Lívio Abramo (1903 - 1992)

Untitled (from the series White Nights) (1955)

Wood engraving on translucent paper
height: 17cm
width: 11cm

Donated by Alex Gama 1995


In this, the first of a series of five woodcuts based on Dostoyevsky's short story White Nights, Abramo creates an atmosphere of expectancy. Like the lonely narrator of the story who rejoices in the glorious starry sky of the first night of his adventure, at the heart of the print is a single watchful eye surrounded by sparkling darkness. Abramo builds up atmosphere using cuts of different depths and density: horizontal lines of different thicknesses suggesting a shadowy calm, and a cluster of pecked white dots like snowflakes, both cut across by a series of fine white and broader black diagonals that add movement and depth to the composition. A shaft of light cutting through from the print's edge towards the eye at the centre suggests the sharp brilliance of the narrator's fantasies.

Valerie Fraser, 2009

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