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Monday, March 21, 2016

Mario Ceroli: Rome Sculptor

He's hardly a household name.  And doubtless less well known than some of the other unknowns we've featured on the Rome the Second Time blog.  But he has had, and continues to have, an impact, here and there, on Rome and its environs.  He's Mario Ceroli.

Readers of the RST Facebook page may recall that Ceroli is the designer of a very large late- modernist sculpture, a polyhedron in pine, painted red, that now resides in Flaminio, just steps away from Pier Luigi Nervi's Palazetto dello Sport. That piece--a favorite of Bill's, but not Dianne's--was designed for the 1990 World Cup (its title is "Goal"), and its original location was, appropriately, close to the stadium in which important games were played.  It was positioned in Foro Italico.

Incredibly, the sculpture may also have been located, at one time, next to Nervi's other Rome masterwork, the Palazzo dello Sport, in EUR.
Or perhaps this is a fanciful invention--that is, not a real photo.  
Ceroli is perhaps better known for another piece in wood: the Cavallo Alato (winged horse, 1987), at the Centro Direzionale Rai (RAI the television station) at the entrance to via Carlo Emery in Saxa Rubra, a town not far to the north of Rome.  The horse is covered with gold.  We haven't seen it in person.

Ceroli also specialized in church furnishings.  He designed furnishings for the church of Porto Rotondo, Sardinia (1971), and for Santa Maria del Redentore, in lovely (a touch of irony here) Tor Bella Monaca, on Rome's outskirts.   We have been to this church, which is striking on the outside and, we know now, decorated on the inside by Ceroli.  More work in wood. More photos of the interior of this church at the end of this post.

Born in Castel Frentano (in the Abruzzi) in 1938, Ceroli soon found himself in Rome's grasp.  Among his first artistic influences was the Accademia di Belli Arti di Roma.  In the 1960s he was much taken with the new vogue of pop art, and especially with the work - often in wood -  of Louise Nevelson (and see here for more on Nevelson's work) and Joe Tilson.  In later decades, his creative energies were frequently expressed in a series of multiple wood cut-outs, of the sort pictured immediately below.
A typical Ceroli cut-out sequence.  A comment on identity? homogeneity? Postmodern repetition?

A church pew, of inlaid wood

Chapel detail

Interior, Santa Maria del Redentore


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