Giacomo Manzù - The Great Wonderful: 100 Years of Italian Art New York Wednesday, May 13, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection, Austria

  • Catalogue Essay

    Giacomo Manzù has been able to transform an ancient figure like that of a cardinal of the Catholic Church residing in the Vatican, behind the secret walls of Saint Peter’s Basilica, into a enigmatically contemporary, abstracted figure. Cardinals and popes have always been the portrait subjects of the most famous artists from the Renaissance and Baroque periods and beyond, but Manzù looks at these figures, these characters, from a futuristic point of view, aliens residing among the mortal human realm. The impressive height of this unique Cardinale in piedi, 1958-60, gives the subject the same presence as the black Monolith in Stanley Kubrick’s groundbreaking film 2001: A Space Odyssey, from 1968. The cinematic aspect of this work also inspired film director Federico Fellini for his grotesque representation of nuns and cardinals in one of the most famous scenes from his 1972 movie Roma, in which models dressed as cardinals with their mitres (the familiar pointed hat of their position) walk the red carpet in a lookalike fashion show for religious garments. Manzù combines spirituality and caricature in a magical fashion, keeping distance from the banality of provocation and also from the risk of blind worship. The figure maintains his intimidating dimension while never becoming a dead monument or overwhelming monstrosity. Cardinale in piedi appears to us as a form of human architecture, a giant and a pillar at the same time.


Cardinale in piedi

131 7/8 x 47 1/4 x 31 1/2 in. (335 x 120 x 80 cm)
Stamped with the artist's signature and foundry mark. This work is unique and is registered with the Giacomo Manzù Foundation under number 15/2007. This work will be published in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné.

$400,000 - 600,000 

Sold for $389,000

Contact Specialist
Brittany Lopez Slater
Head of International Exhibitions
New York
+1 212 940 1299

Carolina Lanfranchi
+39 338 924 1720

The Great Wonderful: 100 Years of Italian Art

New York 13 May 2015 4pm