Coming of age in prewar Milan and living through the horrors of the Second World War, Melotti metabolised wartime devastation in his work by returning to Renaissance principles of harmony, order, geometry, and musical structure, which he integrated into a highly personal yet universally accessible artistic language that expresses the full range of emotional experiences in modern human existence.
Throughout the 1940s and 50s, Melotti worked almost exclusively in ceramics and terracotta, and continued to participate in exhibitions at the new post-war Milan Triennale. Melotti’s ceramics respond to the pain, trauma, and despair that crowded his thoughts in the aftermath of the Second World War. Aerial bombings destroyed the artist’s studio in Milan and profoundly altered his artistic vision, precipitating a literal and symbolic rupture in his idealised pursuit of abstraction. His attention shifted to the craft and production of ceramics and terracotta. Rendered in polychromatic glazes, the enigmatic figures in these works illustrate the artist’s urgent and necessary return to figuration.