Exhibition of 130 sculptures, from Auguste Rodin (Le Bourgeois pleurant) to Igor Mitoraj (The Kiss of the Angel). Some well-known, such as Alma del Quijote (Salvador Dalì),  Prière de toucher (Marcel Duchamp), Visage aux deux mains (Fernand Lèger). Or by leading artists such as Helping Hand (Pablo Picasso), Two Figures (Henry Moore), Il Pensieroso / The Toughtful (Ernesto Bazzaro), Il ratto della Sabina (Luciano Minguzzi). Many originals, such as Knotted Hand (Soler Etrog) and Riflessi / Reflections (Novello Finotti), or representative of the themes treated: Il risveglio di Adamo / The avakening of Adam (Francesco Messina), Tantalo (Jorge Borras Llop), Disperazione / Despair (Toni Boni). Finally, sculptures well-known to the History of Art, but hardly usable by the visitor: Figliol Prodigo (Arturo Martini) and Abisso / Abyss (Pietro Canonica). In addition, artworks of some German expressionists will not fail to surprise: Der Abschied / Leave (Käthe Kollwitz), Der Schreitende / Avanzare (Ernst Oldenburg), Gedankenkopf / Head filled with thougths (Rainer Kriester) and Verwüstung / Desolation (Hans Kastler).


Lorado TAFT

Towards the Unknown, 1910c

For the American Taft, “The thought is the eternally present fact that however closely we may be thrown together by circumstances . . . we are unknown to each other.” Even in this sculpture the three figures look like they have a life of its own and they each assume a different attitude towards the future: the unknown to be faced with insight (hand that lifts the chin), or with doubt (reflective hand) or with reluctance (hand that pushes the head backwards). In its whole, the circular movement of the heads in the higher part balances the linear dash of the work.


Figliol Prodigo / Prodigal Son, 1927

The artist recovers the memory of his father’s death and conveys the emotion of a tormented return and of the relived physical contact after the painful distance due to the artist’s nomadic existence divided between too many places and nostalgic for an perhaps impossible return. The strong hold between the arms of the two figures of equal size and monumentality, the hand of the father who rests on the shoulder of the son, the intersection of looks, plastically represent an encounter that goes beyond any common feeling.


Abisso / Abyss, 1907

The immortal embrace of two lovers, so close to each other as almost becoming one, with her hair that envelop his shoulder as if this union can become even more flowing. Maybe recalling the Dante’s tradition of Paolo and Francesca, the artist represents this intense and desperate feeling with a kneeling posture, where the stillness of the embrace stops every movement and blocks this pose. The image of the vortex is suggested by the circularity that repeats between the positions of the arms and the clothing, which builds a sort of circular cage around which the composition takes place, something that holds and crystalizes the scene even if the characters are trusted forward, as of they were leaning onto an imaginary abyss.


Il Bacio dell’Angelo / Angel’s Kiss, 2000c

Two mutilated figures get close to each other in a melancholic and silent embrace. The male figure, semi-winged, seems to offer the woman a kiss to console her and to hold her close to him in a protective gesture. Her wing seems to recall allegorically a now distant world, which is still capable of instilling meaning and feeling in the fragile human existence, depicted here in the bodies which are reduced to mere fragments.


Centauri / Centaurs, 2010

The emotional strength in meeting and embracing that characterizes this sculpture is enhanced by the mythological reference to “centaurs”, metaphoric figures that recall the continuous movement of horses, now spurred and now restrained, the muscles always tensed below the vein network that seems to give them blood and, with it, fire.

Alfredo SASSO

Man and Mirror, 1980c

Beyond the many symbolic aspects, it would seem that in this work of Sasso there is not a man in the mirror but the sculpture of a man. The sculpture in the mirror and the sculpture of the sculpture reveal the critical conscience of making sculptures. Both figures, locked in a tension between them, seem to ask themselves what is the meaning of making sculptures, of looking for likeness to life, of how to survive in the future.

Unknown artist

Untitled (Two seated figures), 1960/1970c

Coming from the American atelier of Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973) this art work is attributable to one of his trainees . The man and the woman, sitting side by side, appear closed in their thoughts. The hand of the man on the woman’s shoulder and elbow of the woman on his leg emotionally unite the two figures, and loneliness becomes encounter and mutual support.

Salvador DALI’

Alma del Quijote / Soul of Don Quixote, 1968

Dalì shows the knight errant by himself, with his dreams and fantasies, running forward on a plinth made of woven hands which beg for his help, support and comfort to face the many afflictions and miseries of life. The soul of Don Quixote is Don Quixote: his body is his helmet and his shield and as spear he throws his soul, the soul of a sad giant that only has his soul to fight the dwarfs of this Earth.


Intimità / Intimacy, 1940

The artist, known for his sculptures in wrought iron, focuses here on an abstract feeling, giving in to the figurative aspect only with the silhouettes of two figures, harmonically related to each other in movement and intersections. The title engraved on the base give full meaning to the work.


Two Figures, 1970c

Moore uses this title for almost everyone of his semi-abstract sculptures with two characters, without specifying if they are mother and son, lovers, of other kind of encounters. Is there really a difference as we think we see? Of does the nature of the encounter, the one he brings back to the most essential formality, the same despite all details and circumstances?

The Defeated, fallen on a solitary rock, stands still: the force the went through his body until a few moments before, does not course through it anymore. The head, bowed between the arms fallen forward, the nudity, the meditation that hides the crying, reveal plastically the dejected powerlessness of the fall, the humiliation, the failure, the loss.

Alfred PINA

Le Vaincu / The Defeted, 1920c

The Defeated, fallen on a solitary rock, stands still: the force the went through his body until a few moments before, does not course through it anymore. The head, bowed between the arms fallen forward, the nudity, the meditation that hides the crying, reveal plastically the dejected powerlessness of the fall, the humiliation, the failure, the loss.


Controvento IV / Into the wind IV, 1992

A female figure, completely covered with an ample robe, moves charmingly forward, hinting to different meaning and reminding us of the famous robed women High Wind of the English sculptor Lynn Chadwick. This pose reminds us of a natural gesture, to which the woman abandons herself in order to embrace herself, or to conceal a mystery.


Gedankenkopf / Head filled with thoughts, 1978

In his sculptures Kriester develops his own original language trying to change the shape of the material to the secret of the, especially poetic, word. A too much daring operation but not fruitless. As in this sculpture in which energetic hands are clasped in front of the eyes and the mouth to indicate as a Head of thoughts (as the title reads) prevent perceiving and knowing how to express themselves.


Fallen Angel, 1990c

The fallen angel is the one who is fallen from its state of grace and because of this, in its positive meaning, symbol of the suffering and the remorse, after being excluded from the sky and doomed to suffer earthly pains. His powerless condition can be seen in its broken wings that are still open, in contrast with the rebel angels that have longer and closed wings.

Clicca per ingrandire


Famille en exil / Family in exil, 1920c

Pajot had been one of Rodin’s student, and if the date on the work is accurate, it looks like it has been made in the Master’s studio. The face of the older man on the right reminds us of The Thinker on The Gates of Hell or one of the Bourgeois of Calais. Because of the presence of various characters from the same family, the exile can be read not only in its strict sense but also as a “family exiled by itself”, which is a perspective that enriches it of an even more contemporary meaning.

William J. BLUMAN

Exodus, 1960c

Massive sculpture that uses the semicircle of a trunk of oak where twelve different characters are portrayed, from the oldest that opens the caravan of different people, to the youngest one that closes it. The lemma exodus refers mainly to the journey of Moses and the Jews out of the desert, but the etymon – derived from ex (out) and odos (way, path) – points to many different exit ways, including the forced ones that imply the lack of an arrival point.

Emile-Antoine BOURDELLE

Penelope, 1907

For the faithful wife of Ulysses, Bourdelle creates a woman in a reflective pose, a sort of female counterpart of The Thinker of Rodin, of which Bourdelle was a student. An impressive figure where everything helps to create an effect of “vital mass”: the folds of the tunic – as the grooves of a doric column – hang on the voluptuous shape, as the lock of the arm helps to enclose herself in a figure of loneliness, of a “soul that stands without falling”.

Gabriel STERK

Daphne, 1993

Daphne was a very beautiful nymph who, pursued by an infatuated Apollo, had to escape through the woods. When she realized that her race was in vain and she was about to be reached, asked her mother Gea to change her physical appearance which was giving her so much pain and fear. Her race was slowed down and her body gradually transformed into a graceful and strong tree, the laurel plant which thus became a sign of glory to be placed on the head of the winners.


L’inspiration / The inspiration, 1900c

The sculpture is born as Jesus devant les docteurs, a work with a full length figure that highlights the questioning posture of the eyes and hands of the character. Afterwords this half bust is realised, which enhances especially the expression of the listener, but at the same time it elaborates a thought, from which the title of this work. This is actually the work of Masters: to teach but also to inspire to reach that something which is beyond any possible teaching.


L’educanda e la Madonna / The pupil girl and the Madonna, 1927

Beauty in art, according to this artist, consists in listening to the “ancient voices” that engage in a dialogue with imagination: “the blood running through your veins cannot be changed, this is tradition, a romantic – unfortunately or fortunately – tradition”. This work too is in a dialogue with imagination, that transports us to the heart of an perfect encounter, where mystic and human meet in sublime silence.


Consolaciòn / Consolation, 1990c

The sculptures of Vancells Puig are silent, they never scream but say more than words, where sedate and quiet gestures expresses hope and comfort, which are more valuable than many truths. Consolation is pictured here as a total physical experience: the hidden looks express the heartfelt need that moves the embrace; its steadiness and the deep strenght that it generates.


Affetto materno senza tempo / Timeless maternal affection, 1930c

The title tells us all we need to know on the meaning of this sculpture. The position of the hands on the back of the son recalls the painting of The Prodigal Son by Rembrandt: delicate and composed hands to calm, offer protection and consolation.


Senza Titolo / Untitled, 1973

To hang on something which helps us to lift ourselves is a gesture not only to help our bodies but, more or less directly, it influences our soul too. Lifting the body lifts the spirit too and a promise of a new meaning is made, anywhere and anyhow one may find it, which “lifts the weight” of an existence where doubt and suffering are far too common.

Antonio OTEIZA

Acoger el extranjero / Welcoming the foreigner, 1976

Depiction of one of the works of mercy where welcoming, and maybe embracing, happens with a movement of opening, almost reflecting the double breathing rhythm of the two figures. The welcoming figure has his left arm on the shoulder of the guest, and the other arm stretched outwards as if he wanted to stop him, as the guest, with an ample mantle and his leg stretched forward, seems to be still going.

© Copyright 2019 - Fondazione Salus Pueri - Via Giustiniani 3 - 35128 Padova - Credits