Mario Mafai

Mario Mafai was a major figure of 20th-century Italian art.


Mario Mafai artwork
Painting by Mario Mafai

Mario Mafai (Rome 1902-1965) started the Via Cavour School, as Roberto Longhi termed it, in Rome with his wife Antonietta Raphael and Scipione (Gino Bonichi).

During the period of anti-Semitic persecution from 1939 to 1943, Mafai and his family were guests in the villa of engineer, collector, and patron Alberto della Ragione in Genoa’s Quarto de Mille neighborhood.

The model by mario Mafai
The model

In this period, their friendship grew stronger.

Antonietta Raphael made a sculpture of Della Ragione’s mother.

Mafai created landscapes almost exclusively of Rome, more based on his inner vision than on reality.

His views at dusk are marked by a deeply personal, very bright approach to color.

His main themes included desiccated flowers that he dried himself, which was how he got the nickname Mario of the Flowers.

Rome landscape by Mario Mafai
Rome landscape 1947

Another common theme was demolition, subtly lyrical images of disintegration and decay to counter the optimism of the Fascist regime.

Mario Mafai wrote about the demolitions being carried out by the government in Rome then.

We are watching the constant demolition of everything that belonged to the 19th century and I witnessed it when I saw my old house fall, the walls collapsing one by one; Rooms that open momentarily to the light before becoming rubble and dust.” Mario Mafai

The country on the threshold of war, deep anxieties took pictorial form in his Fantasy series.

In the last decade of his life, Mafai’s style shifted to abstractionism.


You have a work by Mario Mafai and you want to sell it?
Call us at +39 3356585431 or send us a message on WhatsApp at +39 3356585431
The highest estimates, expertise, and reliability