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Material and technique
oil on canvas
162 x 68 cm
Augusta Monferini
The portrait is of a young peasant-woman of imposing presence depicted close-up and face-on; she is the protagonist of the scene.  She holds a pitcher which she is about to fill with water. Her thick brown hair frames her face, caught by a light from the side which also illuminates part of her dress and her right arm balancing the pitcher heavy with water. The scene takes place in a kitchen with utensils ranged on the shelves. A pale yellow light filters through an open window barely visible on the far right of the painting, illuminating the interior. The subject marks Soffici’s renewed interest in scenes of the everyday life of ordinary people, taking care to create a concrete narrative. The artist uses a strong, solid style of paint, the colour almost clotted in long, loaded brushstrokes; the objects are depicted with plasticity and marked by areas of dense colour.
Ardengo Soffici, who for a time was an active supporter of Futurism, became an advocate of a style of painting that more closely reflected the reality of everyday life, turning his back on the experimentation of the avant-garde movement. He began once again to appreciate the value of clear subjects and tersely, lucidly constructed images, coming close to the ‘return to order’ approach that characterized contemporary 20th-century taste and obtained a large following in postwar culture.
Gualino lent this painting to the 1926 Biennale for display in the room reserved to the work of Soffici.
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