The childlike eye of Medardo Rosso

Medardo Rosso Ecce Puer, 1906

"Ecce Puer", bronzo, 1906

“Then Malpelo scratched his head, smiled and made a scornful gesture like a malicious brat who knows it all”: the protagonist of “Rosso Malpelo” – a famous novella by Giovanni Verga, probably the best writer in Italian realism (Verismo) – is just a young, mischievous boy. Because of his red hair, he attracts prejudices and is the victim of abuse by the men he works with; once his only friend dies, he gives up and walks into the mine, never to return.

Some of the children sculpted by the Turin-born artist Medardo Rosso (1858-1928) in wax, plaster cast or bronze seem to echo that “know it all” expression, but capture it in its purity, innocence, and amazement in front of an unknown world.

They reflect, in fact, Medardo Rosso’s view of them, which was genuine and unpolluted by prejudice.

August 1, 2014