Angelo Bragalini (1913-1994) sculptor, goldsmith, decorator, painter and designer

Born in Fidenza and raised in Bologna, Angelo Bragalini pursued studies in architecture, fine and applied arts in Rome, Venice and Firenze. He studied sculpture with master sculptor Tomba Cleto, and was a student of other well-known Italian artists, including Del Debbio and Moretti. His talent and passion for sculpture were quickly recognized and would win him illustrious commissions throughout his career. Asides from his more classically-based mastery of sculpture and graphics, Bragalini learned metalworking and goldsmithing, combining his understanding of design and form together with his technical skills to widen his expressive range. Working with a spectrum of materials, and utilizing techniques such as metal inlay and etching, Bragalini drew from diverse influences – modernist, renaissance, Etruscan, neoprimitive – creating furnishings and decorative pieces that made a unique mark in the Italian modern canon.

By the 1950s Bragalini was renowned as both artist and designer. Among his commissions were the decorative wood and glass panels for the halls of the great Italian ocean liner, the Andrea Doria, which tragically sank in1956. He created decorative works for Elizabeth Arden in Paris; La Roche in Switzerland; Cinzano, Martini & Rossi, Ferragamo, Borsalino, and Barilla in Italy, as well as sculptural figures for the Rome Hilton, and furnishings for Egyptian King Faruq’s yacht. Possibly Bragalini’s most legendary admirer was film director Federico Fellini, who commissioned the artist to create some thirty sculptures and set pieces for such iconic films as 8 1/2 (1963) and Juliet of the Spirits (1965). Bragalini also made a terracotta sculpture of famous Italian actress Monica Vitti. He even created jeweled gold works for the Vatican in the 1960s. Bronzes, bas reliefs, mirrors, jewelry – the multifaceted artist knew few limitations. His honors included first prizes for goldsmithing in Firenze, and for decorative glass in San Remo. As famous as his work was among the cognoscenti, Bragalini himself continued working without fanfare, predominantly out of Bologna for most of career. He died there in 1994.

Bologna Museum of Modern Art

Galleria Cavour, Bologna, 2011