|acquired in the portfolio
|estimated current value in €
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|identification of the subject
|abstract painting/reconstructivist work
|materials and techniques
|oil on canvas/mixed media/material work
|measurements in centimeters cm
|100 x 80 x 1,8
|on the back/bottom/right
|issued at the same time as the sale
|no print issued
|state of conservation
|location of the work
|Rome · Italy
|© all rights reserved · global · S.I.A.E.
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Description of work
The Smell of the Oil Mills
Green olives, black olives, olive trees and oil mills. The earth, the fields of olive groves, man’s work, the effort. The stone, the joy, the sun, the heat, the straw baskets. The olive leaf, the olive branches.
Between sacred and profane, the representation of this tree, its fruit and the human effort related to it travels within the history of art from its dawn to the present day.
It is impossible not to mention, in this regard: “Annunciation between Saints Ansano and Margaret”, 1333, by Simone Martini and Lippo Lemmi, Uffizi Gallery – Florence. Or again, going further back: Amphora from Vulci, 500 BC, British Museum – London. Sandro Botticelli himself dedicates his attention to this theme in: “The Oration in the Garden”, 1490-93, Museo de los Reyes Catolicos – Granada. Furthermore, olive groves are also a great inspiration for Vincent van Gogh in many of his works.
In this work from 2023 Valvo circumscribes the basic olfactory note within a variable density compositional structure. In fact, structurally speaking, there is an alternation between compression and rarefaction in the density of the pictorial mapping. The constructive texture is massively concentrated in the lower left quarter of the canvas, up to the extreme corner. It is from this point that the work finds, so to speak, its trigger, releasing compressed energy in a diagonal and ascending direction. The release of these energies produces a rarefaction of the expressive mapping and occupies the entire area between the lower left and upper right vertex. The work, therefore, “explodes” narratively in a macroscopic and dilated sense with respect to the point of origin of the thrusts, until its capitulation and natural conclusion in the upper right corner, where the fruit of the work appears, in a purely chromatic form: they are the shades of the oil extracted after grinding. These colors are inseparably mixed with a strongly material technique, expressed at the highest level precisely in the two key vertices of the canvas: the lower left and the upper right. In the latter it almost seems like you can touch the consistency of the processing paste with your eyes. On the other hand, in the first, the virgin fruit as such physically appears. The reading direction of this work is, therefore, oblique and ascending, from left to right and from bottom to top.
From the harvest in the fields, one might say, to the final product. A process made of men and women, of sweat and sacrifice.
The diegesis, in this case, is anything but cryptic. From the primordial fruit, exemplified through a plurality of features, there is then solar expansion. The yellowish tones invade almost the entire body of the work, suggesting a continuous flow of growth and maturation. They are the colors of the cultivated fields, the colors of the Italian lands. These are interspersed with graphic symbolism and intertwining geometric trajectories. The work is poly-dimensional. Densely layered. The brightness that pervades the work is at times blurred: this produces a sort of “fog” that dampens the incisiveness of the dominant pictorial traits, towards a logical-structural relaxation that finds its peak in the final part of the painting. It is here, in fact, that everything is now accomplished.
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