Born Dec. 24, 1908, in Bergamo, Lombardy. Italian sculptor.
Manzù, who was influenced by M. Rosso and Italian Renaissance sculpture, joined a group of antifascist artists in Milan in the 1930’s. He has taught at the Academy of Arts in Milan since 1941 and at the summer International Academy of Arts in Salzburg since 1955. Manzù achieves his artistic aims most fully in bronze, creating sculpture in the round and relievo schiacciato. His work is marked by a keen understanding of the human body and the physical bases of objects, delicate surface modeling with many nuances that reflect the sculptor’s lightest touch, and intimate imagery.
Manzù’s early cycle of reliefs Variations on the Theme, which was done during World War II (1939-45) and depicts scenes of the crucifixion and deposition from the cross, is an angry protest against fascist atrocities (Crucifixion With a General, 1942, property of the artist). In his group of plastically expressive statues The Cardinals, the artist sought to determine the place of the Catholic Church in the modern world (The Big Cardinal, 1955, International Gallery of Modern Art, Venice). The series Dance Step is devoted to the world of dance. In the 1950’s, Manzù did many portraits, creating a generalized image of feminine beauty (a number of portraits of his wife).
Many of Manzù’s major works were done in the late 1950’s and 1960’s. The bronze doors of the Salzburg Cathedral (1955-58), of the Church of Sankt Laurents in Rotterdam (1966-68), and of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome (1947-64; known as the Gates of Death) combine religious, historical, symbolic, and genre motifs. These works express Manzù’s guiding principles in life and art—the struggle against coercion and the struggle for man’s freedom. In 1969 and 1970 the artist sculptured a marble monument to V. I. Lenin on Capri.
Manzù is also a painter, illustrator, and theater artist. A recipient of the International Lenin Prize for Strengthening Peace Between Nations in 1966, he was made an honorary member of the Academy of Arts of the USSR in 1967.
REFERENCES[Libman, M.] Dzhakomo Manzù. [Moscow, 1966.]
Dzhakomo Manzu: Katalog vystavki proizvedenii. Moscow, 1970.
Ragghianti, C. Giacomo Manzù scultore, 2nd ed. Milan. 1957.
Rewald, J. G. Manzu. Salzburg, 1966.
M. IA. LIBMAN