Whenever I'm in the D.C. metro area, I make it a point to visit the National Gallery of Art. The East Building modern collection is a beloved old haunt of mine; the permanent collection there is home to many of my personal favorites. The collection is so large though, that each visit I always end up discovering something new! During my most recent visit, I was struck by the wintry white color and three-dimensional textures of La Liberazione (1959) by Gastone Novelli. Novelli (1925-1968) was born in Vienna and classically trained in Rome. In 1943 at the age of 18, he joined the Resistenza Italiana, and was arrested and tortured by the Nazi regime. He was released upon the Allied liberation of Italy in 1944, but was deeply affected by the experience. After completing a degree in political science, he fled to Brazil, where he began to paint. His abstract, almost graffiti-like works were ahead of his time, yet they bore the marks of his haunting past. For today's Inspired by Art post, I've constructed a cosmetic color palette and look based on Novelli's La Liberazione.
A simple graphite line would be the perfect way to channel the words and scribbles found in Novelli's work. A few of my grey eyeliners include MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Shadow in 4E (reviewed here), NARS Larger Than Life Eyeliner in Madison Ave. (reviewed here), and Laura Mercier Tightline Cake Eyeliner in Charcoal Grey. Small silver or yellow accents can add dimension while maintaining an abstract feel to the look. Smashbox Limitless 15 Hour Wear Cream Shadow in Sterling and MAKE UP FOR EVER Blush Powder in #71 are my picks.
A yellow concentration of color and texture is a highlight of the painting. Here, you can see a bright primary yellow covered by washes of white, drizzles of pastel yellow, and etches of graphite.
A striking nail color is a great way to add detail to this Novelli-inspired look. A sunny yellow would be beautiful and unexpected, like the detailing on La Liberazione. China Glaze Happy Go Lucky is a primary yellow and Sephora by OPI IM Beauty is a pale pastel yellow. White and graphite grey are hues from La Liberazione that would make bold alternatives to a yellow nail. Revlon White on White is a pure white. NARS Storm Bird (reviewed here) is a steel colored creme nail polish; Revlon Steel-her Heart is a metallic graphite.
In Gastone Novelli's La Liberazione, a wintry white blankets the painting, with graphite and taupe details that hint at what lies beneath. The effect is much like a ground covered by patchwork snow in the depth of winter. Novelli doesn't leave us out in the cold, however; the striking yellow accent gives us hints of sunshine and light in the days ahead. It's a hopeful color palette that I find particularly suitable for this time in January! I can't help but wonder if this was the sentiment behind the piece, after all, La Liberazione translates to 'The Liberation', a possible reference to Novelli's own experience in the twilight hours of World War II. Overall, La Liberazione is a beautiful painting with a striking color palette; I'm glad I chanced upon it during my last visit to the National Gallery of Art. Thanks for reading! What do you think of this painting? Do you ever mix yellow into your makeup routine? What colors are you wearing this January?