Art: Humming Bird

Italian art these days is a three-ring circus. Painter Filippo de Pisis, 55, seems as out of place in it as a hummingbird in a cage of acrobatic bears. While his countrymen have been shooting off futuristic fireworks or ponderously balancing metaphysics and Marxism, he has darted and hovered, recording the surface of things, in glancing, wing-light strokes.

His fellow Italians like his delicacy and deftness. This week two exhibitions of De Pisis' graceful still lifes, on-the-wing landscapes and gentle portraits were showing simultaneously in Milan and his home town of Ferrara. On...

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