Arturo Martini was a leading Italian sculptor between World War I and II He moved between a very vigorous (almost ancient Roman) classicism and modernism He was associated with public sculpture in fascist Italy, but later renounced his medium altogether Martini seems to have been an active supporter of the Futurist movement between 1914 and 1918 He certainly corresponded with Umberto Boccioni and produced a modernist booklet in 1918 His early works show an archaic tendency, two-dimensionality and polychrome effects…
His later works returned to a more traditional style, but with irony, agility and an eclectic capacity to combine or reinterpret sources Between the wars, he became the semi-official sculptor of the fascist regime He was literally overwhelmed by commitments: great monuments and commemorative works for courthouses, churches and universities Examples include the great bronze at La Sapienza University in Rome and the memorial to the aviator Tito Minniti He sculpted the monument to the Fallen at the Palazzo delle Poste, Naples
After the fall of Mussolini, feeling that his art had been corrupted, he published an essay against sculpture in the magazine La Martini in 1945: Scultura, lingua morta (sculpture, a dead language)
He worked with many materials (clay, wood, plaster, stone, especially marble, bronze, silver) but never moved far from figuration, although he was able to model abstract forms, as his atmosfera di una testa (vibrations of a head) of 1944 testifies He exercised great influence on later Italian sculptors such as Marino Marini, Emilio Greco, Marcello Mascherini, Pericle Fazzini, and his student Fiore de Henriquez
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