Salvo in the 80s: Light and FormLondon
The Arrival of the "33", 1979-80
Leonforte 1947–2015 Turin
Signed, dated, and inscribed the stretcher: "Salvo dicembre 79 gennaio 80 l'arrivo del '33'"
Oil on canvas
40 x 80 cm (15 3/4 x 31 1/2 in.)
ProvenancePrivate collection, Milan.
LiteratureMatteo Galbiati, ed., Salvo: un'arte senza compromessi, exh. cat. Dep Art, arte moderna e contemporanea, Milan, 2017, pp. 66-69, ill.
ExhibitionsMilan, Dep Art, arte moderna e contemporanea, Salvo: un'arte senza compromessi, 18 October–23 December 2017.
An almost ghostly tram, inscribed with the number 33, glides along a deserted, snow-dusted thoroughfare under the light of a silvery moon. The low, squared buildings of the suburban cityscape stand sentry in parallel phalanxes to either side of the train tracks, while two towers and a dome rise at left, suggestive of an ecclesiastical complex beyond. A brief allée of barren, snow-dappled trees lines the embankment where the tram pauses, their barren branches dancing calligraphically upwards into the reaches of the night sky. Delicate street lanterns alternate with the trees, brushing their branches with flickers of light and illuminating the buildings beside them in geometric passages. The tram skimming the city streets was a favorite motif for Salvo. Here, the lonely driver, isolated in the quotidian beauty of a winter night, offers a meditation on man’s solitude in the modern urban environment. A careful student of the Old Masters, Salvo seems to evoke the simplified architectural forms and linear perspective that were among the chief advances of early Renaissance painting in Italy.