Tobia Vescovi (1893-1978)
This self-portrait was executed by the sculptor Tobia Vescovi in 1930, when he was thirty-seven. It is a fine example of his art, which is characterised by robustness and vigour: indeed, the use of the much harder onyx instead of the more supple marble is unusual. The son of the owner of a marble quarry in Zandobbio, near Bergamo, he developed a passion for working with marble for sculpture and architecture when he was very young and went on to study at the Carrara Academy. He was a lieutenant in the Bersaglieri during World War II, attaining the rank of captain and upon his return to civilian life, he created monuments to the fallen and other works of a patriotic nature which only partly followed academic tradition and always included a dramatic component. The work’s emphasis on decorative graphic elements and its strong linear and geometric stylisation are reminiscent of the sculptor Ivan Meštrović (especially the fine, dynamic waves of the hair, rendered with decorative monumentality according to the Art Deco taste of the time). At the same time, the sculptural quality of the face, and the concise, more archaic style of the facial features is in line with the tendency towards Primitivist Expressionism.