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Vincenzo Vela

Sculptor (* 3.5.1820 Ligornetto/TI † 3.10.1891 Ligornetto/TI)

Vincenzo Vela was above all a great artist and unquestionably one of the best sculptors of the mid-nineteenth century. Politically committed, he was a determined idealist who was little inclined to compromise. Spending his life on both sides of the Italian-Swiss border, he was highly skilled in weaving valuable connections with the anti-Austrian aristocratic circles while also being considerate of the needs of the less fortunate of his fellow-citizens. But he was also a victim of history and the changed post-unification political situation, which obliged him to return to Ticino – a condition that renders him more modern to our eyes.

Generous though not entirely disinterested, he made an extraordinary gift to the Swiss federation of the magnificent house-museum and its superb collections through the will of his son Spartaco. Today, the site remains a powerfully engaging place where, in the words of one of its visitors, “history is at rest”.

The son of Giuseppe Vela and Teresa Casanova, while still a child he was apprenticed to a stonemason. Around 1834 he joined his brother Lorenzo, a sculptor of decorations, in Milan, where he continued his apprenticeship as a stonemason working on the Cathedral. Having enrolled at the Brera Academy in 1835 he immediately attracted attention at the competitions for the various disciplines. He completed his training as a sculptor in the studio of Benedetto Cacciatori (1793-1871).

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Museo Vincenzo Vela
Casella Postale 8
Largo Vela
6853 Ligornetto - Switzerland
T +41 58 481 30 44/40
T +41 58 481 30 40
F +41 91 647 32 41
E E-Mail

Further information

Federal Department of Home Affairs FDHA - Swiss Federal Office of Culture FOC