The Pianist

Italo De Grandi | Undated
Gouache on paper | 30 x 47.5 cm
Period 1929-1939: Juvenile Impetus
Imaginary | Landscape with architecture | Characters
Inventory IDG-662 | Private
collection Photo L'Atelier De Grandi


Artistic features


Sleeping nude on a beach where a pianist plays at the foot of a modernist architecture

Maybe a two-sided dream? On the one hand, the young woman in the foreground imagines her life renewed by this state-of-the-art modern house, rocked at the piano by the man of her life. On the other, the pianist in the background is rocking his sweetheart languidly on the deserted beach, open to all winds.



Italo juxtaposes two figures, one in the foreground, the other in the background, and joins them by the surface of the beach and the marine horizon. But this union is dystopian, since the two perspectives do not share the same vanishing point: it is this slight optical uneasiness that gives the scene its dreamlike character.


Gouache on paper

In this early work, Italo, with his experience as a chromo-lithographer, who was used to engraving colours one by one on stone and their successive superimposition effects, chose gouache precisely for its covering properties, which allow him to create a crystalline atmosphere, without blurring or transparency.


Pianist's 10 Colour Palette
Dominant: 8877150

The clear contrast between the earthy colours and the airy tones reinforces the unrealistic atmosphere of the scene. The use of separate, adjacent or superimposed hatching and flat tints further accentuates this contrast, in the manner of a Staccato in music.



A global light is an almost multi-directional lighting, almost without shadows. In this scene, apart from the pianist, everything is visible in broad daylight. Its dreamlike aspect does not reside in the shadowy areas or the blurring of shapes: it emanates from this insistent light that is as global as it is all-encompassing, made even more present by the immaculate whiteness of the construction housing the pianist.



1929-1939 : Juvenile Impetus

A steady hand and life ahead of you open up all the prospects that are invigorated by the advent of innovative artistic currents. This is the time of freedom and daring. Full-length portraits, allegories tinged with symbolism and futurism, depicting thoughtful, even ecstatic characters, celebrating cultivated nature, friendship and family, in a kind of mysticism of immanence.

Related artists:

De Chiricco

This timeless bath of light and the juxtaposition of different perspectives recalls the unreal lighting and architectural audacity of De Chiricco's paintings. (Mystery and melancholy of a street, 1914).

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The Pianist