Un artista dopo due guerre. Le Demolizioni di Mario Mafai tra critica e militanza
Mario Mafai’s life and work is characterized by ideological and political interests concretized in certain iconographic and stylistic choices and, between 1945 and 1958, in his militancy in the ranks of the Italian Communist Party. These motives, in the immediate post-war period, also influenced the critical interpretation of his work generating, in the case of the Demolitions series (1936-1937) instrumentally interpreted by some critics (Palma Bucarelli, Renato Guttuso, Giulio Carlo Argan) as an open anti-fascist stance, a real “revision” of Mafai’s artistic path between the two wars, legitimizing his repositioning “at the left”. The essay traces the critical fortunes of Demolitions before and after the war and, intertwining various textual and iconographic sources, reconstructs the history of the series of paintings, the stylistic influences and the message entrusted to them by the artist, and in parallel, his problematic relationship with the PCI and the post-war Italian cultural scene.