new-york

Giacomo Manzu

Paul Rosenberg & Co.

At Paul Rosenberg and Co. an important exhibition of works by Giacomo Manzu features what the catalog confusingly terms “preparatory or final realizations” of the great bronze door of St. Peter’s at present installed in the Basilica. As only the Roman door itself can be the “final realization,” the reliefs on view must be studies or variants, since all of Manzu’s bronzes are unique casts from his waxes. These variants deal in similar form with the subjects on the door proper. Though Manzu had been at work on the project since receiving the commission in 1947, the final version displays an iconographical program worked out between the artist and Pope John XXIII. The theme is death.

Two large panels (one atop each valve of the door) deal with the “Death of Mary” and the “Death of Christ.” Beneath them are the Eucharistic symbols of vine branches and sheaves of wheat, forming the door handles.

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