Courageous Boys at Work
© Sandro Chia/VAGA, New York/DACS, London 2004

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Courageous Boys at Work 1981
The figures in this painting are typical of the large muscular young men portrayed by Chia. The subject of this painting is effectively autobiographical, as the figures are painters. Commenting on the work, Chia wrote (with tongue in cheek): 'I would like to say that those two courageous boys are painters at work because courageous boys are either firemen or painters'. Chia was part of the 'transavanguardia' movement. He painted large, heroic figures, influenced by the masters of the Italian Renaissance, who seem to belong to some new, twentieth-century mythology.

Glossary Open


A period in European culture from the 14th to the 16th centuries in which the visual arts flourished with advances in the treatment of anatomy and the use of perspective. It is particularly associated with Italy, where it began, though the term applies elsewhere. It is noted for a revival of interest in the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome.


The term roughly translates as 'beyond the avant garde' but specifically refers to an Italian movement of figurative painting of the late 1970s and 1980s. It was part of the international Neo-Expressionist movement. Artists included Francesco Clemente, Sandro Chia and Mimmo Paladino.

Renaissance, Transavanguardia


  • Acc. No. GMA 2503
  • Medium Oil and oil pastel on canvas
  • Size 168.20 x 158.00 cm
  • Credit Purchased 1982