In the aftermath of the Second World War the discussion around religious art appeared as veined with ambiguity as it was extensive, a context in which the work of Giacomo Manzù (Bergamo, 1908 - Rome, 1991) stood out as a benchmark.
This is the period in which Manzù established a genuine, fruitful dialogue with contemporary art, participating in 1949 in the concours to realise San Peter’s door in the Vatican. Around the same time another great artist, Lucio Fontana (Rosario, 1899 – Comabbio, 1968) was seeking answers to very similar questions, for example participating in the concours to realise the doors of Milan’s famous Gothic cathedral in 1950. Establishing a bridge and dialogue between Manzù and Fontana reveals an artistic red thread in Italian and international art between the 1950s and1960s. The exhibition explores Giacomo Manzù’s work in the light of two issues: the first is his renewed relationship with the Church after the scandal caused by his bronze panels in 1941. The second is the Vatican’s attempts in the 50s and 60s -a time of great political and ideological unrest- to establish a new relationship with contemporary art. A new look at contemporary sources, an analysis of the artist’s experiments in different forms of expression, as well as the wholly new juxtaposition with Lucio Fontana, reinforce Manzù’s importance, confirming him as a central figure in the 20th century art world.