The Fourth Estate (painting)

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The Fourth Estate
Italian: Il quarto stato, Spanish: El Cuarto Estado
Quarto Stato.jpg
Artist Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo
Year c. 1901
Type Oil on poplar
Dimensions 293 cm × 545 cm (115 in × 215 in)
Location Museo del Novecento, Milan

The Fourth Estate is a famous picture painted by Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo in 1901, originally entitled The Path of Workers.


The painting is an icon of the twentieth century, showing striking workers (members of the fourth estate), and is in the "chromoluminarist" or divisionist style. Not only does it depict a scene of social life – a strike – it is a symbol. The people, with equal space being given to a woman with a baby in her arms, are moving towards the light. The painting represents the full development of this theme, which the artist already dealt with in paintings such as Ambassadors of hunger, Stream of people and a preparatory sketch of 1898, The path of workers. The composition of the painting is balanced in its shapes and vibrant in its light, giving the perfect idea of a mass movement.


It can be viewed at the Museo del Novecento in the Arengario palace near Duomo square in the centre of Milan. An earlier version, however, was held in the Pinacoteca di Brera, also in Milan. Museo del Novecento considers it as one of its most valuable masterpieces. It is advised to spend at least 10 minutes scrutinizing every inch of the painting.

In film[edit]

The initial credits of Bernardo Bertolucci's 1900 are displayed over a zoom out of this picture.