La Pisana is one of the works of Arturo Martini that comes closest to the atmosphere of Magic Realism. Widely admired by critics, the work’s validity was further confirmed by the number of multiples made in stone, terracotta, and bronze over the years. A rendering of the character of Ippolito Nievo’s novel Le confessioni di un italiano, La Pisana was modelled in plaster by Martini in Rome at the end of 1928.
Martini’s friends from Treviso Comisso, Mazzolà, and Scarpa came to Rome to plan activities for a re-assessment of Ippolito Nievo. Taking the model sculpted in Vicenza stone as reference, the plaster was purchased in June, 1930, by Arturo Ottolenghi of Acqui Terme. The same year, it was transferred to the studio at Villa Reale in Monza while Martini was teaching at ISIA, and a few modifications were made in the rendering of the hairstyle and the position of the left hand.
The work was coherent with the stylistic-compositional framework of Il bevitore (1928), of which it may be considered a complementary figure. The two sculptures are the result of exercises in the styling of male and female nudes interpreted in horizontal and vertical position and in various fullness/emptiness relationships regarding the space occupied by the bodies. The bronze example in the Carraro Collection is one of the six castings made in 1989 from the second version of the original plaster mould by Galleria Daverio in Milan.
Gianni Vianello, Nico Stringa, Claudia Gian Ferrari, Arturo Martini. Explanatory catalogue of the sculpture, Neri Pozza, Vicenza 1998, pages. 154-155 (with previous references). Nico Stringa (editor), Arturo Martini. Creature. Il sogno della terracotta, Bononia University Press, Bologna 2013, exhibition catalogue (Bologna, Palazzo Fava, September 22, 2013 – January 12, 2014), pages 17, 19-22.