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Luciano Minguzzi was born into an artistic family in Bologna on May 24, 1911. He began his studies with his father, a sculptor, and later enrolled at the Fine Arts Academy in Bologna, where he trained as a sculptor under Ercole Drei and as a printmaker under Giorgio Morandi. He studied art history at the university with Roberto Longhi. He was also the recipient of a scholarship that allowed him to study art in Paris for two months. Minguzzi was deeply affected by both Florentine and Bolognese sculptors of the early Renaissance, but he also admired such modern artists as Arturo Martini, Marino Marini, and Giacomo Manzù.
He formed the group Cronache with several other artists in 1945 and three years later went to Paris, where he met Zadkine, Giacometti, Birolli, and others. In 1950 he was awarded the Gran Premio for sculpture at the Venice Biennale and the following year moved to Milan and was selected to design the fifth door of the Duomo. This period of the artist’s career was best represented by a series of vigorously plastic works featuring acrobats, contortionists, and children at play. In 1956 Minguzzi was appointed Professor of sculpture at the Brera Fine Arts Academy, where he taught until 1975. From the end of the 1950s until the1960s, his sculptures included references to concentration camps, gas chambers, and other war-related themes. It was also at this time that he introduced bas-relief into his work, often made of bronze with iron inserts. During these years he also experimented with different styles of work, such as the semi-abstract sculpture series Aquiloni and Luci nel bosco.
He had many solo and group shows throughout the 1960s. In 1970 he was commissioned to create the Porta del Bene e del male for St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. The 1980s witnessed the production of many color drawings, and in 1985 he held a solo exhibition in the Galleria del Milione in Milan. There followed an exhibition at the Palazzo dei Diamanti, Ferrara, a year later. The Minguzzi Museum opened in Milan in 1996. The artist died in Milan on May 30, 2004.