Umberto Mastroianni (Fontana Liri 1910 – Marino 1998), Hamletic
Bronze bas-relief coloured di cm 98 x 20 x 2 dated 1979.
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Publication: Umberto Mastroianni nelle collezioni Evandro Franceschelli e Tiziana ed Enrico Todi, catalogue of the exhibition (Galleria Vittoria, Rome, 12th May – 30th September 2012) curated by Floriano de Santi, p. 36, edited by Fondazione Umberto Mastroianni and Archivio Umberto Mastroianni.
Arrived in Rome in 1924, Umberto attended the study of his uncle Domenico and the drawing courses at the Academy of San Marcello. In 1926 he moved to Turin with his family and refined the “craft of sculptor” in the atelier of Michele Guerrisi. In 1930 the first official awards began (Tourism Award offered by the Ministry of Education) and, shortly thereafter, the first exhibitions at national and European level, including in 1935 the Rome Quadriennale and the following year the Biennale from Venice. Filippo De Pisis esteems the work, considering it the debtor of the most remote experiences, from the minor Egyptian statuary to the Hellenistic one.
Called to arms during the war, Umberto participates in the Resistance with a commitment that will lead him to transfer in his next work the demands born of that concrete struggle in the name of freedom, to arrive at the formulation of the “poetics of the Resistance” recognized by Giulio Carlo Argan. In Turin he came in contact with the painter Luigi Spazzapan who, isolated, carried on an alternative line to the cultural position of the “Gruppo dei Sei”, painters linked to the post-impressionist heritage. After liberation, Umberto becomes one of the main promoters of a supranational supersession of Italian culture according to the indications of the “historical avant-gardes”.
The highest recognition comes from the XXIX Venice Biennale of ’58, when he obtained the International Grand Prix for sculpture. In 1960 Lionello Venturi wrote the presentation to the catalog for the solo exhibition at the Kleeman Gallery in New York and in the same year the artist exhibited at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. In 1971 the city of Frosinone commissioned the Monument to the fallen of all wars (whose idea was from 1970), executed in steel and placed in 1977. This is the period in which he works on the work presented here, “Hamletic”, in which Umberto merges the entire repertoire of iconographic codes learned throughout his artistic career, giving life to a totemic sculpture: signs and primordial forms draw a plot of concave and convex geometries, of empty and full spaces that condense the creativity of a mature Mastroianni, at the height of his creation as an artist and sculptor.