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Material and technique
tempera and pastel on canvas
47 x 108 cm
Augusta Monferini
In 1893 Sartorio wrote: “Landscape can be called a form of art for itself, and the theories of relations, thanks to the modern-day English and French and to photography, are in the public domain. I have no great fondness for jumbled, large pictures, because I think they are ill-suited to the Virgilian intimacy and freshness of this art, which is great precisely because it can infuse a great serenity of feeling with just a few but serenely true lines and colours.” In effect, the bucolic atmosphere of this view is Virgilian. It captures nature at dusk, when the shadows thicken, tinting the shores of the pond with the colours of the night and turning them towards darker greens, while the distant horizon is engulfed in blackish, indistinct masses, and the silver tones of the last reflections of light make the surface of the water glisten. The landscape is transformed into a mysterious scene with a whiff of magic; the breathing of nature is penetrated by ancient myths. A shepherd standing on the bank plays the bagpipe like a Virgilian Orpheus and invades the silent air with the reedy, gushing sound of his call while he accompanies the white flock to the sheepfold. Sartorio, the Italian artist most deeply steeped in literature, masterfully combines elements of French and German symbolism, between Böcklin and Klinger, with Classical moods and the refined taste of D’Annunzio. The painting dates from the years following his journey through Europe in 1893. It was in those years, in fact, that Sartorio made his debut in landscape painting, exhibiting in the shows of the In Arte Libertas group.
Ninfa: Pastorale
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