ROME — Pericle Fazzini, the sculptor whose monumental statue "The Resurrection" is the backdrop for Pope John Paul II's weekly general audiences, died Friday at the age of 74.
The sculptor, a native of Grottammare on the eastern Italian coast, began his career as an exponent of the Roman school of the 1930s. His early wooden pieces, characterized by their simple style, led to the stark later figures, which he fashioned almost exclusively in metal, particularly bronze.
The Vatican commissioned Fazzini to provide a work for its modern auditorium. The result was "The Resurrection," a statue depicting Christ rising from a nuclear bomb crater.
"Suddenly there came to me the idea of Christ preaching peace for 2,000 years, and the place where he prayed for the last time: the olive grove of Gethsemane," said Fazzini in a book about the work.
"The Resurrection" is molded in red bronze and yellow brass and measures 66 feet by 23 feet by 10 feet. It was unveiled by Pope Paul VI in 1977 and dominates the stage of the Vatican hall.
Fazzini is survived by his wife, Anita, and a daughter.