enzo plazzotta

This artist accepts commissions

Mediums Used

Enzo Plazzotta worked mainly in bronze, his tactile and delicate workmanship finding clay and wax more congenial than stone. He will undoubtedly be remembered for his bronze statuettes, lovingly sculpted and greatly treasured for the aesthetic please they give their owners.

Sculptures by enzo plazzotta



Enzo Plazzotta was born at Mestre, Near Venice, on May 29th 1921. After the death of his father 2 years later, the family moved to Lake Maggiore, and Plazzotta spent the rest of his childhood there. At 17, having discovered this aptitude for suclpture, he enrolled at the Accademia di Brera in Milan to study under Messina. It was not unitl after the War that he cane under the aegis of Manzu, who exerted a consderable influence over his work.

However, Italy`s entry into the War abruptly interrupted his studies. Plazzotta volunteered for the regiment of the Bersaglieri and was sent the North Africa, where he was awarded the Silver Medal for military valour. Back in Italy, at the time of Mussolini`s fall in 1943, he made a break with the Fascist regime and went up into the mountains to found a partisan formation with other deserters and political refugees, Betrayal by an infiltrator led to his capture and solitary confinement. After 6 months imprisonment, he excaped whilein transit to Mauthausen, and crossed into Switzerland, where he worked to better relations between the partisans and the Allies. In the closing months of the War, he returned to Italy to participate in the final struggle for national liberation.

After this 4 year break, Plazzotta returned to the Brera to complete his studies. Having graduated, he was commissioned by the Italian Committee for National Liberation to make a statuette, the figure of David, to symbolize the "spirit of rebellion" whichhas characterised the Italina resistance movement. In 1947, the sculptor accompanied General Cordorna, a prominenet anti-fascist leader, to present the figure to the British Special Forces in London, honouring their work with the partisans. Although he had only anticipated a short stay, he was so drawn to the British way of life that he decided to settle in London. He first found work as a portrait artist but later, with a family to support, he was obliged to turn his attention to more lucrative pursuits. Rather that practise his art merely as a hobby, he gave up sculpting altogether. Instead, he set up a commercial art agency in London, which specialised in importing Milanese art and design. It was not until the early sixties the Plazzotta found himself in a position to take up sculpting again. With a few exceptions, all the work illustrated here is the product of this new period. As most of the earlier work was never cast, it could not be traced for documentation. Plazzotta was already in his forties and all to aware that this was late in the day to embark on such a demanding profession. His prolific output in such a relatively brief working span attests his underlying sense of urgency. He was conscious that financial difficulties had thrown an obstacle in his path in the past, bringing to a halt what he felt, deeply, to be his true vocation. Now it was a question of coming to terms with these neterial considerations, not only to sound a voice in the forum, but also, more fundamentally, to be in a position to continue to sculpt at all. This endeavour, the aims of which he successfully achieved, explains the duality of his work in this phase. On the one hand, there are the more accessible public works which relects and incorporate the popular tastes of the day; but to redress the balance, there is a core of more personal work which does not shy away from difficulty, either technical or symbolic, and which suceeds in maing its own bold statements.

Plazzotta always retained close links with his native Italy. Apart from casting much of his work in Pietrasanta, he also kept a small studio there until his death, reaping the advantages of an environment in which artists and craftsmen worked alongside each other, pooling their respective talents with the common aim of producing finished objects of high quality. Many of the remaining editions are still cast, chased and patinated by the artisans with whom he worked so closely during his lifetime.

Pietrasanta`s situation near the Carrarra mountains, where so much Renaissance marble was quarried, also afforded him an opportunity to try his has at carving, and he executed a significant number of figures both in marble and onyx. But at heart he was a modeller, preferring to work in wax with its inherrent versatility. He also used clay for portraits and some larger scale pieces, and carried out experiments in perspex, sinking figures into the transparent substance as a personal solution to the problem of representing bodies suspended in space. His main departures from the sculptural idion were the series of etching as well as some experimental work in acrylics.

In 1976, in recognition of his services to Italian art, Plazzotta received the title of Cavaliere from the Italian government. In the same year, he moved into the Garden Studio in Cathcart Road, built by Sire Charles Wheeler as a working sculptors studio. The abundance of space and light, together with the legacy of a wealth of mechanical equipment, encouraged Plazzotta to start producing more life-size pieces and enable him to bring to fruition projects which he had been mulling over for some years. The last of these was the monument to a figure of the past whom he greatly admired, Leonardo da Vinci. Sadly he was only able to complete the maquette for this project before he became ill with cancer in 1981 and died within the same year. Thanks to the determination of his sponsor and the application of his assistant. Mark Holloway, the monument was completed posthumously in 1982 and erected outside the Italian Institute in Blegrave Square in 1984.

Public Works

Camargue Horses stands on the Waterside Terrace at the Barbican Centre, London
Crucifixion in the College Gardens of Westminster Abbey.
Homage to Leonardo stands in Belgrave Square, London.
Jeté, 1975, on the corner of 46-57 Millbank, Westminster, London (based on David Wall).
`The Helmet`, (1964) in the grounds of Lewes Priory; commissioned by Sir Tufton Beamish[2]
Two Brothers - Boys Town, Nebraska.[3]
`Young Dancer` sits opposite the Royal Opera House in Broad Street, off Bow Street, London.

Public Acquisitions
His work can be found in several public and private collections worldwide including: The Vatican, Rome. The Hermitage, Lausanne. The Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane.