Constanta Art Museum

Nicolae Grigorescu, Flori de nalbă, ulei pe carton, 300 x 170

„Chess Players”

Alexandru CIUCURENCU (1903–1977)

The painting depicts a scene of a couple, probably a family, made up of two human characters, a man and a woman, sitting in front of a chessboard. The two human characters are focused on the game or are each lost in their own thoughts, completely ignoring the presence of the viewer. The scene is placed in the foreground of the painting. The male character is seen from the front, while the female is turned away from the viewer. The two figures are strongly cut on the background of the painting, but are treated simplified, almost caricatured, without claiming to identify the model, the composition confirming the artist’s interest, first of all for the chromatic experience he proposes. The painting belongs to the category of those with an exultant, rich color, highlighting Ciucurencu’s abilities to use chromatic contrasts. The man is wearing a white suit, a blue vest and trousers, and the woman is wearing a green dress and black high-heeled shoes. The chessboard, rendered in shades of red and yellow, contrasts with the silhouettes of the two human characters, and the background of the painting borrows shades of contrasting colors. The artist’s temperament is found in the intense colors and the contrast of the tint: warm tone next to cold tone. The harmonies of colors are associated with the emotional nuance that the artist wants to give to the subject, because through color he expresses his ideas and feelings in front of what he paints. The scene can be understood as a moment cut from everyday life or, moreover, an allegory of the couple’s harmony, but also of the silent but firm confrontation, as in a game of chess, between a woman and a man.

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