Friday, November 25, 2016

La Madre dell'Ucciso - Franscesco Ciusa

One can go long and long about philosophy of arts, various artistic mediums and their final effect on human perception and psyche, skills of the artist and so on. But the greatest of the art pieces have something in common irrespective of the mediums, aesthetics, craft of the artist or the popularity; the ability to poignantly express human conditions. Look at Edvard Munch's Scream or Michealangelo's David or Van Gogh's At Eternity's Gate. Of course, "what is great art" is subjective but the common denominator of human subjectivity, I guess, overlaps greatly with the complete possible spectrum of "greatness".

I first visited Sardinia in 2015 and the island struck a spell on me with its landscapes, seascapes, history, nuraghes, food, people and beautiful small towns. I visited it again in 2016 and stayed at Nuoro for a night. It's a hermit city quietly resting in the mountainous inland of the island, away from the bustle of touristic businesses along the coastlines and has still preserved that "aboriginal" feel. It was a little boring or precisely expressed, a little lifeless compared to other cities like Bosa on the island, but there was something different about it. I usually plan some of my travel days specifically according to the Musuem opening times and if fact, we visited three Museums in Nuoro in just one and a half day. It is said to be Athens of Sardinia for its native brewed writers, painters and sculptors.

The second museum was a Nuoresi sculptor's museum. It was almost empty during the siesta hours with only handful of people walking and gazing at the sculptures of the artist. The corridor was long with small rooms on both sides and at the end, on the left side, there was a quiet darker room. Upon entering the room I was frozen for a second to see a life-size sculpture of an old woman wearing a headscarf, sitting stoically, holding her knees together with her old frail hands. A small light was amplifying the mystery by just throwing enough light from the top that one could barely see her forehead under the scarf. The wrinkles on her face were telling, her cheeks were showing bones and the veins on her hands were so alive that I could not stop observing every inch of the carved stone. The most striking thing about it, was the expression on her face and her slightly pursed lips: she was sad but proud, she was old but strong, there was a touch of regret, pain and misery on her face but nothing called for pity. Minutes flew by, I stood there, locked, wondering about the old woman and at the prodigious skills of the sculptor. Then I looked down to read the name of the sculpture, it was like those rare revelations: "La madre dell'ucciso" with an English translation on the label "Mother of the killed".

Those few minutes left one long impression on me and even after months, she keeps on mystifying me when I think about her. I didn't have a camera with me, so I take liberty to post her photos here from Wikipedia.

La madre dell'ucciso - Franscesco Ciusa
Photo by Davide Mauro / CC BY-SA 4.0

Coming back to my point about the greatness of art, this sculpture has become one of the most beloved pieces of art for me for its sheer humanity, besides the awe-inspiring craftwork from Ciusa. It is perfectly executed with precise dimensions and proportions just as if she was alive. No blood is flowing through those veins and nowhere is there a beating heart, yet it deeply moves the onlooker. I believe Ciusa poured an eternal life into something which was once just a stone. And that makes great art really great.

La madre dell'ucciso - Franscesco Ciusa
Photo by Roburq / CC BY-SA 3.0

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