Work: The source

Original sculpture

The source


Vittorio Morelli
no date
20th Century
36 cm high, 36 cm wide, 3 cm deep
pink marble
Si apre in una nuova finestra

Photo: Maurizio Bolognini. Museo Tattile Statale Omero Archive.


“A life lived for Country, Family, Art, and Others”. In these words, the sculptor Vittorio Morelli from Ancona described himself his autobiography.

“La sorgente” (The source) is a low-relief square (36x36x3cm) artwork of pink marble created in the 1930s. Inscribed in the square is a circle where the scene unfolds: the bust of a naked woman occupies the central area of the round space; she is depicted frontally and is holding her breasts with her hands. Above her shoulders, the faces and hands of two children are visible. Long hair surrounds her face, creating a kind of frame that divides up the space. The children’s heads are tilted and both have serene smiling faces.

The title “The source” is eloquent: the sculpture could represent a mother with her two children; in this interpretation, the woman would symbolize the source of life, the fountainhead, without which there would be no more humanity.
The style of the work shows formal characteristics typical of the 1930s in its naturalism and the Stile Floreale (Art Nouveau) that can be seen in the expression of the faces, the hair, the children’s smiles, but also in the central, symmetrical posture of the woman.

With a few chisel strokes, Morelli created figures in a very low relief that produces almost pictorial effects on the surfaces. The marble has been skilfully polished, e.g. in the woman’s soft flesh, while the hair has been left slightly rough. The shallowness of the relief makes for a unique and quite challenging tactile experience.