Le stelle

Arturo Martini

Museo del Novecento

Museo del Novecento

This small terracotta represents two seated woman, in contemplation as they gaze to the heavens, as the title reiterates. It is probably the external space surrounding the work - towards which the young women's slightly elongated busts arch, and which the viewer must acknowledge - that creates thet climate of uncertainty and silent contemplation so typical of many works by Martini at this time. The composition of "Le stelle" clearly alludes to the group by Fidia, "Afrodite in grembo alla madre Dione" (London, British Museum), once found on the western pediment of the Parthenon, becoming an academic reference in the form of its plaster reproduction visible in many art schools from the Eighteenth century onward. The overall effect of this solemn, horizontal model is howevere transformed into a strong vertical tension by which the stars simultaneously become an object of Leopardian contemplation and existential symbols of the tension created in an ideal. The work is contemporary to the large group "Il cielo. Le stelle" (Rome, GNAM), realised by Martini in 1932 for the architect Marcello Piacentini, and of which it mirrors the overall composition. The diminished size and perfunctory definition of the figures can make some think that "Le stelle" was a model for the more monumental work in Rome. It would however be reductive to consider it as a simple preparatory model and not one of the many works in terracotta throught which the sculptor experimented with new motifs, often without the final end of realising larger works. These small works, through which Martini reclaimed a sense of ironic narrative in his work, would have their moment od glory in the important solo exhibition at Galleria Milano, in February 1933: amongst the thirty-seven terracotta pieces on display, "Le stelle" appeared "on the sentimental side, the most Martinesque" (Crippa 1933). Antonio Boschi bought the work from Galleria Milano in 1935. [Massimo De Sabbata]

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  • Title: Le stelle
  • Creator: Arturo Martini
  • Date Created: 1932
  • Physical Dimensions: 31,7 x 28,5 x 20,5 cm
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: Boschi Di Stefano Collection
  • Medium: Firing clay

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