Graphite pencil drawing of a face
Umberto Boccioni (1882–1916), "Against the Light (Controluce)," 1910, graphite pencil and black ink on paper, 14 13/16 x 19 1/4 in., Collezione Ramo, Milan, photo: Studio Vandrasch

The Menil Drawing Institute is presenting “Silent Revolutions: Italian Drawings from the Twentieth Century,” the first major survey of such material mounted in the U.S. Most have been borrowed from Milan’s Collezione Ramo, and among their creators are such starry names as Alighiero Boetti, Giorgio de Chirico, and Lucio Fontana.

Twentieth-century Italy gave rise to a nearly continuous series of revolutionary artistic movements, ranging from futurism to spatialism to Arte Povera. Often overlooked by most observers is the crucial role that drawing played, giving artists free rein to experiment with materials and techniques.

For example, illustrated above is Umberto Boccioni’s “Against the Light (Controluce),” which depicts a young woman before a window with oblique rays of light falling across her face. The composition’s innovative sense of transparency hints at Boccioni’s interest in the optical interpenetration of bodies, which he further developed as leader of the futurist movement.

Exhibition Details:
“Silent Revolutions: Italian Drawings from the Twentieth Century”
Through April 11, 2021
Menil Drawing Institute, Houston, Texas

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