The work freezes a fragment of middle-class life, with the figures portrayed set in a space that is real, yet also minimal and abstract, just as the expressions of the individuals appear neutral, as if present but emotively distant from the happy event, waiting for the ritual photograph like immobile wax statues on a podium. The adamant and affected painting, together with the fixed and absorbed light, charge the atmosphere with an unreal lack of familiarity among those involved in the event, while the artist’s usual attention to clothing – perhaps because he was the son of a fabric dealer – reveals an intention of socially characterising the roles of those he portrays, whether they be clowns, spouses, harlequins or housewives.


  • Title: The Baptism
  • Creator: Antonio Donghi
  • Date: 1930
  • Physical Dimensions: w122 x h150 cm
  • Date of acquisition: 1931
  • Acquisition: Purchased at the 1st Quadriennale d’Arte Nazionale, Rome
  • Provenance: GAM - Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Turin
  • Type: Paintings
  • Rights: All rights reserved, GAM - Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Turin
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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