On the occasion of the loan of the painting Portrait of Mrs. Casiraghi Oriani to the Giovanni Segantini exhibition. Master of the portrait organized at the Segantini Museum in St. Moritz, the Gallery of Modern Art houses a masterpiece from the collection of the Swiss museum, in storage by the Otto Fishbacher Foundation: Return from the woods.
In a cold winter landscape, an old peasant woman drags a sled behind her, loaded with a large log and some twisted roots. Following a path marked in the snow, she is returning home after the daily grind. In the village, in front of her, the first yellow and warm lights come on, in contrast with the surrounding environment. The mountain range that forms the backdrop to the scene, low and horizontal, is transformed into an icy cap that weighs on the town of Savognino, where Segantini himself lived for a few years from 1886.
Return from the wood is one of the first works that mark Segantini's approach to the themes of symbolism. The mountain landscapes studied in voluntary isolation in Grisons, Switzerland, with their intense light and unspoiled nature, together with the influence of the most modern European painting known through Vittore Grubicy de Dragon, led the artist towards a new pictorial language. The painting is in fact exemplary of the results achieved by Segantini in the scrupulous use of the pointillism technique, which involved the application of pure color directly on the canvas and not mixed on the palette, obtaining effects of great brightness, evident here in the crystalline whites and grays. silver, rich in blue tones.
But the clear and silent snowy landscape also retains deep symbolic meanings, linked to the cycle of death and rebirth of nature. The roots carried on the sled refer to the life that comes out of the earth, which is still momentarily bare, almost lethargic. The elderly woman follows a linear path, already plowed by others before her, which leads her inexorably to her goal: human destiny is ineluctable and the woman goes there with proud resignation, perhaps looking with hope at the lights and the bell tower, which with its tip it is the only element that stands out against the sky, uniting the earthly plane and the spiritual plane.