Pellizza Da Volpedo: from Museo d'Orsay to Gallerie d'Italia, Piazza Scala
In exchange for the The Dance of the Hours (Danza delle Ore), the masterpiece by Gaetano Previati lent on the occasion of the exhibition Dolce Vita? From Art Nouveau to Italian Design (1900-1940), the Musée d'Orsay has lent to Gallerie D'Italia - Piazza Scala this important work by Pellizza da Volpedo, The dead child (Broken flower) (Il morticino; Fiore reciso), 1903-1906. Together with Giorno di festa al Pio Albergo Trivulzio [A feast day at Pio Albergo Trivulzio] by Angelo Morbelli (now displayed in this very exhibition within the section dedicated to the Great War) and a landscape by Vittore Grubicy, it is part of the only works of the Italian divisionism of the French museum.
The author was particularly satisfied with this painting, as he wrote about "the young corpse that from the small coffin would love to express the sweetness of dying when life is still unknown". A heart-wrenching scene that seems to recall some poems by Giovanni Pascoli, such as the short lyric L'Aquilone. In describing the painting, Pellizza also underlined how he had been inspired by reality. He wrote of it as "the attempt to capture in its simplicity a sweet and moving fact that has occurred in this country". Indeed, the funeral is set right before the graveyard of Volpedo, recognisable also in contemporary photographs. The sacred atmosphere of the scene is highlighted by the arched shape of the work that stresses the symbolic dimension of this view, in which characters are portrayed from behind. They walk, slowly and silently, immersed in nature, and their forms are modelled by the contrasts of light and shadow and by the vibrating atmosphere, typical of divisionism technique, that the painter has reinterpreted in a very original manner.