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Renato Guttuso, Pescatori e mareggiata
Material and technique
oil on canvas
91 x 108 cm
Fabrizio D'Amico
Two boats and their occupants are cutting through a stormy sea. The deep blues, the iron greys and the sudden white foam form the limited chromatic range of the painting, which treats a theme already taken up by Guttuso in the summer of 1949 and again in the following summer: tuna fishing off the Calabrian coast of Scilla.
In fact, this Sicilian painter’s focus on themes of work – often depicting extreme and dramatic situations – began in 1949 and became widely predominant in his work. The still lifes and landscapes were replaced by massacres, harvesters, farm labourers, peasants and miners or, as in this case, fishermen at their daily toil labours in a menacing sea, a scene somewhat reminiscent of Courbet, the first realist painter of the modern age.
Leaving the Cubist-like splintering and essential patterns, and adopting in their place a plastic and vigorous chiaroscuro, Guttuso embraced what he called “the new realism” representing struggle, suffering and revolt against oppression. And Guttuso became the leading figure in this current into which the greatest opposition to abstractionism began to flow in the following years. He produced results which were surely problematic from a formal point of view, but he demonstrated his undoubted authority as leader of this new current.
Pescatori e mareggiata
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