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Sicilian Pottery Seats pay Homage to Michelangelo

Posted by Suzanne on 20 Feb 2015

The elegant muscular torsos of Michelangelo’s classic seated nudes, the Ignudi, on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, twisting and turning in every direction are the inspiration for Sicilian potter, Giovanni D’Angelo’s simple twisted pottery seats: the Torsonudo (bare chested).

A recent collection of Giovanni’s Torsonudo seats, glazed and modern, created individually by Giovanni in his studio in Sicily’s Madonie Mountains, were exhibited in Milan at the HOMI Fiera Milan0 Lifestyle and Interior Design fair in January. The form of the seat, Giovanni stresses, pays homage, simply, to Michelangelo's twisting and bare chested seated Ignudi.

I have often desired Giovanni’s Torsonudo seats when visiting his Polizzi studio and they do capture an energy in the twist and a grace in the moving shape. And, the image on the front page of the Torsonudo catalogue for Milan, one of Michelangelo’s Ignudis sitting on a Torsonudo seat, is spirited and captures perfectly how the Torsonudo pays homage to Michelangelo.

And, as Giovanni states, the seats, “express contrast, stable movement and a dynamic equilibrium.”

All of these elements do give a nod to a long line of classic sculptures such as the 1st century B.C Laocoon and the Torso Belvedere, circa 50 B.C. both, were a part of Michelangelo’s Renaissance world.

And they were, very likely, inspiration for Michelangelo, the unrivalled master of the human nude and the twenty twisting Ignudi seated on plinths on the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling; which inspired a 21st century Sicilian potter.

Giovanni’s Torsonudo seats, anchored in a classicism, and with a strength and comfort are ideal, Giovanni notes, for everyday use as a seat in the garden or the interior.

The names and colours of the Torsonudo seats: Torso Campo; captures the fields of Sicily’s interior, and Torso Case; (houses) Sicily’s urbanisation, Torso Rosso; is simply a vibrant red and Torso Fuso; a glorious shade of a ‘melted’ lava grey; all reflect Giovanni’s innate understanding of colour and place.

When I am in Rome, later in the year, I want to revisit Michelangelo’s Ignudi and look upon the seated nudes which inspired a master potter from Sicily. And, when in Polizzi, I will call by Giovanni's and choose a Torsonudo to go near the fireplace in Palazzo Notar Nicchi.






Sources: edited April 2018 

The British Museum: Definition of Ignudi 

Information from Giovanni d' Angelo's Catalogue 

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