Pencil and charcoal on paper applied on cardboard
The drawing made in 1916 is a self-portrait, a theme on which Wildt dwells in crucial moments of his artistic activity. As in the one carved in marble in 1909, to which the drawing is closely linked, the artist's image is similar to a religious symbolism. In fact, in 1909 the shape of the face stands out on a background plate on which, in addition to the name and date, three crosses are engraved, to indicate the three troubled years of image processing and creative difficulty. The drawing of 1916, on the other hand, in addition to showing a more complete abandonment in the figure, which almost suggests a funeral portrait, sees the artist's head superimposed on an indefinite background on which, however, as the only legible elements, there are two crossed axes , easily interpreted as a cross, given the attitude of the figure. The design of the Civic Collections mediates the tragic expressiveness of the Nordic matrix, also mindful of the emotional charge of Gothic sculpture, with a translation of the figure in the marble, evident in the modeling of the volumes of the face (with the highlights that underline the stone quality) and in the typology of their simplification, as well as in the choice of leaving the white eye sockets below the lowered eyelids. The drawing alludes to the previous sculpted self-portrait, and, more generally, to Gothic, Michelangelo and Hellenistic sculpture. The sculpture of 1909, on the other hand, empty, as shown by the absence of the eyes, refers to ancient masks, in a game of models replicated in always different materials and types, but united by the subtle balance between tragic expressiveness and the coldness of the sign.