Angels fall from Heaven – Mitoraj

Pisa Piazza of Miracles

I walk through the archway and wham! I am blown away by how magnificent these buildings are, their splendour glistening on the velvet lawn. I am at Pisa.



I have been here so many times, but never on a cold winter Saturday with so few tourists and the line of trashy souvenir kiosks relegated (at least for the moment) to outside the wall. We had come to see the “Angels” exhibition by Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj in the Piazza of MiraclesAngel Mitoraj

Angel by Mitoraj




The powerful bronze body of Icarus melts into the lawn behind the Tower as if resting from his fall.

I am awed by the Baptistery such an ice cream cake, the lavish Cathedral and the famous Tower, and so appropriate for Angels to be in their midst. A pity that Mitoraj passed away last October, although as he spent much of his time in Italy I am sure he was honored at being the first contemporary artist to exhibit in the grounds and legendary monuments of Pisa. The introduction reads ‘The presence of the “Angels” has a symbolic significance, which is that of finding a minimum of serenity and peace’ and we hope Mitoraj has found his own serenity and peace.

Leaning Tower PisaAfter  a quick Tai chi pose to hold the Tower up, alongside the other tourists having a giggle, we were off to explore the exhibition.

Frescoe drawings



Part of the exhibition was in the Sinopite Museum where the preparatory drafts (sinopites) for the Monumental Cemetery frescoes gave a delicate background to Mitoraj’s dramatic faces of sleeping gods, or evocative Angels poised on their flight to freedom.

Sleeping Osiride Mitoraj sculpture Mitoraj Angels

The remaining statues, paintings, and swathed faces were on display in the Cathedral Museum, enveloped in its rich burgundy walls and décor that truly enhanced the heroic Angels, gilded in paintings and intensified the radiance of their marble hands and feet.

Marble hands

Classic AngelsTwo Angels  adorned the chapel coyly glancing at each other, their  poses and pared limbs a reference to classical sculptures, just perfect for this location.


Mitoraj works are not unknown to places of worship with several marble sculptures in the Vatican museum and the monumental bronze doors on the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri in Rome.

I first came across one of his Angels in the main square of Greve in Chianti, a rather bold statue in front of the Council offices, which always creates a talking point.Greve in Chianti piazza
.Mitoraj statue Greve




And another fallen Angel on my visit to the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, Sicily.

Temple Agrigento

Valley of the Temples





The Angels exhibition in Pisa is still on until April 2015 in case you are over this way, or you are sure to come across Mitoraj‘s statues elsewhere  on your travels



4 thoughts on “Angels fall from Heaven – Mitoraj

  1. Heh Sue – that was interesting. I didn’t realise that the sculpture from Agrigento was a work from such a well known artist. I think you’re now officially an art blogger.

    • Wow I’m flattered Vicki….what else do you do on a cold winter’s day. We also saw the Modigliani exhibition, one of my favourite artists but no photos allowed, hence no blog! Enjoy Australia Day

  2. Hello Sue
    This comment comes a long time since you posted your pic and commentary on Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj. After seeing his Fallen Angel in Pisa last Fall (2018) I’ve become a fan. One question escapes me even after my online searches for answers: what is/who is the significance of the small sculpted heads in a number of his works, most pointedly, the one in Pisa? I’d love to hear from you about this.

  3. Hi Gayla,
    I don’t think I can answer that. As far as I know Mitoraj portrays many of his sculptures with severed heads or limbs, to denounce the destruction of the sculptures of antiquity. Giovanna Uzzano wrote a lovely article about the exhibition which you have probably seen (
    I was entranced by his fallen Angel in the Valley of the Temples! Let me know if you discover something more

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