Goodbye (1957) Umberto Mastroianni

Otto Snoek
About the artwork

This work by Umberto Mastroianni was originally in the hall of the former Central Station. It is a gift from the Rotterdam municipal administration to the Dutch Railways 'as a lasting reminder of the gratitude of the municipality and the citizenry about the realization of the new station building'. It was presented to Mayor Van Walsum on the construction day, 2 May 1957, during the official opening of the not yet completed Central Station by the mayor Van Walsum. The design of the then new station was by Sybold van Ravesteyn, the 'house architect' of the Dutch Railways. He was closely involved in the choice of the image in the hall of the station. The original title of the image was Gli Amanti, either The lovers. But in the prudish fifties people thought Goodbye more in place. To reinforce the image terrace on the Westersingel in 2000-2001, the Dutch Railways has handed over the image for a longer period of time, awaiting the current Central Station. The image is made up of two abstracted people, who have melted together into a compact mass. That is why it fits in with the human figure theme of the sculpture terrace. If you look closely, you will recognize legs, hulls, arms and heads in the image. At the rear of the image, a broad-armed cross can be recognized as the basic form. The swirling pair of figures reflects the dynamics of cubism and futurism, (Italian) art movements at the beginning of the twentieth century. In the fifties Mastroianni made human images that can be traced back to both these movements. The diagonal shapes are continued in the base. Mastroianni worked with a natural motif. During the Second World War he made classical busts and portraits. After the war he reproduced natural subjects in such a way that the result was highly abstract. An example of this is the representation of a cloud in 1949. For more information: Sculpture International Rotterdam.

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About the artist

The Italian Umberto Mastroianni (Fontana Liri, 1910 - Marino, 1998) studied sculpture and made sculptures in bronze and natural stone, later in his career also graphic work. Mastroianni initially made busts and portraits in classical style. New ideas about visual art, introduced by Italian futurists around 1910 and settled with old traditions, passed him by. From 1941 onwards his work became more and more abstract, not only his visual language, but also his subjects, such as a cloud. In the 1950s he received international recognition, such as participation in the Venice Biennale and exhibitions in the US. Going back to early cubism and futurism, the human aspect of his figures continued to play a major role. In the sixties, the appearance of his sculptures became more erratic and the solid, plastic forms gave way to a more openwork structure.

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