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Mario Donizetti
"Sloth"

Se lento amore in lui veder vi tira,
o a lui acquistar, questa cornice,
dopo giusto penter, ve ne martira.
(Purg. XVII, 130-132)

E io ch'avea d'error la testa cinta,
dissi: "Maestro, che è quel ch'i' odo?
e che gent'è che par nel duol sì vinta?".
Ed elli a me: "Questo misero modo
tengon l'anime triste di coloro
che visser sanza infamia e sanza lodo".
(Inf. III, 31-36)

"non ragioniam di lor, ma guarda e passa".
(Inf. III, 51)

Questi sciagurati, che mai non fur vivi,
(Inf. III, 64)

Fitti nel limo, dicon: "Tristi fummo
nell'aere dolce che dal sol s'allegra,
portando dentro accidïoso fummo:
or ci attristiam nella belletta negra".
(Inf. VII, 121-124)

Tosto fur sovra noi, perché correndo
si movea tutta quella turba magna;
e due dinanzi gridavan piangendo:
"Maria corse con fretta alla montagna...
(Purg. XVIII, 97-100)

"Ratto, ratto che 'l tempo non si perda
per poco amor" gridavan li altri appresso;
"ché studio di ben far grazia rinverda".
"O gente in cui fervore agusto adesso
ricompie forse negligenza e indugio
da voi per tiepidezza in ben far messo,
(Purg. XVIII, 103-108)

Noi siam di voglia a muoverci sì pieni,
che restar non potem, però perdona,
(Purg. XVIII, 115-116)

work

The true drama of our time is indifference, tedium, sullen apathy, the Sloth of those who live without disgrace but without praise, or rather who are either never alive or become sterile like the tree painted by Donizetti in the background of the painting. It produces neither shoots, nor leaves nor fruit. It is an unproductive spurious shoot. It does not reach high into the sky, but uprooted is silhouetted against grey surroundings. In the foreground there are two women. One, seated and with her back to us, could bring to mind the splendid Bagneuse by Ingres were she not so resignedly listless, with her head bowed, almost forced to look downwards from under the heavy head of hair which from the parting falls onto her chest in two thick dark locks.

The other woman is lying down but is so wearied by laziness that she could be the same person drawn in another pose. The smooth splendour of her body, the beauty of her face, the soft shine of her thick long hair, make her even more guilty. She is cowardly and yielding. She believes in nothing, she desires nothing, she wants to do nothing, be it either good or evil, thereby bringing on herself the worst Evil, that of our "frigid society", colourless, tasteless and indifferent.

In its pictorial beauty, the picture manages to transmit a sense of desolation where everything is mournful inertia and nothing appears desirable.

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