The Sicilian writer Luigi Pirandello was a great fan of Adolfo Wildt (Milan, 1868-1931); like Gabriele D’Annunzio, he also collected his works. He even commissioned the Swiss-origin sculptor to make the masks for his most famous masterpiece, “Six Characters in Search of an Author”.
Wildt was deeply inspired by the common literary theme of the “double”, which Pirandello explored masterly in his prose and plays.
His pained masks – with hollow eyes that could cry out the darkness of an ailing soul, or let in the light of reality to dispel all lies and evil – clearly call back to the faces described by Pirandello in his essay on humorism (“L’Umorismo”): “Each one fixes his mask up as he can, the exterior mask”, but inside we all have “another one, often contradicting the one outside”.
We might say that Wildt’s metaphysical and surrealist works represent “the other mask” Pirandello mentions. But clearly, they are a clue that the Agrigento-born author was wrong when he declared, “Nothing is true”: the pain and gloom Wildt expressed were certainly real.