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Material and technique
Oil on canvas
70 x 50 cm
Augusta Monferini
Cesare Maggi is known mainly for the fine quality of his early Divisionist painting, but the freshness of this view from the sea is certainly on a par with the artist’s first period. Here he appears to have already completed his turn towards a somewhat more traditional painting, an art less attuned to the new, but already seemingly old-hat, experimentation. At the Biennale of 1914 Maggi chose to exhibit works more in the manner of the Turin artist Carlo Grosso than that of Segantini, precisely for the purpose of announcing the change in his artistic course.
Nevertheless, despite his intention of moving away from his old style, his brushwork here retains the indelible technique of sharp contrast between light and dark shades that defined his composition. The buildings abutting on one another, climbing up the rock face and culminating in the needle of the bell tower, are a compact, chalk-white mass that the artist declines in various tones tinged to varying degree with grey. The wall of houses facing on the livid sea is pierced like lace fabric by the window-slits. The row of trees on the shore and the dark green of the woods climbing up behind the houses embrace the town in the centre. This is an unusual, vertical slant, and the view does not stretch along the sea but instead runs up the hillside.
One’s gaze rises from sea towards shore, drawn by the gleaming light of the town, and then rests among the inlaid greens that crown the view.
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