RITORNO AL BAROCCO: Lucio Fontana, Crocifisso, 1949

In occasion of the exhibition RITORNO AL BAROCCO. FONTANA, LEONCILLO, MELOTTI, curated by Andrea Bacchi, ML Fine Art is pleased to present this extraordinary Crocifisso relized by Lucio Fontana in 1949, one of the most significant works made by the artist in the critical years following his return to Italy from Argentina in 1947.


Fontana’s interest in religious subject may be traced to the beginning of his training at Accademia di Brera. There, under sculptor Adolfo Wildt, Fontana created a number of small ceramic works for MIlan’s Cimitero Monumentale. While this subject became less frequent in the 1930s, after his return to Milan Fontana reprised it with vigour. 

It is likely that Crucifixions in particular engaged Fontana’s imagination not only for their inherent narrative drama, but also for their potential for spatial development, emphatically expressed by the vertical and horizontal axes of Christ’s limbs, echoed in the cross. 

In the present Crucifixion Fontana elevates the dynamism of the Crucifixion’s vertical format to sensational effect, with Christ's body emerging forcefully from what appears to be a formless mass. This block of cold, glistening polychrome clay is dramatically contrasted by the white stylized Christ, defined by his sinuously contoured limbs, drooping head and loincloth fluttering in the wind.