Cleto Tomba


Cleto Tomba born in Bologna in 1898. In 1917 he graduated in sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts (Bologna). A few days later he was enlisted into the army until 1920. After his military service he devoted himself completely to art: first in his country, Castel San Pietro Terme, and then in Bologna, forced by economic conditions in a very wretched life. Occasionally he taught at the Academy. He participated at Venice Biennale. Later, his interests began to focus on small figures: his “figures” in polychrome terracotta that at one point became a choice almost exclusively. His exhibitions, since1930, were all of statuettes (small figures). His sculptures are the portrait of the people daily life, poor and rich.

In 1937 he won the competition for the chair of Figure and Modeled Ornate at the Art School of Bologna. This economic stability opened the period of his artistic maturity. In 1957, Enzo Biagi and other friends convinced him to held a personal exhibition at Gussoni Gallery in Milan. It was a success. The following year, Tomba modeled the bronze doors for the Monte di Bologna, his best known public works. From 1968 to 1976 Tomba devoted himself mostly to some relief, often of sacred subject. Only before his death he began again to model small figures with a new fervor.