Through art, people have expressed and continue to express their feelings, thoughts, views, and attitudes about the world around them. In some cases, the artist even opens the door to his inner world to allow the viewer to peek inside. Art, although vast, is subject to the evolution of man and with it changes and shifts with him to respond to current issues, beliefs and attitudes. It can be said that it plays an extremely important role in our existence. It is difficult to imagine a world in which there is no music or color, artistic words, or sculpture. Without art, life would be deprived of beauty and taste.
In today’s article, we will tell you about an exceptional artist, or in particular a sculptor, who may not be so familiar to the general public. His statues impress with their elegance and fine craftsmanship. They blur the line between the material and the living. They even make you disbelieve your own eyes. It is about Giovanni Strazza and his veiled statues. We will focus on one of his most famous – The Veiled Virgin.
Giovanni Strazza was an Italian sculptor. Historical information about his life is quite scarce. He lived between 1840 and 1858 in Italy. He was born in Milan and studied at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in the city. Between 1840 and 1858, he worked in Rome. Then he returned to Milan, where he taught at his alma mater from 1860 to 1875. We will tell you more about the city itself in another of our articles, so let’s focus on The Veiled Virgin by Giovanni.
Sculptors have worked with marble for thousands of years. This material is preferred because of its softness and transparency. These characteristics make it especially suitable for statues with intricate details and anatomical subtleties. The Veiled Virgin sculpture is a fantastic example that can illustrate these qualities of marble. As the name suggests, the artwork depicts a bust of the veiled Virgin Mary. Both the life of the author himself, Giovanni Strazza, and the details surrounding the creation of his sculpture are a mystery. Strazza is believed to have made the artwork while working
in Rome in the early 1850s, as it reached Newfoundland in Canada in 1856.
It is believed that the Veiled Virgin was intended to symbolize Italy in the context of the Risorgimento period.
Risorgimento was a political and social movement that led to the unification of Italy in 1861. It was characterized by a long period of riots and battles. The result was the unification of the states of the Apennine Peninsula and the creation of the Italian nation and nation-state. In this context, the significance of the Veiled Virgin becomes really great, as it appears as a symbol of unification. And the Virgin Mary is one of the main religious figures in Italian Catholicism and represents a young pure woman, as was the new Italy.
The sculpture The Veiled Virgin is made of Carrara marble. This material was obtained from Tuscany and is known to have been used by ancient Roman builders and Italian Renaissance artists.
Strazza’s creation itself is exceptional. In addition to impressing with its incredible details, it creates a feeling of purity. The sculpture has a veil
that makes it look covered in translucent fabric but is actually carved from white Carrara marble. The veil looks so light and real that it is perceived not as something extra, but as an element that strengthens the features of the Virgin. This further speaks to the incredible skills of Giovanni Strazza.
Observing the sculpture, a feeling of silence and peace begins to creep into us. The face of the Veiled Virgin depicts calm and humility but at the same time strength. A strength that cannot be explained in simple words, but is rooted in the realization that God loves her. At the same time, her love and faith in God make her confident, but without losing her humanity. The veil, for its part, is an extraordinary metaphor of faith – something so thin, light, invisible that it can serve as a catalyst for an unseen force to transcend human boundaries.
We believe that with this article about the Veiled Virgin we have certainly aroused your interest in the extraordinary sculptors of Giovanni Strazza. Follow our blog, Instagram, and Facebook account to find out more about his other creations, as well as many other interesting topics.