Figura di profilo


Painted tissue paper on polished stainless steel

62.5 x 50.5 x 2.3 cm (24 5/8 x 19 7/8 x 7/8 in.)

The figure of an unknown man with a receding hairline and wearing a brownish jacket is set on a metal plate. Painted in a realistic manner on silk paper, this male profile has a strangely neutral character that borders on the unreal. When getting closer, the viewer finds himself face to face with his own reflection, his own image superimposed on that of the subject and absorbed in the artwork. Such a magic trick is surprising.

Michelangelo Pistoletto starts the Quadri specchianti (mirror paintings) in the early 1960s. By applying images obtained through photographic transfer on highly polished steel plates, the artist includes both the viewers and their surroundings in the work of art. This gesture of reversing the relationship with perspective made the artist a pioneer of the Arte Povera Italian movement, defined as such by Germano Celant in 1967.

Held in the Pinault Collection, Michelangelo Pistoletto's Figura di profilo was first shown in 2006 at the Where Are We Going? exhibition at Palazzo Grassi, in Venice.