Contemporary Italian artist Lorenzo Quinn is a leading figurative sculptor whose work is inspired by such masters as Michelangelo, Bernini and Rodin. Exhibited internationally, his monumental public art and smaller, more intimate pieces transmit his passion for eternal values and authentic emotions. He is best known for expressive recreations of human hands. ‘I wanted to sculpt what is considered the hardest and most technically challenging part of the human body’, he asserts. ‘The hand holds so much power – the power to love, to hate, to create, to destroy.’
Born on 7th May 1966 in Rome to the Oscar Award winning Mexican American actor Anthony Quinn[i] and his second wife, costume designer Iolanda Addolori, Quinn’s childhood was split between Italy and the United States. His father had a profound influence on him, both in terms of living in the limelight of the film world and with respect to Anthony’s early work in painting and sculpting architecture.
Quinn studied at the American Academy of Fine Arts in New York, planning to be a Surrealist painter. However, aged 21 he decided that his future lay in sculpture, which could better accommodate his energy and originality. He vividly recalls the moment in 1989 when he felt that he had created his first genuine work of art: ‘I had made a torso from Michelangelo’s drawing of Adam… an artisan’s job … I had an idea and began chiselling away, and Eve came out of Adam’s body… It had started as a purely academic exercise, yet it had become an artwork.’
In 1988 Quinn married Giovanna Cicutto, and on the birth of the first of their three sons they decided to leave New York – a place that ‘hardens your human values’ – and settle in Spain. ‘We chose Spain for its Latin character, its fervour and values of people and family, and for its great artistic trajectory’, he explains.
In his twenties Quinn enjoyed a brief acting career, including playing alongside his father in Stradivari (1989), and also giving an acclaimed performance as Salvador Dalí. However, he did not enjoy working in the acting profession and decided to concentrate purely on sculpture.
Quinn’s creative ideas spark quickly into life: ‘The inspiration comes within a millisecond’, he says, as he is driven to sculpt by observing life’s everyday energy. Yet a finished project takes months to realise, and it has to carry a clear meaning. Quinn usually conceives each work in writing, and the poetic text is ultimately displayed with the sculpture, as an integral part of the piece, not merely as an explanation.
Quinn’s work appears in many private collections throughout the world and has been exhibited internationally throughout the past two decades. Among his commissions is the Tree of Life, produced for the United Nations and issued by the organisation as a stamp in 1993. The follolwing year the Vatican engaged him to sculpt a likeness of St Anthony for the Basilica del Santo in Padua, in commemoration of the 800th anniversary of the saint’s birth; the sculpture was blessed by the pope in St Peter’s Square, Rome, in front of a crowd of 35,000.
In July 2021 one of Quinn’s latest monumental sculpture Together was unveiled in Cannes, France before being shown in the Forever is Now exhibition in Egypt, the first contemporary art event to be held at the UNESCO World Heritage Site Giza pyramids.
In July 2022 his monumental artwork Baby 3.0 was unveiled in Venice representing the rebirth of both society and the artist.
Quinn is having a special appearance in Qatar with the installation of monumental artworks Qatar Forward and Goal of the Century. This last being the inauguration event masterpiece of the Hyundai FIFA World Cup Qatar. Monumental piece Our Nucleus can be seen in Miami since December, and will be holding and participating in several exhibitions and art fairs across Europe, United States and Middle East.
Císcar Casabán describes Quinn’s work as ‘profound, spiritual and existential because it deals with the passions we experience as humans and the questions we pose in the silence about ultimate truth … these are sculptures based on great myths, referring to the broad themes that recur in our civilisation and cut across distinctions of culture and time.’