The mournful melancholy of Casorati’s still lifes
Writer Guido Ceronetti once noted that in Felice Casorati’s still lifes, “enigmatic ‘things’ turn into fantastic, figurative manifestations. Bowls, lemons, eggs, flowers, tablecloths […] enter directly […] deeply into the beholder.”
Piedmontese painter Casorati (1883-1963) focused on composing still lifes especially from the 1930s on.
Everyday objects, represented on canvas or on panel, underwent a simplification and stylization, through which we can sense the artist’s aspiration to create a profound intimacy between viewer and depicted objects.
An intimacy that another writer, Carlo Levi (1902-1975), beautifully described after visiting Casorati’s studio one day. Noting his paintings were scattered all over, he wrote:
“I barely had a moment to look at them, like a thief, and they seemed wonderful. It’s hard to say what I was feeling […] in that stolen moment. But I am sure that it was through those paintings that I came to the sudden realization that painting is like enchanting free spaces, like a manifestation of a time that is inside things and at the bottom of the heart, which is not in the still and dead object, but in its real form and number. A number that is closed, as implicit as existence in reality, inside a Greek temple: relationship, silence – the classic, aching melancholy of living in our time.”