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Angelo Morbelli, Casa di riposo Bonacossa a Dorno Lomellina
Material and technique
Oil on canvas
84 x 124 cm.
Augusta Monferini

A dim light filters in through two big windows on the left, enveloping seven figures in a large, plain room. The unadorned scene reproduces, as in a snapshot, a painful, lonely moment of silence for these old women, gathered in the old people’s home and portrayed, at the end of the day, in the pointless onflow of their lives. They are sitting together, but each enclosed within her own silence, intent on her own task. Some are reading, one is knitting, others, heads bowed, are dozing or lost in memory, some with hand to head or folded on the seat suggest resignation, or profound dejection. A nun is talking with one, and despite the large number of people the scene appears to be marked by the emptiness of the space. Like many of his works on old age and solitude, the painting represents a period of social engagement for Morbelli, who uses Divisionist language to recount, with the eyes of the heart, his passionate empathy with the tragic destiny of the poor and humble. The Pointillist method, more French than Italian in technique, graduates the light which, drenched in colour divided into tiny touches, forms a veristic scene. At the same time, the molecular division of the colour and the studied spreading of the paint tempers the tones in a more tenuous chromatic scale that well translates the artist’s state of mind, his feelings of human pity.

Casa di riposo Bonacossa a Dorno Lomellina
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