Pericle Fazzini was born on May 4, 1913, in Grottammare, Italy. He made his first sculptures in the studio of his father, who was a wood-carver. In 1929, at the insistence of family friend and poet Mario Rivosecchi, Fazzini’s father sent him to Rome, where he took drawing classes at the Accademia di Belle Arti. In 1931 he won a competition for his design for the tomb of Cardinal Dusmet in Catania, Italy, and a year later won the Pensionato Artistico Nazionale, which provided him with the funds necessary to rent a studio in Rome for the next three years.
From 1937 to 1952 he taught at the Museo Artistico Industriale in Rome. During this period he experimented with different materials, including clay and bronze. In 1942 he won the Premio dell’Accademia d’Italia. His first solo exhibition took place at the Galleria La Margherita in Rome, in 1943. In 1951 a retrospective of his art was held at Palazzo Barberini in Rome. He continued to teach through most of the 1950s, first at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence and then at the Accademia di Brera in Milan. Fazzini’s earliest works were mostly relief sculptures carved in wood, Baroque-inspired compositions with an emphasis on movement and plasticity. Over the next decade his style would take on a more sober appearance, though he would never relinquish his preoccupation with plasticity and the idea of the “unfinished” as a means of heightening a work’s expressive quality.
In the late 1930s and early 1940s he began to produce portraits subtly infused with a sense of humanity. Fazzini’s portrait of Giuseppe Ungaretti from 1936 inspired the poet to call him “a sculptor of the wind.” The artist returned to a more Baroque sensibility in the period between 1946 and 1955 with works in which he combined dynamic figures drawn from real life and fantasy. Fazzini is best known for his later, monumental works, such as Monument to the Resistance (1956), located in Acona, and Resurrection (1972–77), commissioned by the Vatican. Fazzini died in Rome on December 4, 1987.