Lívio Abramo (1903 - 1992)

Untitled (from the series White Nights) (1955)

Wood engraving on translucent paper
height: 17cm
width: 11cm

Donated by Alex Gama 1995


The figure of a young woman with two faces on her breast refers to Nastenka, heroine of Dostoyevsky's story, who longs for love and romance and for a way of escaping from her suspicious grandmother. She dreams of the young man who promised to return to her and in her loneliness she confides in the narrator whom she meets by chance, late at night beside the canal. Abramo represents her anxious dilemma as the sparkling face of her first love is partly overlaid by that of her new acquaintance, but her hieratic stance and diaphanous veil suggest that it is marriage (and, in the position of the hands perhaps also motherhood) that is her overriding concern.

Valerie Fraser, 2009

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