Emilio Greco: Sacred and Profane

Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art

25 September – 22 December 2013

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Organised in collaboration with the Archivi Emilio Greco and Il Cigno GG Edizioni of Rome to mark the centenary of the artist's birth.

Estorick claims this is a chance to shine the spotlight 'on an artist whose work is underappreciated in the United Kingdom'.

Drawing from its extraordinary archive, the gallery hosts its first exhibition focused on Greco's sculptural practice and includes the powerful portrait busts and sensual nudes for which he has become best known.

Born in Catania, Sicily, Greco was apprenticed to a stone mason and sculptor of funerary monuments at a young age.

From the 1950s he taught sculpture in Rome, Carrara and Naples, during which time he started gaining attention for his own work, which was often characterised by female figures with perfectly rounded heads.

Greco also received important religious commissions, such as a monument to John XXIII for St Peter's in Rome that depicted the Pope visiting the city's Regina Coeli prison.

Drawings from the Estorick Collection also feature, including one of the Crouching Nude that was later echoed in a sculpture Greco produced for Carlos Place in Westminster.

Don't miss

One of Greco's first major works, Monument to Pinocchio, which was based on the Collodi tale, was so well received it won a nationwide competition.

Capturing the moment when the fairy transforms Pinocchio from a puppet into a boy, it is unlike Greco's usual style, instead incorporating abstract elements such as a spiralling form base, which appears to signify a hollow tree trunk.

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