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Mercurio che passa davanti al sole (Mercury Passing before the Sun)
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Mercurio che passa davanti al sole (Mercury Passing before the Sun)

Giacomo Balla, Italian, 1871 - 1958


Opaque watercolor over graphite on textured wove paper adhered to canvas

Sheet: 25 1/2 x 19 7/8 inches (64.8 x 50.5 cm)

© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome

Curatorial Department:
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Sylvia and Joseph Slifka, 2004

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This large Futurist drawing belongs to an important series of a dozen or more paintings and drawings made following Balla's observation, probably using a telescope with smoked lenses, of a partial eclipse of the sun by Mercury on 7 November 1914. Here the larger yellow mass of the sun is crossed by the smaller orb of Mercury, with slashing diagonal rays of white light, segments of bright blue sky, and the greens and blacks of unknown optical effects. The dominant peach tone, now faded, was once a stronger reddish purple color.