Among the most famous and appreciated Italian sculptors of the XX Century, Arturo Dazzi was also a figure, still life and landscape painter. He began, very young, as a stone mason and rough-hewer in the sculpture shop of an uncle; then, he enrolled at the Fine Arts Academy of Carrara, where his presence is documented until 1899. After getting his diploma, thanks to a scholarship he could move to Rome, where he would stay until 1925, joining in the cultural life of the city.
The Roman stay allowed early successes and acknowledgments to young Dazzi. With the work titled “I costruttori” (The builders), which was bought by the Modern Art National Academy of Rome, he obtained the gold medal. At the beginning of the century, his marble and stone production of a veristic kind, not alien to themes of social character, reflected the influence of sculptors like Costantine Meunier, Emile Antoine Bourdelle e Vincenzo Vela. In 1908 he won the competition for the statue of Cardinal De Luca for the Law Courts of Rome and in 1912 he made the frieze of the Martini Chapel at the Bologna cemetery. At the Venetian Biennale of 1914 he presented some sculptures which show his interest for the liberty language, to which however he never completely adhered.
From the second decade of the century on, Dazzi devoted himself to works of great commitment, like the Monument to Enrico Toti in Rome in 1918 and the Monument to the railwaymen killed during the First World War in 1918. From 1918 to 1926 his collaboration with Marcello Piacentini continued and together they planned the Genoa War Memorial, which was unveiled in 1931. In 1927 at the Fine Arts Exhibition of the Lovers of Rome, Dazzi exhibited in a room dedicated to him twenty-five drawings; two of them were bought by the Governorship for the National Gallery of Modern Art. In that period he deepened his interest for painting, participating in 1935 in the second Roman Quadriennale with a wax sculpture and nineteen oil paintings.
During the thirties his fame consolidated and he obtained important jobs and acknowledgments all over Italy. In 1932 the Venetian Biennale dedicated a room to him with 22 works. Awarded at the Modern Art Exhibition of Budapest and at the International Exhibition of Paris in 1936 and 1937 respectively, he was appointed Academician of Italy and charged by the Duce with the realisation of the Monument to Guglielmo Marconi to be placed in the Imperial Square at the Universal Exhibition of Rome in 1942. Among his latest works, the Monument to Saint Francis for Vittoria Apuana in 1962 and the Monument to Dante for Mulazzo.
Written by: Gioela Massagli – Translated by: Cristina Panigada
© Studio d’Arte dell’800