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 Giacomo Manzu  (1908 - 1991)

/ man-TZOO/
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Lived/Active: Unknown Country/Italy      Known for: public sculpture and painting-bas reliefs, teaching

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Ad Code: 2
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

A student at the Accademia Cicognini in Verona, Giacomo Manzu was a sculptor and painter.  Major sculpture installations are The Door of Death at the Basilica di San Pietro in the Vatican; The Door of Love in Salzburg, Austria; The Door of War and Peace in Rotterdam, Netherlands; The Door of Death at the Hakone Open Air Museum in Japan; and bas reliefs, Italia and The Immigrant at 626 Fifth Avenue, Rockefeller Center in New York City.

Christine Roussel, The Guide to the Art of Rockefeller Center

Biography from Borghi Fine Art:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Devoted to representing the human figure, Giacomo Manzu did sculpture with emphasis on design and simplified form, which sets his work apart from his more traditional contemporaries.  He sought to create sculptures that were not simply representational, but also acted as symbols of universal meaning for all viewers.

Manzù was the son of a shoemaker and at age thirteen, apprenticed as a craftsman.  He learned to carve and worked with wood, stone, and plaster.  Unexposed to contemporary art, Manzù was captivated by classical sculpture, the work of Michelangelo, and also Aristide Maillol's figures, which he discovered in books.  After a short trip to Paris in 1929, Manzù moved to Milan and began creating his first sculptures--many of which he would ultimately destroy.

In the 1930s, Manzù explored various materials from painted terra cotta and stucco to marble and bronze.  He created three-dimensional figures as well as reliefs, focusing on genre scenes and figures from the Bible.  By the end of the decade, Manzù had established several subjects to which he returned for many years.  These included life-size nudes, scenes of the Crucifixion and Deposition, the Catholic cardinal, and the painter with his model.  Manzù favored bronze, but he also made marble versions of some of his forms works.  He gradually achieved recognition for his sculpture and accepted several teaching positions.

During World War II, Manzù made a series of eight reliefs entitled Christ Of Our Humanity, expressing his opposition to Fascism.  He created a number of commissions for bronze doors including the monumental Door of Death for St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. In the 1950s, he explored a range of new subjects including ballerinas and skaters, mothers and children, and lovers.

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