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MAX PELLEGRINI (b. 1945)

 
Rimembranze: dal bacio del Canova alla Salita al Calvario di Bosch….2009-1029 1/4 x 32 in. oil on canvas

28,000

The painting, inspired by Antonio Canova’s sculpture Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss, and Christ Carrying the Cross by Hieronymous Bosch, depicts a laureate male and a female enmeshed in a boa of roses. Canova’s sculpture represents Cupid and Psyche during an emotionally charged moment, in which Cupid awakens Psyche from death. His tender embrace is mimicked in this painting, however Psyche, appearing more realistic than sculpture-like, looks on. Hieronymous Bosch’s grotesque painting of Christ while he carries the cross looms over Cupid’s head. The grotesque work of Bosch is at odds with the Neoclassical inspiration from Canova, perhaps to convey the dark emotions that simmer beneath the façade of love.
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Pablo Picasso paints a portrait of his sitter Giorgio De Chirico in a room filled with classical antiquities, neoclassical sculptures and impressionist paintings. The artist dreams of his own glory, which is symbolized by the masterpieces in the room – the statue of Victory by Michelangelo, an Impressionist artwork leaning in a corner, and the painting behind the sitter that symbolizes human knowledge. Yet, this is all meant ironically. De Chirico only sits in for Pellegrini himself, who mocks his own fears and phobias, by sitting in a room in which every person and artwork in the painting have already achieved their glory. 
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<br>“Yes, irony is one of the elements of my painting. I make fun of myself and my neurotic fears and phobias and I turn the situation with ironic if not at times hilarious details. I placed a cat, for example, with phosphorescent eyes in a bucolic scene, or in the subject of Carnival I mix death, ridicule and joking.” (Antonio Monda, “Interview with Max Pellegrini,” in Max Pellegrini, ed. Danilo Eccher, 2014

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The Queen of the Night drinks water from the clasped hands of faith, while two shepherds embrace each other, unaware of Jesus’ birth. Angels, portrayed almost translucently on the canvas, spray holy water and bring about the giving of gifts. A precious jewel is depicted in the right corner, while a humble basket of turkeys sits on the cape of the Madonna. Nearby rests a basket with a goldfinch, an ancient symbol, which is a harbinger of good luck for newborn babies. The baby Jesus, just as the clasped hands that the Queen drinks out of, represents faith – the angels have sprinkled with holy water and he will soon make himself known to the world.
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<br>“For me the faith in religion becomes faith in painting and will defeat the giants." – Max Pellegrini, July 2015, in conversation with Curator Chip Tom

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A young man and woman embrace one another, a woman holds a child, a sleeping baby holds a black and red thread, another young woman undresses, and an angel spreads its wings in this collage like composition. Together, these characters create a narrative in which young love, fate, and life are intertwined: the sleeping baby holds a red thread and black thread, reminiscent of the mythological three Fates, who spun life and death on their loom. These threads are physically connected to the young lovers, who embrace each other, wholly unaware of the hold that the infant has on them. A woman holding a child watches over the love of the youthful boy and girl, just as Mary and Jesus watch over and defend mankind. The merging of narratives and symbols is a common element in Pellegrini’s oeuvre, and is masterfully expressed here.

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