Skip to contentSkip to navigation
Become a Member
Explore today's schedule
Visit MMFA for free by becoming a Member
Learn more
Back
Currently shown
Alberto Martini

Self-portrait

Artist

Alberto Martini
Oderzo, Italy, 1876 – Milan 1954

Title

Self-portrait

Date

1929

Materials

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

65 x 54 cm

Credits

Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest, inv. 2001.5

Collection

Western Art

Martini stands at the crossroads of Symbolism, Italian pittura metafisica and Surrealism. His work, like that of de Chirico, was “proto-Surrealist.” His grotesque, dramatic images demonstrate a visionary’s sensibility and a taste for macabre eroticism. In his studio in Paris, Martini entertained many well-known figures of the day. When Breton invited him to join the Surrealist group, Martini refused, preferring independence and solitude. And yet, he was friends with Picabia, Ernst, Magritte and Miró. He was the inventor of a “black style” characteristic of his original “teleplastic” and “psychoplastic” approach, executed with a deliberate absence of restraint and a creative intensity that he himself likened to hypnosis or clairvoyance. The hallucinatory power of this canvas is comparable to contemporary experiments by Surrealist photographers: it is almost an X-ray portrait. Its stamp of strangeness reveals the artist’s soul, his perception of the self— obsessed with erotic visions that fire the senses of sight and touch, expressing voyeuristic, even murderous, impulses.

Add a touch of culture to your inbox
Subscribe to the Museum newsletter

Bourgie Hall Newsletter sign up

This website uses cookies in order to optimize your browsing experience and for promotional purposes. To learn more, please see our policy on the protection of personal Iinformation