Bronze bust of a woman

Statue of a woman sitting crossed leg across the arms of the chair

Sketch of young boy sitting down with his hands crossed in his lap

Images, above, from top: Giacomo Manzù, Bust of a Woman, 1952; Giacomo Manzù, Tebe in an Armchair, 1980; Giacomo Manzù, Mileto, 1975.

Giacomo Manzù
Sculptor and Draughtsman
15 January – 3 April 2016

A giant of twentieth-century sculpture, Giacomo Manzù (1908-1991) is best known for delicate and moving work focusing predominantly on portraiture and religious imagery. As sensitive to line as to form, his drawings exhibit the same restrained power and sinuous qualities familiar from his more celebrated bas-reliefs and three-dimensional work.

Although apprenticed to various craftsmen from an early age, Manzù was largely self- taught. Key influences on his style include the sculptors Auguste Rodin and Medardo Rosso – the latter’s realism and ability to capture fleeting sensations and expressions being of particular important.

In the late 1930s Manzù began his renowned series of Cardinals, sculpting his sitters enveloped in their liturgical vestments, and a series of bas-reliefs on the theme of the Crucifixion which were also passionate and unflinching indictments of Nazi-Fascist violence. After the war Manzù would establish himself as one of Italy’s foremost sculptors of religious subjects but, like his contemporary Emilio Greco, was drawn as much to the sensual world as to that of the spirit. His vigorous sculptures of entwined lovers are infused with a playful character that frequently verges on the bawdy.

Works exploring all of these key themes are featured in the exhibition plus tender and more personal portraits of family members, a number of works depicting characters from mythology, and examples of Manzù’s unusual – and highly distinctive – naturalistic sculptures of still lifes.

Organised with Bologna’s Galleria d’Arte Maggiore, this exhibition presents some fifty works by one of modern Italian art’s undisputed master

Gold statue of a cardinal sitting down with his hands crossed

Giacomo Manzù, Large Seated Cardinal, 1983.


Nico Vascellari: Intervention
3 February – 3 April 2016

Nico Vascellari presents a selected number of works drawing on elements of Arte Povera and Conceptual art in this latest ‘intervention’ by a contemporary artist. Responding to the Estorick’s Futurist and Novecento masterpieces, they will be displayed throughout the building and its gallery spaces, giving rise to a dialogue with the museum’s permanent collection.

Bright light bulb on wire towards bottom righthand side

Nico Vascellari, Lamp(2015)