By Martina Tanga

Happy Birthday to Italian Modernist artist Mario Sironi, who was born on this day, May 12 1885 in Sassari, Sardinia. He did not grow up on the Island, however, as only after a year of his birth, his family moved to Rome. Sironi started out as an engineer, following his father profession, but was quickly drawn to the arts and, in 1903, enrolled at the Academy in Rome. There he met soon-to-be Futurists Giacomo Balla, Umberto Boccioni, and Gino Severini. In 1914, just at the outset of the First World War, Sironi moved to Milan to be part of the newly minted Futurist movement. His involvement with the group, however, was only ideological, as his paintings of the period were solid and more realistic, than dynamic.

During the First World Sironi courageously served at the front. After the war, Sironi settled back in Milan and joined the Fascist Party as it was ascending to power. During Mussolini’s reign, Sironi worked his way up to be the leading caricaturist for the Fascist press, contributing also art criticism. He continued to work as an artist and was involved with large scale mural projects during the 1930s. With the demise of the Duce, Sironi’s work became increasingly dark and abstract. He died in Milan in 1961. 

La lampada, 1919, oil on canvas, 78 x 56 cm, Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

Dancing on Stage, oil on canvas, Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art.

Susanna and the Elders, 1935, Oil on canvas on composition board, Museum of Modern Art, New York

Multiplication, c. 1941, oil on canvas, Museum of Modern Art, New York

Composizione o Composizione e figure, 1957, oil on canvas, Fondazione Cariplo

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