Still life with ruins and fish
Tempera on cardboard, 1930-31, Bianchedi Bettoli / Vallunga Collection, 52x62.5 cm + frame 78.5x90 cm, Inv. n. 1778
This lovely tempera falls under a homogeneous group of works in which objects and presences that are now familiar (the fruit bowl, the pigeon, the fish) are associated with scenery of Roman ruins, sometimes "inhabited" by theatrical masks or antique statues. Now that the rigours of the "golden proportion" and all the encumbrances of rigid symmetries of his season of call to order had been abandoned, Severini invented free and arbitrary perspectives fitted into each other, where the crooked architrave of Etruscan origin prevails mysterious and suggestive, perhaps in reference to De Chirico's metaphysics. Interior and exterior spaces, past and present are mixed up, like in the contemporary paintings of the other "Italian painters of Paris", within an ambiguous allusiveness that nods to Surrealism, but somewhat more intentionally reclaims its profound classical and Italian roots. (from the notes of Daniela Fonti for the catalogue of the Bianchedi-Bettoli/Vallunga Collection published in 2012 by the Bononia University Press. Daniela Fonti is the author of the Catalogue Raisonn‚ of Gino Severini's works published in 1988, where this work is annotated under number 522).