolfini had died, Marco Toro reached for the best coping mechanism he had: a brush and canvas.
The London artist, an avid fan of the long-running HBO series, has made a career largely from painting celebrities, from Kiefer Sutherland to the Rolling Stones. In the past, Toro had painted the Sopranos as a group, but now that Gandolfini — which is to say, Tony — was gone, he set to work on a portrait of the leading man.
The finished work, which will go on display Aug. 1 at the Village Gallery, is fittingly spectral for a recently deceased celebrity. In shadowy black and white, Gandolfini peers through dark glasses, his left hand adjusting the frames as if sizing up the viewer. Only a sliver of a white shirt is visible, with the black suit jacket blending into the featureless background.
"He was one of my favorites," Toro, an exhibitor at the gallery for nine years, said by phone from England. "He was very popular over here, and such a good actor."