Gran creu negra (Large Black Cross)
Acrylic on board
199.8 × 199.9 × 3 cm (78 11/16 × 78 11/16 × 1 3/16 in.)
Deeply marked by the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War, Antoni Tàpies introduced the motif of the cross, symbol of death and mourning, into his painting in the early 1940s, with reference to the cemeteries he saw multiplying at that time. The lacerations, gashes, scratches that run through his work express the violence of the wars he endured.
His universe presents a wide range of symbols from the cross, to the moon, to letters, numbers and asterisks. On Gran Creu Negra, the letters T and A are the initials of the artist but also those of his first name and that of his wife ("Antoni y Teresa"). These elements form a recurring repertoire that can be found in his works.
As forerunner of Arte Povera, Antoni Tapies uses in his works poor materials such as dust, paper, clay. He thus creates a real relief on the canvas, sometimes resembling a sculpture.