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Ponti Art Gallery presents masterpiece by Ubaldo Oppi and remarkable artworks by Maria Lai
Mario Pucciarelli (Buenos Aires 1928 – 2014), La Busqueda. Oil on canvas cm 115 x 89 signed (Pucciarelli) lower left. Signature also on the back, where it is visible the date (1962), the title and the stamp of Galleria Pogliani, Rome. © Ottocento Art Gallery.



ROME.- Ponti Art Gallery is offering important masterpieces coming from several private collections. The selection starts from a masterpiece by the greatest exponent of Magical Realism, Ubaldo Oppi, Rural afternoon, vital and joyful painting, dedicated to the theme of “feast day”, to the representation of a village Sunday, in which music accompanies silence and delights the placid quiet of the day. The subject of the painting almost seems to echo the atmosphere narrated by the famous poetry of Leopardi, and some Leopardian cadences can also be felt in the atmosphere of the work, pervaded by a melancholy joy, by a pensive and serious joy. Compared to works performed by Oppi in the same period, the compositional layout is more clearly plastic: the figures have now acquired greater proportions, and the mass of the houses has advanced towards the first floor.

The further important artwork offered by Ponti Art Gallery is an oil by Duilio Cambellotti, where the painter portrays his status as a teacher at the Academy of Fine Arts of Rome remained in the capital at the outbreak of World War I: the anonymous and barely sketched urban landscape is animated by the silhouettes of chasing children, of old people burdened by the weight of the years and of female figures lying on the roadside. The shadows lengthen on the pavement that culminates with the imposing bulk of the masonry bridge that acts as a scenic backdrop for the entire composition.A powerful and visionary work that highlights the tragedy of the first world war that cost our country the loss of an entire generation. Exempted from military service, as a tenured teacher, Cambellotti continues the campaign against illiteracy with various decorative and graphic works for peasant schools during the First World War. Pacifist and antimilitarist, he teaches in courses for war-maimed. Datable to 1915, the tempera could have been sold on the occasion of one of the charity evenings organized by the same artist to raise funds for the wounded of war and their families.

The selection of the proposal continues with a three paintings by Amedeo Bocchi: among them stand out a portrait of Latino Barilli, immortalized in a profile constructed with shrewd strokes of light, with whom in 1911 the Parma painter reconstructed the Golden Hall of the Torrechiara Castle for the Ethnographic Exhibition of Rome.

The selection of first 20th century artworks closes itself with a remarkable example of the high quality got by the Italian art of that period: an astonishing painting by Antonio Moretti. The protagonist of the painting presented here is Letizia Utili, with whom the painter had a love affair after the failure of the marriage relationship with Cornelia Pellegrini. The work is part of the corpus of paintings executed by Moretti in Sanremo, falling within the framework of a reassuring naturalism, traversed by a certain vaguely secessionist taste, evident in Letizia’s tapered nudes caught in the back of their apartment. Around the thirties, the woman frequently attended Moretti’s studio and often posed as a model, offering the self-taught painter the opportunity to practice from life in the realization of the human figure. The increasingly confidential relationship between the painter and the model is transformed “with the passing of the days into a more affectionate feeling” and the couple decides, both to live quietly their clandestine relationship – Antonio Moretti is still married to Cornelia Pellegrini – and to alleviate the bone problems that afflict the artist, to settle in Sanremo. In the Ligurian town, Antonio and Letizia will spend about twenty years, from 1937 to 1954.

The group of artworks offered by Ponti Art Gallery contains also three modern artworks, such as a remarkable example of Argentinian Informalism by Mario Pucciarelli, and two artworks by the great conceptual artist Maria Lai. The two works deal with the same theme: the importance of the recovery of child drawing, the lost innocence, a search for primitive palingenesis, central to the artistic research of Maria Lai. A child of bread, coming from a universe in continuous evolution, comes to life in the first work, a tiny solitary point in the chain of humanity: it contains in itself the infinite that is accessed with another birth. The second work shows us the drawing of a child, in which the Virgin Mary looks like a mother: around threads, like embroidery, still envelop the time of innocence. The two works lead back to a concept dear to Lai: “every day we kill the child in us, every day our cells are renewed and they forget the origin: it is up to us to preserve that innocence”. An innocence that coincides with salvation, whose path to arrive is precisely in the thread that leads us back to the universal frame, a metaphorical umbilical cord of the entire humanity.










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