About The Artwork
Italian sculptor Mario Negri devoted himself almost exclusively to the human form, either alone or in clusters. Negri studied architecture at the Polytechnical Institute of Milan prior to being called up to service during World War II. Starting in the late 1940s, he worked as an apprentice in artisans’ workshops and wrote art criticism for the Italian journal Domus, before dedicating himself full-time to creating sculpture. He garnered invitations to exhibit at the Venice Biennale, the Rome Quadriennale and other one-person and group exhibitions throughout Europe and the United States.
Orizzontale depicts a reclining female nude — a traditional subject in Western art — in a decidedly modern manner. Comprised of a single, volumetric solid, at first the sculpture seems abstract but gradually shapes emerge that suggest arms folded above the head, cube-like breasts, a curving belly, and bent knees. The dense, blocky figure appears to hover above a flat self-base, which is mounted on a wooden slab. Despite an emphasis on geometry with a strong rectangular orientation, Negri manages to convey the organic contours of a lounging form.
Assistant Professor, Frederik Meijer Honors College, Grand Valley State University