Al seguito di d’Annunzio
Astolfo de Maria «soldataccio pittore»
During the First World War, painter Astolfo de Maria is attached to the staff of the Terza Armata and assigned to the service of d’Annunzio as motorcyclist and draftsman. In those war years, the artist writes a diary and does drawings of military subject; thirteen of these are kept at the Vittoriale, while the others, nearly all of which formerly belonging to the archive or to the collection of Adele Macchi de Maria, are now partly at the Venice Foundation, partly in private collections, not always easy to identify. In these drawings, de Maria oscillates between a realism deriving from the direct observation of his subjects – war scenes or persons, the latter being sometimes clearly outlined, sometimes, on the contrary, quickly sketched – and an indulgence to the stylization typical of the Secession. Two works of great importance in de Maria’s artistic career also date back to the war years: Erotic Allegory and Dogaressa (i.e. Doge’s Wife), both adorning the walls of the so-called «Leda’s room» at the Vittoriale. Later on – probably between 1921 and 1922 – Astolfo de Maria would paint a realistic portrait of his commander (tempera grassa on canvas, now at the Venice Foundation), availing himself of photos of the poet taken by his father, Mario de Maria.
Keywords: Astolfo de Maria