HOW many times have you walked through Carlos Place, Westminster, and not given the naked lady a second glance?
The 1973 sculpture was created by the Italian artist Emilio Greco (1913-1995) and was "A gift to the City of Westminster from the President of the Italian Republic 20th November 1987. Sponsored by the Italian Banks in London".
To mark the centenary of the artist’s birth, the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art in London is staging the exhibition Emilio Greco: Sacred and Profane, from 25 September to 22 December 2013, in collaboration with the Archivi Emilio Greco and Il Cigno GG Edizioni of Rome.
Greco was one of the key figures of 20th century Italian art and this show will comprise some 40 works, including pieces in bronze and terracotta, as well as a number of his vigorous drawings.
Born in Catania, Sicily, Greco was apprenticed to a stone mason and sculptor of funerary monuments at an early age. From the 1950s he taught sculpture in Rome, Carrara and Naples, and it was during that decade that his own work first began to receive recognition. Strongly influenced by Etruscan, Greek and Roman art, Greco is best known for his powerful portrait busts and sensual nudes that are classicised, yet volumetric, often characterised by perfectly rounded heads.
However, whilst life-size female figures dominate his oeuvre, Greco also received important religious commissions like his contemporary Giacomo Manzù. Both aspects of Greco’s work will be considered in this exhibition, which will also feature sculptures and drawings from the Estorick Collection, as well as other works on long-term loan there. These include an emblematic Crouching Nude dating from 1956 that is echoed in the Carlos Place sculpture.