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Valerio Terraroli

(b Ligornetto, Ticino, May 3, 1820; d Mendrisio, Ticino, Oct 3, 1891).

Swiss sculptor. He worked first in Besazio and Viggiù as an apprentice doing rough carving, then in Milan at the cathedral workshops as a stone-dresser. While in Milan he attended the Accademia di Brera and also worked in the studio of Benedetto Cacciatori (1794–1871). Like many of his generation of sculptors, Vela was early on in his career profoundly impressed by the works of Lorenzo Bartolini, especially the Trust in God (marble, 1836; Milan, Mus. Poldi Pezzoli). The influence of this statue of a kneeling, nude girl is evident in Vela’s Morning Prayer (Milan, priv. col.). This work, commissioned in 1846 by Conte Giulio Litta, is a clear tribute to the purist tendency of Milanese sculpture during the 1840s.

In 1847 Vela went to Rome, where he associated with Adamo Tadolini, Pietro Tenerani and Giovanni Dupré. The naturalism prevalent in this circle induced him to address new themes with a new plastic vigour, as in his statue of ...