oil on canvas, 72×60 cm

Signed and dated upper left P. Conti 1919

It is Filippo De Pisis, with whom Conti developed an intense correspondence in this period, who gives us one of the best descriptions of this work: “It makes me think of it as an old engraving of opium smokers, copied by a Verlaine, for the miracle of one of his opiate-deserted nights, who became a painter.”

And, again, Conti’s extraordinary combinatorial skills give the painting its extravagant charm. The idea of the metaphysical mannequin is here, in fact, only a flicker, dreamed up in the peace of quiet Tuscan taverns, that resizes shapes and volumes. If anything, the transcending of the contours in a sudden lyrical ignition is reminiscent of a purer avant-garde, in the abstract line from Malevich to Delaimay, which grafts itself onto the starting motif by totally reinventing it. These radiant exercises of color, de Chirico would attempt in the late 1920s, precisely by rethinking similar cues from the avant-garde.