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Mario Sironi

 (1885 - 1961)
Mario Sironi was active/lived in Italy.  Mario Sironi is known for futurist, abstract painting and sculpture.

Mario Sironi

Biography from the Archives of askART

Mario Sironi (May 12, 1885 - August 13, 1961) was an Italian modernist artist who was active as a painter, sculptor, illustrator, and designer.

Born in Sassari on the island of Sardinia, Sironi spent his childhood in Rome.  He embarked on the study of engineering at the University of Rome but quit after a nervous breakdown in 1903, one of many severe depressions that would recur throughout his life.  Thereafter he dedicated himself to painting, and attended the Scuola Libera del Nudo at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma, where he met Giacomo Balla, Gino Severini and Umberto Boccioni. These artists, who would later become the leading Futurists*, were then painting in a Neo-Impressionist* style.  Sironi's development closely tracked theirs, and he adopted the Futurist style by 1913.

After service in World War I, Sironi's version of Futurism gave way to an art of massive, immobile forms.  In paintings such as La Lampada of 1919 (Pinateca di Brera, Milan), mannequins substitute for figures, as in the metaphysical paintings of Giorgio de Chirico and Carlo Carrà.  In 1922, Sironi was one of the founders of the Novecento Italiano movement, which was part of the return to order in European art during the post-war period.  Paintings such as Venere of 1921-1923 (Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna, Turin) and Solitudine ("Solitude", 1925; Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome), with their contained, geometric forms, bear some kinship to the neoclassicism evident in works produced at the same time by Picasso.

Sironi's works of the late 1920s, many of which feature monumental, archaic figures of families in bare, mountainous landscapes, are "marked by a sense of humanity burdened with history ... [and] an almost Romanesque spirit of a solemn expressionism".  The pure forms of his earlier work were replaced by a primitivist form of classicism*, and his style became more painterly*.

A supporter of Mussolini, he contributed a large number of cartoons—over 1700 in all—to Il Popolo d'Italia and La Rivista Illustrata del Popola d'Italia, the Fascist newspapers. Rejecting the art market and the concept of the easel painting, he became committed to the ideal of a fusion of decoration and architecture, as exemplified by Gothic* cathedrals. He felt that the mural was the proper basis of a popular national art. The state commissioned from him several large-scale decorative works in the 1930s, such as the mural L'Italia fra le arti e le scienze (Italy Between the Arts and Sciences) of 1935, and he also contributed to the Exhibition of the Fascist Revolution in 1932. Although his esthetic of brutal monumentality represented the dominant style of Italian Fascism, his work was attacked by right-wing critics for its lack of overt ideological content.

As an artist closely identified with Fascism, his reputation declined dramatically in the post-World War II period.  Embittered by the course of events, he also suffered the loss of his daughter Rossana by suicide in 1948.  He had returned to easel painting in 1943, and worked now in relative isolation.  The paintings of his later years sometimes approach abstraction, resembling assemblages* of archaeological fragments, or juxtaposed sketches.  Through all of his stylistic developments, Sironi's was always a somber and dramatic vision, characterized by blocky forms, stark oppositions of light and shadow, and a generally pessimistic air.  He continued working until shortly before his death on August 13, 1961, in Milan.


* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary

Biography from Farsettiarte
Raffaele De Grada, Mario Sironi, Friends of Art Club Editore, Milan, 1972, p. 156, Fig. 69 (with the title "The sculptor" and the date 1926); Giuseppe Bertasso, Art and us. From the memory of the figurative sign to abstract art experiences, Tipostampa, Turin, 2000, p. 16.

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About  Mario Sironi

Born:  1885 - Sassasri, Sardinia
Died:   1961 - Milan, Italy
Known for:  futurist, abstract painting and sculpture