Giacomo Serpotta: The Great Italian Sculptor

Born in the Kalsa district in 1656, Giacomo Serpotta would be the middle child of 3 sons. Giuseppe and Gaspare Serpotta (along wih Antonina Travaglia) are his brothers.

For many generations, the Serpotta family have been among the best baroque artists in all of Sicily. His father (Gaspare) and grandfather (Giacomo) were both famous sculptors and marble workers.

giacomo serpotta

Even at the age of 21, Giacomo would be recognized for his architectural decorations from stucco. He would showcase these talents in 1677, decorating the Madonna dell’tria in Monreale church.

He would adorn many churches over the course of the following 50 years both in Palermo and throughout Sicily (Alcamo and Agrigento).

If you follow the Vucciria District tour, you will see many of the important works of Giacomo Serpotta.

The sculptures that he would create were primarily done using stucco techniques, which is a mixture of both plaster and lime.

He would revolutionize this age-old concoction with something he called “shine”. This was a final layer of stucco/marble dust which would provide a little more whiteness and overall shine to creations.

Serpotta was likely ahead of his time with the talents that he had. His work greatly mirrors Roman Baroque sculptures, yet even these showcase an unmistakable mark of his masterful hand. Each shape is sinous and elongated, making each creation a lasting work of art.


Don Tano Bongiorno

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About Don Tano

I’m full-blooded Sicilian born from the noise of the Vucciria market and the gentle sound of the waves of Mondello. I grew up eating “pane e panelle” and “pasta con le sarde”. But most of all, I grew up with an awareness: Palermo is a beautiful city to live intensely and to love without question!

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