In Bruno’s work painting revealed a single basic foundation: the shadow. If in engraving he had tried to obtain a “structured” black capable of restoring the light, in the various pastel techniques the commitment defined itself as a quest for colour, or of a luminous “shadow”, which was typical also of the engraving. Engraving and painting present themselves therefore as two complementary aspects of the same issue.
Someone, as we have seen, recalled the “chalky and porous nature” of Bruno’s pastels and water paintings; paintings but also graphics, “course-grained”, essential, strongly evocative, starting with the aesthetical knowledge of black; or with the colour, like a form of “opacification”, in that the chromatic pigment is able to “capture the light”(6).
This alchemic dimension of colour contrasts with the simple fading of light that gives rise to grey tones. Goethe, for example, compares the forming of grey to the action of contrast carried out by a grand glass placed in front of rays of sunlight. “In this way also from the image of the sun, so energetic, would rise only a weak contiguous image, corresponding to attenuation”(7).
In Bruno we are not dealing with “dimmed images”, with an optical phenomenon of “attenuation” of the light, or a simple physical phenomenon. There is something deeper. His drawings, pastels, engravings and frescoes by means of a compact fabric of weave and warp “reveal […] in their warm and enveloping tones, a transparency that appeases the spirit… transmitting a great sense of peace”(8).
“Illumination”, “sense of peace”, “transparency - which Aristotle defined as “what is visible” - are the poetic and metaphoric senses in which we find Bruno’s shapes, like interconnecting moments of a symbolic fabric entrusted to the shady and discreet appeal of colour. In fact, Lorenzo Bruno, with his persistent marks, restores to us a seductive sense of image, like manifesting oneself by a shady light, that makes itself visible “transparent”.
“Suffused light”, shady to be exact. We are dealing with a light like “transparency”, which we can intend as trans - appearance, the making something visible “through”: here is the light that makes the shadow appear. Shadow which derives from colour’s way of being, skieron. A suffused light, withheld and restored. The shadow - or the colour - are like this, in Bruno’s poetics, what “withholds” and “renders visibile”, fundamental aspects of the same dialectics.
With Maurice Merleau-Ponty we can intend art as “the inarticulate cries ‘which sounded like the voice of light ”(9). This expression alludes to the idea of something that gives itself in an “inarticulate”, obscure way, similar to a “cry”, like a call for light. Because, poetically paraphrasing Plato, we can say that it is in the night when the stars shine.
S. SEVERI, “Pretesti luminosi” di Lorenzo Bruno, “Itinerario Lazio”, 12 dicembre 1991.
(2) B. STRAZZA, Note sulla maniera nera, testo riportato in questo volume alla p.
V. I. STOICHITA, Breve storia dell’ombra, trad. it. di Benedetta Sforza, il Saggiatore, Milano 2000, p. 9.
A. SCHOPENHAUER, La vista e i colori, cap. 2, § 13, 5, a cura di M. Montanari, Milano 1988, p. 89
Ivi, cap. 2, § 7, p. 55.
S. SEVERI, “Pretesti luminosi” di Lorenzo Bruno, in “Itinerario Lazio, del 12 dicembre 1991.
J. W. GOETHE, La teoria dei colori, sez. 2, XXVI, ed. ital. a cura di R. Troncon, Il Saggiatore, Milano 1993, p. 100.
(8) L. PIETRO VASTA, Una luce soffusa nelle opere di Bruno, “Il mercatino”, Catania, 21 ottobre 1994.
(9) M.MERLEAU-PONTY, L’occhio e lo spirito, trad. ital. a cura di Anna Sordini, SE, Milano 1989, p. 50.