art and culture

giacomo manzù exhibition – vercelli


10 march – 21 may

An exhibition dedicated to Giacomo Manzù in Vercelli

the exhibition

A major retrospective dedicated to Giacomo Manzù is open to the public in Vercelli from until May 21st. The exhibition, curated by Marta Concina, Daniele De Luca and Alberto Fiz and realised by the City of Vercelli, the Archdiocese of Vercelli, Studio Copernico in collaboration with the Manzù Foundation, will be hosted at Arca and at the former church of San Vittore.

The title chosen is “Giacomo Manzù. La scultura è un raggio di luna” (Giacomo Manzù. The sculpture is a moonbeam), which takes up a quotation by Cesare Brandi. Brandi, who better than anyone else was an interpreter of Manzù’s language, wrote in 1983 that “sculpture revolves with many autonomous points of view, all converging in a form that is open and closed, and in its statics is dynamic because of the way it flows within itself with a Heraclitean fluency in which one cannot bathe twice”. The reference is to the series of works dedicated to the young model Thebes, but it can be extended to Manzù’s entire body of work, which has been able to combine the classical dimension with the naturalistic and phenomenological, finding its own autonomous expressive force since the 1930s.

Detail of Busto di Inge – Giacomo Manzù (1979)

the works

The exhibition proposed in Vercelli brings together over thirty sculptures, some of them monumental, made available by the Manzù Foundation, the Copernico Studio and important private collectors.The itinerary ranges from the 1940s to 1990, a year before his death.

The exhibition, set up in the two venues of Arca and the former church of San Vittore, highlights the topicality of a great master of plastic art by following the different themes that characterise his poetics. Thus, the choice of works allows us to appreciate female portraits, still lifes (just think of Sedia con AragostaChair with Lobster– from 1966) as well as the famous Cardinals, his most famous series begun in the 1930s. “The first time I saw the Cardinals,” said Manzù, “was in St. Peter’s in 1934; they impressed me with their rigid yet vibrant masses of complex spirituality. I saw them as statues, a series of aligned cubes, and the impulse to create my own version of that ineffable reality in sculptures was irresistible’.

In the exhibition, alongside a number of historical bronze Cardinals from the 1940s, there is also Seated Cardinal, a monumental work over two metres high modelled in 1983, from which the hieratic component of the figure emerges within rigid and synthetic pyramid-like forms.

Cardinale seduto – Giacomo Manzù (1983)

His wife Inge, whom he met in 1954 when Manzù was teaching at the Salzburg Academy and who has been his muse ever since, is a constant in his portraiture, and on display in Vercelli is Busto di Inge (Bust of Inge), a rare work in marble created in 1979 from which emerges an extraordinary vitalism in a composition that takes on a circular form in which the arms are arranged around the woman’s face. Inge gave birth to their two children Giulia and Mileto, this became the occasion to create a series of sculptures on the theme of play: Giulia and Mileto in carrozza (Giulia and Mileto in a carriage) appears in the exhibition with the bronze sketch of 1967. These works are part of the Spielerei cycle where Manzù freely proposes a series of plastic inventions that in this case give him the opportunity to create an archaic carriage dominated by a large wheel.

The experimentation also passes through Donna che guarda (Woman looking), another monumental work dated 1983, 252 centimetres high, sculpted in ebony, a material that, as Manzù says, “is beautiful, very hard, it has like blood in its veins, it can be worked like ice but it is eternal”, a work that was already present in ARCA when the exhibition was presented.

In such a multifaceted journey, mention should also be made of Fauno modellato (Faun modelled) in 1968 where the attitude of the man with folded limbs expresses the power and energy of the body, as well as Il Miracolo di San Biagio (The Miracle of Saint Blaise), a strongly intimist work in which a compassionate Cardinal makes an appearance. “From the Vercelli exhibition therefore emerge,” comments Alberto Fiz, “the different souls of a sculptor who, without rhetoric, became an interpreter of humanity, knowing how to grasp the profound sacredness even in the everyday: ‘Manzù’, writes Brandi, ‘is in his time, outside his time, firmly anchored to those eternal values that he has never forgotten'”.

Donna che guarda – Giacomo Manzù (1976)

info e tickets

The exhibition is open to the public from Thursday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. from 10 March to 21 May 2023. Further information about the exhibition and the purchase of tickets is available at

GUIDED TOURS (Italian only)
Every Sunday from 26 March until the end of the exhibition it is possible to discover the exhibition and the city of Vercelli by taking part in a guided tour. Guided tours must be booked with ATL – Terre dell’Alto Piemonte at the following contacts: 335.7096337 or

Meeting at 2 p.m. at ARCA and scheduled departure at 2.15 p.m. The guided tour will last approximately 45 minutes at a cost of €5, plus the “reduced” exhibition fee of €5, to be paid directly at the ARCA ticket office. Total price 10€.

meeting at 3 p.m. at ARCA and scheduled departure at 3.15 p.m. The guided tour will last approximately 2h15′ at a cost of €10, to which must be added the “reduced” cost of the exhibition of €5, to be paid directly at the ARCA ticket office. Total price 15€.

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