Sculptor Emilio Greco: Searching for the
On 21 February 2006 the exhibition entitled Sculptor Emilio Greco: Searching for the Ideal opened in the State Hermitage. The show familiarizes visitors with the oeuvre of one of the most outstanding sculptors of the 20th century, Emilio Greco (1913-1995). Born in Catania, Sicily, he worked all his life in Rome, where he produced his best pieces that won him worldwide fame.
The exhibition was organized in cooperation with the publishing house Il Cigno Galileo Galilei and with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Italian Republic, the General Consulate of the Italian Republic in St Petersburg, and the Province of Palermo.
The exhibition displays more than 30 sculptures from Italian collections as well as from the State Hermitage, plus around 40 works of graphic art. Alongside female figures, for which the master is celebrated, there are numerous sculptural portraits and compositions on religious themes, including sketches for the doors of the cathedral at Orvieto.
Greco's main theme is female nudes. He has developed his own individual style in which the sensual beauty of the female body is insolubly bound with the idea of moral perfection and every pose and gesture is inspired and meaningful. He elongates the curving lines of the body and enlarges and schematizes the forms to fix the posture of his model and make the composition more expressive. Nevertheless his female figures do not look stiff; they are full of inner dynamism. Greco often employs the same motif, but every new version of the sculpture is unique (Bather series and squatting figures of women).
Another theme of Greco's oeuvre is portrait busts and heads. His conception does not imply detailed representations of his personages. He strives to convey the main traits of the person's character, to see deep into his or her heart. He has created somewhat generalized portraits of the tender and contemplative Betta (Portrait of Betta, 1958), a bit severe Maria Baldassare (1967) and Eiko (1968), immersed in her thoughts.
On display are also models for his monumental works - Pinocchio's statue at Collodi (1953), doors of the cathedral at Orvieto (1962) and a monument to Pope Jon XXIII (1967). Noteworthy in this group is The Dormition of the Virgin (1983), which demonstrates the influence of the Renaissance reliefs, yet is astonishingly modern and has a fresh spiritual appeal.
Greco's drawings and engravings also attract great interest. They reveal his impeccable sense of form and volume. Some of them are sketches for his sculptures but many are independent compositions.Emilio Greco's previous exhibition was held in the State Hermitage in 1979, when the master presented to the museum eleven of his sculptures and some graphic works. Today his statues, busts and reliefs from the Hermitage collection complement the show of his works loaned by Italy.
The exhibition's curator is Dr. Sergey Androsov, director of the Department of Western European Art, The State Hermitage