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Alfonso Canciani, The Foundrymen

Alfonso Canciani, The Foundrymen
Alfonso Canciani, The Foundrymen Alfonso Canciani, The Foundrymen Alfonso Canciani, The Foundrymen Alfonso Canciani, The Foundrymen Alfonso Canciani, The Foundrymen Alfonso Canciani, The Foundrymen Alfonso Canciani, The Foundrymen Alfonso Canciani, The Foundrymen

Alfonso Canciani, The Foundrymen

Ref: 16315

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Alfonso Canciani (1863-1955), Italian-Austrian sculptor.

Figure of a tired worker with mallet, patinated bronze, signed and dated 1910.

Part art of his "four workers of iron" series created in 1907.

H:41 W:15 D:11 CM

H:16.1 W:5.9 D:4.3 INCHES

The foundrymen - ref- Revoltella Museum

The figure is part of the group Four workers of iron and fire which includes two other standing male figures bearing work tools used in foundries. They were purchased in 1938 when the artist, now elderly, was living in Trieste where in 1919, returning from Vienna, he had found a teaching job. In fact, the fall of the Empire had put an end to a brilliant career that had begun at the beginning of the century as part of the Secession. The group was replicated several times and used by the artist himself to develop various compositions, including funerary ones. It was exhibited in many exhibitions both in Vienna and in Germany and Italy. Today, the two not owned by Revoltella can be found in private collections in Udine and Cormons.
From the beginning Canciani had shown a keen interest in the poetics of work and already in 1890, during his academic studies in Vienna, he had obtained a prize for the opera Alla sera (tired worker). The theme - after a long period dedicated above all to Dante's feat, the monumental plaster group exhibited at the 1899 Biennale - was resumed in 1902 with some figures (Sailor, Blacksmith, Tired Worker with Mallet, The Bat-beater) now dispersed, very similar to those created in 1907 for the Four Workers group.
Canciani's workers, like in other ways the workers of the Belgian sculptor Constantin Meunier, to whom they can be compared, have a profound symbolic meaning: they are representation (Darstellung) and model-image (Bild) of men who maintain dignity even in 'worry; unlike the bourgeois, whose life increasingly dissolves into the role of the spectator, the worker is the one who acts by changing the appearance of the world. What distinguishes man, therefore, is work and art is one of the noblest jobs that is given to man. The sculptor himself evokes Vulcan, the man of fire, the man of the forge, of molten bronze, the virile character who forges granite with blows of a mallet. His work, more than any other, takes on a dramatic tone of action: sculpture must celebrate work and «contribute to goodness and ennoble hearts, preach charity and love, glorify every effort at moral elevation».