ROME — Sculptor Giacomo Manzu, a leading Italian artist who gained fame as the creator of the bronze doors at St. Peter's Basilica and other churches, has died at 82.
Manzu died at his home in a Rome suburb of heart failure Thursday night, said his secretary.
Born in the northern city of Bergamo, one of 12 children of a shoemaker, Manzu never received any formal artistic training and used to say that his artistic impulse sprang from his blood.
He became famous for his realistic sculptures of religious subjects and his revival of an ancient tradition of sculpting bronze doors for churches.
Manzu was a close friend of Pope John XXIII, whose origins were also humble and lay in the same area of Italy.
Although he was commissioned to do the doors for St. Peter's in 1950, the work was only completed in the early '60s after much prodding from Pope John. The doors were dedicated in 1964, a year after the Pope's death.
Among his other commissions were doors for the Salzburg Cathedral, the Church of Sankt-Laurents in Rotterdam and a relief of "Mother and Child" for New York's Rockefeller Center.
Manzu is survived by his wife and two children.