Fifty One Days On Mount Abu : XLIV, Silence | Francesco Clemente

Fifty One Days On Mount Abu : XLIV, Silence 1995 | Watercolor 27,5 x 20,8 Inch

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XLIV, Silence is part of Francesco Clemente's series of studies into the mythology and spirituality of non-Western cultures.

This watercolour depicts three glowing human-form silhouettes on an ochre yellow background, resembling a mirage, as if they were burning on the pigmented and vivid paint. The black faces and skeletal bodies of these identifiably masculine red figures are anonymous and hold symmetrical poses. With their arms partially raised and their hands turned towards the audience, they seem to be praying or, on the contrary, surrendering and begging for mercy.

This scene unfolds beneath a clear blue sky, which gives the work a feeling of warmth and tranquillity.

The Fifty One Days On Mount Abu series comprises 51 watercolours completed by Francesco Clemente while travelling in India. He travelled alone in this sacred place of pilgrimage in Rajasthan. Ritual can be seen in every aspect of life there, engendering "a state of extraordinary concentration" according to his 2012 book Made in India.

Clemente is the father of the "Transavanguardia", an Italian artistic movement that started in the 1980s and centred on the rediscovery of painting during a period when minimalist and conceptual art ruled. In his work he deals with the eternal theme of the cycle of life and death, depicting a natural and comforting world through pure painting and artistic gesture.