Vico Consorti

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Vico Consorti (1902–1979) is a sculptor who built the bronze Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica in 1950.

Lodovico (Vico) Consorti was born in Semproniano, in south Toscana (included in that period in Comune of Roccalbegna). He learnt from his father, doctor but also passionate musician, his love for art. From 1919 to 1926, with an interruption of only one year for the military service, he attended the course of sculpture at the Art Institute of Siena, directed by Fulvio Corsini: with him Vico collaborates to execute the Monument to the fallen of the World War I of Torrita in Siena in 1925, and in the same year he made his monument to fallen of Roccalbegna and then of Petricci (1927) and Ponte a Egola (Santa Croce sull’Arno) in 1928.

From 1926 to 1929 he attended the School of Vico medal in Rome led by Giuseppe Romagnoli, which concludes with the award of improvement for a trip abroad, converted into money to marry his beloved Barabesi Wanda, with whom he had his son Paolo and his daughter Giovanna.

La Porta Santa della basilica di San Pietro

In 1930 Vico is also present to the first Quadrennial of National Art in Rome and International Biennale in Venice for goldsmiths, followed then by numerous appearances at major festivals in Tuscany and a national period of intense work, during which he made the transformation of Crypt of San Domenico in Siena, four reliefs of a pylon of the bridge Duca d'Aosta to Rome, a pillar for the House of Maimed in Naples and the relief of travertine on the government building in Livorno, assignments that followed specifical contests that he won.

The years of the war require a sharp brake on Vico's activity: he leaves his studio in Rome and settles with his family in Siena, where he builds relations of deep esteem with Count Guido Chigi Saracini, a lover of chamber music and important figure in Siena's charismatic cultural environment. Vico makes for him the door of Gratitude for the Duomo of Siena, opened on August 16, 1946, as the fulfillment of the vote for the salvation of the city made two years earlier by the Sienese citizenship. It's the first of five monumental bronze doors he created, a sculptural record recognized by the citizens of Siena who named him, with familiarity and affection, "Vico of the door". Then Vico joins and wins the competition for the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, that was cast by Ferdinando Marinelli Artistic Foundry of Florence and opened during the Jubilee of 1950; after that Vico makes the bronze door for the church of Ludriano (Brescia), commissioned by Count Antonio Folonari, and completes the series in 1966 with the main door of the sanctuary of Oropa in Biella, that is the largest door he ever made (also cast in Florence by the Ferdinando Marinelli's Foundry).

In 1952 Vico accepts the invitation by the architect Angelo Mazzoni to travel to Colombia and build a monument celebrating the heroes who fell in defense of democratic principles of the republic, but he never completed it. During the five years spent in South America, Vico operates several important works in bronze and marble in Bogota and Caracas that, after the approval of the sketch, are executed in the artist's studio in Rome. The increasing difficulties in travel caused by the uncertain political climate of South American countries, and the high costs of transport, avoided the implementation of some other projects and lead the artist to return permanently to his homeland in 1957.

Vico restarts his sculptor life in his studium in Rome and Siena: from 1959 to 1965, annually, he creates portraits of famous musicians in villa Chigi in Castelnuovo Berardenga; for the contrade in Siena he makes the fountains of the Dragon and Porcupine; for the Sclavo Institute, the bust of Sabin; for the Pascoli school a wall panel in bronze and ceramics; the series of portraits of the Popes in marble placed in the portico of the Sanctuary of St. Catherine; and still works for various locations of the Monte dei Paschi. Vico still keeps loving relationships with his hometown, where he often goes to visit relatives and acquaintances: the now famous sculptor promises a work to his fellows citizens for the parish, but postponed the execution, so that only in the early '80s the widow will fulfill its commitment by offering a replica of a bronze crucifix earlier made by the artist.

Vico with emotion gets the prize of the Golden Gryphon assigned by the city of Grosseto for artistic merits, a year before he died in Siena, on July the 1st, 1979, after a rigorous and consistent life devoted to sculpture.

(*) Source: infos from Vico's daughter, Giovanna Consorti.