Greco, Emilio

Greco, Emilio
▪ 1996

      Italian sculptor (b. Oct. 11, 1913, Catania, Italy—d. April 5, 1995, Rome, Italy), created graceful bronze and marble figures and reliefs that reflected both the self-conscious elegance and the artificial, even distorted, poses common to 16th-century Italian Mannerism. Greco was born into a poor Sicilian family and was apprenticed to a funerary stonecutter. He studied at the Academy of Art in Palermo and began taking small commissions for extra money during his World War II military service. His first solo exhibition was held in Rome in 1946. Although Greco was best known for his sensuous female nudes, his major commissions include the semi-abstract monument to Pinocchio in Collodi, Italy (1953-56), a set of bronze doors for the cathedral at Orvieto (1961-64), and a monument to Pope John XXIII in Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome (1965-67). Greco's work was particularly popular in Japan, where a Greco Garden in Hakone was dedicated in 1974.

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▪ Italian sculptor
born Oct. 11, 1913, Catania, Italy
died April 5, 1995, Rome

      Italian sculptor of bronze and marble figurative works, primarily female nudes and portraits.

      At the age of 13, Greco was apprenticed to a stonemason, and he later studied at the Academy of Art in Palermo. Though he began exhibiting in Rome in 1943, he was not well-established until after World War II. His first solo exhibition was held in 1946, and in 1948 he became a teaching assistant at the Artistic Secondary School in Rome.

      His subject matter varied little throughout his career. In their refined, elongated forms and assertive balance, his sculpted figures reflect the Mannerist tradition in Italian art (e.g., “Bather No. 2,” 1956–57). The expressive, luminous surface treatment in some pieces, however, strikes a clear parallel with the work of Giacomo Manzù and Marino Marini. He designed one of the bronze doors of the Cathedral at Orvieto (1961–64) and the monument to Pope John XXIII in Saint Peter's (1965–67). In 1974 a Greco Garden, dedicated to his works, was opened at the Open Air Museum, Hakone, Japan. In 1991 a group of Greco's works, donated by the artist to the city of Orvieto, was placed on permanent exposition at the Palazzo Soliano.

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