An opening reception today inaugurates a pair of 13-foot-high statues by Italian architect and designer Antonio Pio Saracino standing in New York’s Bryant Park.
The sculptures, one in marble and the other in polished stainless steel, are called “The Guardians: Hero and Superhero,” and are a gift from Italy to the United States, donated by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Embassy of Italy, Washington, D.C. and the Consulate General of Italy, New York, with the support of the energy company Eni.
The Hero is an homage to Michelangelo’s David. Saracino explains, "I was asked by the Italian Embassy to look at Michelangelo’s David for inspiration. Clearly such a momentous reference was daunting. Yet I was so proud to be able to create a symbol that could represent a gift from my native Italy to New York that I accepted the extraordinary challenge. I wanted to create two symbolic protectors of New York City that celebrate the superhuman and the inspiration that it communicates. The two anthropomorphic layered architectural constructions show the universal ability of mankind to cement its own presence in the world with its perennial construction skills."
The statues are positioned at the north and south ends of the public plaza at 1095 Avenue of the Americas at Bryant Park between 41st and 42nd Streets.
The artwork is part of the Year of Italian Culture in the U.S. initiative, but will remain on view indefinitely.
37-year-old Saracino, who was born in Puglia, has designed buildings, monuments and modern furniture.