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Mario Sironi

/Works and biography

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The White Horse (Il cavallo bianco), 1919
Oil on canvas, 79 x 59 cm
Gianni Mattioli Collection
Long-term loan to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice
© Mario Sironi, by SIAE 2008


The White Horse combines two moments in Mario Sironi’s development as a painter. The upper part resembles the earlier Composition with Propeller in its disorder of mechanical or architectonic fragments painted in a rugged Cubist manner. The lower part, with the naked figure and the white horse, has an enigmatic narrative quality that points to Sironi’s sympathy for the Metaphysical painting of Giorgio de Chirico and Carlo Carrà. The seemingly wooden figures are closer to Carrà’s mannequins than to Fortunato Depero’s dolls. The vague sense of an urban setting populated by mythological figures is close to the haunted mood of Metaphysical painting, but at the same time looks forward to Sironi’s characteristic townscapes which he began to paint at about this time. Similarly the deeply etched chiaroscuro and dark palette are marks of Sironi’s mature style.

credits: Hangar Design Group