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Piero Dorazio
Urania, 1965

Oil on canvas
197 x 148 cm
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020




1927   born in Rom  
2005   died in Perugia  

The Italian painter, graphic artist, sculptor, art tutor, writer and editor Piero Dorazio is regarded as one of the leading representatives of concrete colour painting and a pioneer of abstraction in Italy. Initially he studied architecture, but after the Second World war he turned his attention to painting. Following an early realist phase in the style of Socialist Realism, his artistic production subsequently in amid a lively discourse with the avant-garde and the stylistic currents of his times. In 1947 he was one of the signatories of the “Manifesto del Formalismo” and co-founder of the “Gruppo Forma 1”, an association of artists formed to counter Socialist Realism and the provincialism of Italian art, and set about propagating abstract art. Right from the outset Dorazio’s interests were governed by the phenomena and the optical mechanisms of light and colour. Freed of all symbolic connotations, light and colour become structural elements that not only form space, but constitute fundamental spatial values. In the 1960s he made his first compositions based on ribbons of colour. He developed his characteristic vocabulary of forms using lines, strokes, fields, patches and surfaces that overlap, interweave or unite to create ornamental structures. Primary colours, at times expanded to include secondary or complementary colours, generally dominated his palette. The work shown here, Urania from the year 1965, belongs by its nature to the works involving simpler structures. Extending before a blue monochrome background is a rough grid of coloured stripes that virtually covers the whole surface. Both cold and warm shades can be seen, ranging from orange to a bluish turquoise. One red stripe alone flouts the regularity of the arrangement as its stretches up diagonally from the middle of the lower margin to the upper right hand corner. Through the alternation of primary, secondary and complementary colours, the artist achieves an enormous vibrancy that is heightened by the white stripes. Verticals and horizontals intersect in luminous transparency and suggest a spatiality of indeterminable depth through the visual play of foreground and background.