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Giacomo Balla, Fontana (che piange)
Material and technique
Pastel on paper
40 x 55 cm
Augusta Monferini

An authentic masterpiece of bravura, this pastel still belongs to Balla’s Divisionist period. The streaky brushstrokes are horizontal, distributed in dense tangles of material. Here the artist makes the most of his ability to depict the play of light on forms. The composition of this “weeping fountain” is on two planes: the first, frontal plane is occupied by the water falling into the basin, in shadow, which creates a series of silvery threads. On impact, they burst like fireworks in a succession of blue spurts. Through this light-drenched colour, the painter creates an image that is “truer than true”. Possibly, Balla used a series of photographs to focus, at a special time of day, the instantaneous effects of reverberations ripping through the shadow. On the liquid surface, slight waves move into areas of intense blue, where the sunlight filters through the trees. In the background, a sharp contrast of dense, deep shadow closes the field of vision, allowing us to glimpse a thick wall of treetops, in contiguous rows. Areas of yellow stand out violently against the browns of the shade and indicate the meadow, coming back to life where the light plays upon it. Technically, too, this painting displays Balla’s almost magical ability to infuse his pigment with a touching verity. The colour, though mellow, retains the artist’s lightness of touch.

Fontana (che piange)
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