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Sgarlata, Filippo T.locked

(b Tunisia, Nov 24, 1901; d Lisbon, Sept 15, 1979).
  • Stephen K. Scher

Italian medallist and sculptor. He was trained at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Palermo (1918–19), and in Rome, at the Accademia di Belle Arti (1920–25) and at the Scuola d’Arte della Medaglia (1920–23). He taught sculpture at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Palermo from 1938 and was often honoured for his accomplishments. For a long period he worked in the USA, where he had individual exhibitions in New York, Boston, Baltimore and Chicago. His work was always included in any important exhibition of medals both in Italy and abroad and is to be found in Italian museums and private collections. The designs of his medals were often based on V-shaped compositions. The modelling is broad, the relief fairly high, and the surfaces range from highly finished to rough. It is evident that Sgarlata often drew inspiration from his Quattrocento predecessors, although his pieces are generally of a very large size, sometimes exceeding 200 mm: for example a medal depicting a man attacking a boar (1934; Rome, Presidenza Min. and Budapest, N. Mus.) is based on Pisanello’s famous reverse of a medal of Alfonso I of Naples (see Hill, no. 42). A similar medal (1961), which does not refer to a prior model, shows a man about to slay an evil-looking two-headed bird intended to represent the eagle of Austria and commemorating the 100th anniversary of the unification of Italy. Sgarlata also executed statues in churches and piazzas of Palermo, where in 1961 he modelled the great bronze door of the Cathedral. In 1968 he produced one of his most dramatic pieces, in reference to an earthquake in Sicily.


  • G. F. Hill: Corpus (1930)
  • V. Johnson: ‘Ritratti di medaglisti contemporanei’, Velia Johnson: Dieci Anni di Studi di Medaglistica, 1968–78 (Milan, 1979), pp. 373–4
  • A. Grecco di Bianca: Filippo Sgarlata, medaglista e scultore (Palermo, 1981)