The so-called Polittico Garagnani owes its name to the enormous garage in Rome where Severini painted a monumental decorative panel over smooth plaster surface. He painted some parts in fresco style, others only when dry, and then touched up with tempera.
Before the garage was torn down, the mural was stripped from the wall and purchased by the Carraro Collection. From that day on, the polyptych has been kept in a storeroom and never seen but for the black and white photography published in the catalogues of the artist’s works.
The painting was detached from the wall in five panels that were mounted on honeycomb aluminium frames with tongue and groove joining. Recent restoration has not revealed any preparatory underlying sketches, only the gestural irregularity of the lines Severini drew freehand without the use of T-squares or rulers.
For this order, Severini imagined a long landscape composed of a group of houses and a structure in classical architecture in a state of ruin encircled by trees that resembled the wings of a stage. Combining lively chromatics and stylized motifs developed during the 50s with deconstructed forms and the linear simplification typical of Cubist inspiration, the artist recovered themes, techniques, and languages already consolidated in the past. Severini brought greater maturity and clarity to nuances derived from post-Impressionist, Fauve, Cubist, and Futurist painting that suited them with newer needs of expression.
Daniela Fonti (editor), Gino Severini. Explanatory catalogue, Edizioni Philippe Daverio, Mondadori, Milan,1988, page 563, cat. 966.