Esprit de finesse


Acrylic on canvas

Equilateral triangle 210 cm side

It is unusual to see a triangular painting and even less so when it covers the corner of a room, thus altering its space. L’Esprit de finesse introduces a discreet arrhythmia in our visual field, which is used to right angles.

This perceptual incident makes sense in relation to the artwork's title. Distinct from the ‘spirit of geometry’, the ‘spirit of finesse’ is described by mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal in his Pensées (1670). Its principles “are found in common use, and are before the eyes of everybody,” but “so subtle and so numerous, that it is almost impossible but that some escape notice.” With this artwork, Giulio Paolini invites us to become aware of our environment and of the invisible forces that support it.

Held in the Pinault Collection, L’Esprit de finesse was shown for the first time in 2006 at the Where Are We Going? exhibition at Palazzo Grassi, in Venice.