Our World

Igor Mitoraj

Art & Design

Poland. 1914-2014

Igor Mitoraj

I have always been drawn to the majestic beauty of Igor Mitoraj’s monumentally dramatic sculptures. Although trained as a traditional painter at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, Poland, Mitoraj was destined to use sculpture as his voice. “I never draw or make any sketch on paper. The idea matures in my head, and I already see it completed in a specific material.”

Upon graduating in 1968, the Polish born Mitoraj moved to Paris, and after travelling to Mexico and Greece, finally settled in Pietrasanta, the Italian capital of marble – the ancient city of sculptors steeped in Renaissance history. It is here, in his Italian studio that Mitoraj found ‘his place on Earth.’

Igor Mitoraj- Eros Bendato, 2002. Pompeii.

Mitoraj family’s history profoundly influenced his interpretation of beauty. His father had spent time in a Polish forced labour camp and Igor had survived the bombardment of Dresden during the Second War. There is a deeply spiritual sensitivity to his monumental classically Hellenic inspired sculptures that are distinguished by their cracked surfaces and marred patina. References to Greek mythology are a theme running throughout his work. “Through myth, one can establish a dialogue with the past, abandon isolation and get to know oneself, by getting acquainted with the Gods’ multiform nature that is contained in our DNA. I feel that a piece of an arm or a leg speak far more strongly than a whole body. It leaves a lot to the imagination, too.”

Igor Mitoraj- Tindaro, 1997

“The idea of beauty is ambiguous, a double-edge sword that can easily hurt you, causing pain and torture.”

Igor Mitoraj Exhibition in Pompeii

His sculptures have been installed in some of our most historically significant and beautiful ancient sites, including the Valley of the Temples, and the Archaeological site of Pompeii. In 2017, The Pompeii installation consisted of 30 majestic bronze sculptures of Gods and mythological heroes whose, “Mute and iconic symbols remind us, with their immanence, of the profound value classical antiquity has in contemporary culture.

In December of 2022, an Mitoraji installation on Viareggio’s Belvedere delle Maschere beach was based on the tragic Greek myth of Daedalus and his son Icarus who dared to ‘fly too close to the sun’. Mitoraji’s sculptures, Ikaro Blu and Ikaria Grande remind us that ‘we have the wings to soar above’.

Igor Mitoraj - Installation on Viareggio’s Belvedere delle Maschere beach, 2022

Igor Mitoraj

Before he passed away in 2014, Igor Mitoraj reflected on his life as an artist. “I find it absurd when someone says that I have made it in life. I have worked for my success for over thirty years. I earn money with art and it gives me freedom. I have indeed been very lucky, because I have never had to ask for my works to be shown in galleries and I have never been forced to put them out to tender, but before I became free, I had to go through the mill. When I first started my artistic career, I was earning a living by carrying pianos and furniture to the sixth floors of Parisian buildings.”

Atelier Mitoraj 1

Atelier Mitoraj 2

Igor Mitoraj, Porta Polonia, 2016. Poland

Today his sculptures proudly stand in many cities, including Paris, Rome, Florence, London, Japan, Lausanne, United States and Kraków. On May 3rd, 2012, Mirotaj was awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta by President Bronislaw Komorowski for his ‘outstanding contribution to Poland and world culture, for creative and artistic achievements. Stefano Contini, Gallery owner, and friend described Mitoraj as, “one of the finest men nature ever gave us, beautiful inside and out. Many of his sculptures bear his own likeness, his gentleness.”

Igor Mitoraj. London, UK

Igor Mitoraj. Florence, Italty