Fausto Melotti 1901-1986


Fausto Melotti (1901-1986) was an Italian painter and sculptor who is famous for his slender brass sculptures and small ceramics. Melotti's early education in Florence introduced him to the art of the Renaissance which would have a profound influence throughout his life. In the interwar years, Melotti became a leading member of the group of Milanese abstract artists which included his lifelong friend Lucio Fontana. Inspired by his engineering and music studies, Melotti's abstract sculpture had an immaterial, rhythmic and intellectual effect on its viewers: a mixture of nature, geometry and music delicately expressed in brass or plaster.


After witnessing the destruction of the Second World War, Melotti felt it necessary to introduce the human figure into his work. The small ceramic stage sets, or 'teatrini', produced at this time were more narrative and theatrical than the earlier work; their fatalistic melancholy would endure in Melotti's later work. Like the city squares of de Chirico's 'metaphysical paintings', Melotti's little theatres urge the viewer to bring to life the narrative fragments into a coherent performance. By the late 1960s Melotti's transformation of commonplace materials such as plaster and painted fabric linked him to the Arte Povera generation of artists.