Giacomo Manzù (1908-1991)


Giacomo Manzù (Giacomo Manzoni) was born in Bergamo on December 22 1908 and is known as an important twentieth-century sculptor of religious statuary.

Manzù traveled to Paris in 1929, before moving to Milan in 1930. There he met Carlo Carrà (1881-1966) during his first group exhibitions in the following years. Manzù received his first commissions for religious art in these years, including statuary for the Catholic University chapel in Milan.

He visited Rome in 1934 to see St. Peter's, which influenced his infamous series of bronzes depicting cardinals (one of the first of which was produced in 1938). His work was shown in the Galleria della Cometa in Rome in 1937 and he was assigned his own section of the Venice Biennale of the following year.

Manzù taught at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan between 1941 and 1954, where his first retrospective show was held in the Palazzo Reale in 1947. The same year, he entered a competition for the design of a door for St. Peter's in Rome, and was awarded the official commission in 1952, although the door was never executed.

He taught sculpture at the International Summer Academy in Salzburg from 1954 to 1966 and was commissioned to design the main portal of the Salzburg Cathedral in 1955 as well as being asked by Pope John 23rd to create the "Portal of Death" for St. Peter's cathedral. Manzù showed his work at the Kassel "documenta" exhibitions 2 and 6 in 1959 and 1977, and The Manzù Museum was founded in 1969 in Ardea, near Rome.

Giacomo Manzù died on January 17, 1991.