Art History, Artists, Expressionism, Painters

Silly Woman by Anita Malfatti

Silly Woman, in Portuguese A boba is a painting by Brazilian Modernist painter Anita Malfatti; this title has also been translated as The idiot or The fool. This painting is from the MAC Museum collection (Contemporary Art Museum of the University of São Paulo) and it is part of the works shown in what was probably the most important exhibition of the artist, in 1917. This painting is considered by many art historians as the climax of her expressionist production.

Description and Analysis

In this painting is depicted a woman in warm and vivid tones. She’s set against an almost abstract background that is developed with quick diagonal strokes. Some people see what could be mountainous backdrop, or maybe overturned landscape of sky and grass.

Silly Woman – 1916 (Photo Credit: Wikiart)

The woman sits with her eyes fixed upwards, what gives the painting a movement in this direction. The blacklines used to delineate also highlight her vague expression and her pursed lips reveal a pensive state. In the painting is clear that the overall rendering of shapes tends towards a cubist simplicity, as well as a significant expressionist language. Her presence at the foreground and her lap suggested by a small area in black that disappears off the bottom right edge of the painting, force us into her space.

It’s really impressive the freedom used by the artist to develop the theme and to give this name to the painting: Silly woman.

If we analyse this painting among others by the artist, we can see clearly the confrontation between academic and modern art.