Funeral Composition, 1958
Oil on canvas, 204 x 223 cm
Inspired by classical stelae, “Funeral Composition” is one of Moralis’ most imposing and monumental works. The frame is provided by pillars and our familiar half-open door, in front of which stands a nude female figure in a pose familiar from classical statuary, that is, with her legs crossed in contrapposto. The position of the arms is also well known from antiquity. Two other nude female figures are portrayed seated hand in hand. Moralis has moulded the strong nude bodies in the Byzantine manner, using a brown foundation layer, lighter spots and highlights. The colour scheme of the work also seems to be in accordance with the Byzantine palette, which the artist nevertheless called Polygnotian, that is, inspired by the 5th-century painter Polygnotus. The colour units have been arranged in geometric shapes forming a puzzle, reminiscent of Cubist* painting. The entire composition – full and empty areas alike – is calculated so that equally calculated geometric shapes are created. This magnificent work exudes a serene melancholy, a sober contemplation on the flourishing youth of these girls and death awaiting.