Igor Mitoraj (pronounced Mitorai) (1944-2014) is a Polish sculptor who aimed to capture the Western classical ideal of the human body, as reflected in classical Greek and Roman sculptures, which, however, have largely come down to us in a fragmentary state. Since the idealized, ethereal beauty of the faces and bodies he created of marble and bronze is always ruptured by broken edges or other destructive elements, it is never in danger of becoming insipid. The tension thus created makes these sculptures vibrant; yet the calm, peaceful air they emanate make them enchanting companions to live with. With his realist style, which gives even his smaller sculptures a monumental presence, he has discovered a distinctive, contemporary art form that makes him unique.
Having studied at Krakow Academy in Poland and at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France, he started as a painter, but soon devoted himself to creating sculptures in terracotta and bronze. After his first solo exhibition in Paris in 1976, he decided to devote himself completely to sculpture, and in 1979 went to Pietrasanta, the Eldorado of stone carving close to the marble quarries of Carara in Italy. He retained a studio there throughout his life, but also spent much time in Paris, where the French Cultural Ministry offered him an atelier in the fabled historical Bateau Lavoir artists studios.
His works were included in innumerable exhibitions all over Europe, and his monumental sculptures were shown at famous sites such as Pompeii, the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, Sicily, the Forum of Trajan in Rome, the Tuileries Gardens in Paris, the Royal Palace of Warsaw, and the forecourt of the British Museum, London. Commissioned sculptures, fountains and architectural elements can be seen in public spaces in many European capitals.
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