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Francesco Somaini, Grande martirio
Material and technique
gilded bronze
47 x 28 x 16 cm
Augusta Monferini
The cross structure develops from a central hole, in shadow, in countless horizontal and vertical splinters. We seem to be watching the explosion of an inner nucleus of material, shooting out into space. The reference to the cross, the symbol of the sacrifice and martyrdom of Christ, is explicit. In fact, the title of the statue refers to a larger work that the artist did in 1960: Grande martirio piagato (130x70x50 cm). Our sculpture is smaller, and while quite similar to that earlier “martyrdom” there is a significant difference: the artist turns the full cross structure, with smooth, convex elements, into a form streaked by hollow, dark, dramatic zones that evoke the violence and pain of martyrdom. In a crescendo, Somaini experimented with the vitality and complexity of material, developing forms that in his hands became ductile, easily shaped like clay. The arms of the cross are arranged in tortured folds from the salient crests like violent slashes. Its metaphorical figuration, in evocative and dramatic images, interprets the emotional warmth and passion that always marked his tormented plasticity.
Grande martirio
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