A fascinating mask by Luigi Ontani in papier-mâché, painted in oils.
Perhaps it is the first mask made in papier-mâché, or at least one of the first. Later, the materials adopted for his sculptures were to be wood and, particularly, ceramic (more recently, marble too). The images of Dante and Pinocchio bear his features: Ontani always places himself at the centre of his works, indeed he “interprets” them in first person, pursuing a narcissistic obsession that is the focal point of his artistic language.
A multifaceted and fantastical artist, capable of expressing profound ambiguity, together with a great sense of irony. An artist I love for his capacity for transformation, for the creative ability that embraces the entire world, for a sort of playful freshness that permeates his work and, sometimes, for a faint melancholy.
The mask is very beautiful: you would never think of papier-mâché, it is so perfect. As well as being a rare piece by Ontani, it is also an object of particular beauty, and heavy symbolism: Pinocchio and Dante Alighieri.
We would consider them to be opposites, both related to the world of Italian literature, but with entirely different roles: the author and the character. They are united by their “Italian identity”, represented and celebrated throughout the world by both.