The slogan compliments the work of art perfectly based on the context in which it provides. When we think of the word beginning we must also think of the end as well. These words cannot survive without each other. Il Quarto Stato (The Fourth Estate) gives the viewer the insight into the purpose of the painting completed in 1901. The canvas is the outcome of 10 years of work. It’s reason for being was to celebrate the new ideals of humanitarian socialism using the theme of a procession of workers advancing while simultaneously marking the final important episode for Italy’s figurative civilization.
Il Quarto Stato is the depiction of the proletariat during a time of revolution. Leading the mass are three distinct figures but the viewer’s eye is brought initially to the man in the middle simply because of the detailed emotion in his face. One can see the theme of the painting in his face: their backs to the dark past and marching decisively forward towards a luminous light and positive new beginning. The figures in the painting transcend arts lamentations with their expressions fixed on us in their march of protest aimed in redeeming their rights and earning a fair salary. Another key theme in the canvas is the woman carrying a baby leading the crowd. This symbolizes the beginning of women’s strength, who had before generally been portrayed in a household ambiance with their family.
The artistic technique used by da Volpedo is called divisionism. But we must ask ourselves: what is being divided? The artist ingeniously divides colors. If we look at the earth in the lower part of the painting we see that the colors are divided in a series of stripes; almost like threads. Color is simply spread on the canvas with a single brush stroke. Divisionism gives movement to color and as a result acquires a life of its own. Color is continuously interrupted and broken, starting and ending which is undoubtedly a metaphor for the scene of the painting.
Not only does Il Quarto Stato symbolize beginning and end, it depicts how one event can change history. Such is the significance with Expo in Città and BEginning and how it will change the way we view the human condition. Not only are Expo 2015 and Expo in Città an invaluable occasion for the world, but also a showcase for the city of Milan. “Expo in Città is an ambitious challenge,” the Mayor of Milan, Giuliano Pisapia, said. Milan is an enclave of cultures, areas and history providing new awareness for the inhabitants that cross its cobblestone streets.
The BEginning slogan and Il Quarto Stato exemplify the artistic heritage of Milan. Such is why Milano is a place to BE.
What does art mean to you? Post on Facebook, or Twitter using the hashtag #Expoincittà and tell us!
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