Roberto Scardella is a Rome based sculptor who is best known for his vibrant bronze horses. We met with him in Frascati, in the hills of Rome, where one of his bronze horses stands in the main piazza.
Roberto, tell us about how you came to art.
When I was very young at school I remember being asked to write the alphabet on the board, and I cried. Fortunately, the teacher seemed to understand, and asked me what I wanted to do, and I said, to draw. I got 10 for that drawing of grapes, and never looked back. I was unsuited to traditional education, but insisted on taking a classics direction to be with my friends. That has stood me in good stead in life as I support my art by teaching both art and Latin. Teaching for me is the promotion of creativity and freedom.
At the end of school, I had to make a choice and architecture seemed to be the best direction to support my on-going passion for drawing and to allow creativity. I now realise that my memory was always in images not sounds or concepts, so beauty was in me.
How did you become interested in sculpture – and bronze horses?
By coincidence, I was doing a favour to a friend by teaching maths to the daughter of an artisan who had a foundry. She noticed a plasticine horse, that I had moulded, sitting on the desk. She said ‘Why don’t you do it in bronze?’ She took me to meet her father, and I immediately fell in love with bronze sculpture. That was the beginning of my life with bronze horses and with metal sculpture.
In what way has architecture still influenced your work?
I am still an architect. My favourite architectural periods are the classical Greek, medieval and neo-classical. Greek architecture has body and soul. The Greeks would choose a natural site and create their theatre or temple in balance with nature. The Romans just built their megoliths anywhere – like a modern day mall.
I also love baroque architecture as it attempts to reproduce nature. Incidentally, Frank Lloyd Wright was inspired by the architecture of Umbria and his Fallingwater house in Pennsylvania was based on organic design.
And love of baroque has led to your latest functional creations?
Yes, I wanted to create sculpture that people could use, and I wanted to instill the fantasy of baroque in functional pieces. The pieces that comprise DesaRteS are the result. In these I have attempted to create functional table and home sets based on organic forms – similar to the baroque influence.
And where do you go next?
From bronze horses, maybe back to mythology.