Francesca Andreozzi




Catania, Italy



The artist who painted Study on Grief (original italian title Studio sul Dolore) is Giuseppe Fava (1925-1984), one of the greatest intellectuals of southern Italy in the last century, whose figure should be rediscovered and widely spread. Journalist, writer, playwright and also painter. In his daily journalistic activity, he has always researched and denounced the causes of the degradation of society, violence, corruption, drug trafficking, leaning against the ignorance of the powerful and denouncing the connivance between politics, entrepreneurs and mafia, all responsible for this degradation. In addition to the columns of the newspapers, aware that a literary work manages to give a wide look that no article, even if burning, can have, Fava continues his denunciation in his four novels and in most of his theatrical dramas (see curriculum vitae). A month after the performance of his latest drama, he was assassinated by the mafia on January 5, 1984. On his tombstone a phrase taken from the drama The Violence “What is the use of being alive if you don’t have the courage to fight?”

For Giuseppe Fava painting was a means of communication, an effective way to describe Sicily, its inhabitants and its deep wounds. Intense colors, large figures in the foreground of the canvases, and penetrating looks to tell the spirits. Poor houses huddled together, and majestic baroque churches to remember the contrasts of this fascinating and complicated land.

Fava observed everything carefully and then told without fear, and of his island he was able to grasp that hidden beauty, sometimes hidden behind appearances.

The expressive power of his pictorial work, distributed for a period between the late 1950s and early 1980s, is combined with that of literary production and the artist presents us with an original gallery of characters. Melancholy, suffering, aggressive, bizarre or surreal figures go from novels to painting, from surveys to engravings, from stories to drawings and each of them tells us something. We have to look at them and listen to them.

Giuseppe Fava was born in Palazzolo Acreide, a small town near Syracuse, on Sept. 15th, 1925. The son of two elementary school teacher, he moved to Catania to study law – but after graduating he chose to be a journalist rather than a lawyer. He worked for several local papers and became an editorialist for national papers as well. An All-round intellectual, he has been an appreciated writer, playwright, screenwriter and painter. 


SUBMISSION: Study on Grief

When taking into consideration the MOON GALLERY mission, as well as the values and ideals the new space colonization should be founded upon, the Fava Foundation proposes to include in the gallery on the most important paintings painted by Giuseppe Fava, Study on Grief, a 1965 oil painting.

Giuseppe Fava was a journalist, writer, playwright and painter. From his early paintings (early 1950s) he translated into images the same Sicilian beauty and ancient suffering expressed in his writings. 

In the late 60s, Fava’s work becomes an effective means for social exposé. His painting contains references to poverty, abuses, Government’s absence and mafia’s influence. It is powerful storytelling, where nothing is toned down, least of all truth.  

The three subjects of Study on Grief are canvassed in compressed space and evoke the pathos of a modern Crucifixion: the iconography is essential yet just as dramatic in rendering grief. The clasped hand of the female figure in the blue veil resonates with Mary’s desperation in ancient crucifixions, the tormented face on the man in red -almost a modern St. John- and the glassy gaze on the one in the lower part seems to scream the death of a man of our time who dies without saving anyone. It is modern torture without setting: there are no memories of specific circumstances, only the pain of those left behind.

By including this painting in the moon gallery, the Fava Foundation hopes to spread Giuseppe Fava’s investigations on violence and corruption, both as a message of hope and a warning to build a better human society without injustice. 

An image of the painting will be miniaturized and incorporated into a transparent glass cube; 1 cm high.

The intense technological progress of the last 100 years of humankind could have really better quality of life for every one of Earth. Unfortunately, this hasn’t happened because of a development model that favored profit for the few rather than wellbeing for all. The message the Fava foundation wants to convey by including the Study on Grief painting is to create a new and really sustainable development model, ridding society of corruption and violence.

An image of social denunciation to create a better society. Less profit, more well-being for everyone.