Arnaldo Pomodoro

Arnaldo Pomodoro was born in the scenic Montefeltro region of Italy in 1926. He spent his formative years in Pesaro, where he was educated and cultivated an early passion for the arts. Growing up in this culturally vibrant area provided the foundation for his future pursuits in sculpture and design.

In 1954, Pomodoro relocated to Milan, a city that would become both his residence and creative epicenter. Throughout the 1950s, he started gaining acclaim for his high-relief sculptures, characterized by a distinctive and innovative “writing” style. This unique approach attracted the attention of prominent art critics, who provided various interpretations of his work.

The early 1960s marked a pivotal shift in Pomodoro’s artistic journey as he transitioned from high-reliefs to three-dimensional sculptures. He began to focus on solid geometric forms such as spheres, discs, pyramids, cones, columns, and cubes, all meticulously crafted in burnished bronze. These shapes were often lacerated, corroded, and excavated, revealing the chaotic complexity within. This striking contrast between the flawless exterior and the tumultuous interior became a signature element of his work.

One of Pomodoro’s most significant commissions came in 1966 when he was tasked with creating a three-and-a-half-meter diameter sphere for the Expo in Montreal. This monumental piece, now positioned in front of the Farnesina in Rome, marked his transition to larger public sculptures. Over the years, his works have found homes in numerous prestigious locations, including:

  • City squares in Milan, Copenhagen, Brisbane, Los Angeles, and Darmstadt
  • Trinity College in Dublin
  • Mills College in California
  • The Cortile della Pigna in the Vatican
  • The United Nations headquarters in New York
  • UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris
  • PepsiCo Sculpture Gardens in Purchase, New York
  • Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, New York

Pomodoro has also explored the creation of extensive environmental works. Among these projects are the unbuilt “Progetto per il Cimitero di Urbino” (Project for the New Cemetery of Urbino) from 1973 and “Moto terreno solare,” a lengthy concrete wall for “Il Simposio di Minoa” in Marsala. Other notable endeavors include the “Sala d’Armi” for the Poldi Pezzoli Museum in Milan, “Ingresso nel labirinto” (Entering the Labyrinth), dedicated to the epic of Gilgamesh and completed in 2011, and “Carapace,” a wine cellar in Bevagna designed for the Lunelli family.

Pomodoro’s illustrious career has been commemorated with memorable retrospectives and traveling exhibitions across Europe, America, Australia, and Japan. These showcases have cemented his reputation as one of the most significant contemporary artists.

Beyond sculpture, Pomodoro has made significant contributions to the world of set design, creating “spectacular machines” for various theatrical productions, ranging from Greek tragedies to contemporary music performances. His passion for teaching has seen him impart knowledge at several American universities, including Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley, and Mills College.

Throughout his career, Pomodoro has received numerous prestigious awards, including:

  • Sculpture Prizes at the Biennials of São Paulo (1963) and Venice (1964)
  • The Japan Art Association’s 1990 Imperial Praemium for Sculpture
  • The Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award from San Francisco’s International Sculpture Center (2008)

He has also been honored with degrees, including a degree in the humanities honoris causa from Trinity College Dublin in 1992, and an honorary degree in architectural engineering from the University of Ancona in 2001.

“The most important aspect this sculpture which I dedicate to Eduardo Chillida is the emptiness at its center: the space the work defines as a passage through which a human being might walk. A door and as well a threshold, at the edge of the unknown; a reference to the ultimate passage from life into death. It’s a work that I would like to see realized on a large scale, as once was the case with the gates at the entrances to cities”