Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, various

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (1924-2005)

John Smith, Bronze.

John Smith (1938 -1994) was elected leader of the Labour party in 1992 and held the post until his death in May 1994. This bust of John Smith by the renowned Scots-Italian artist Sir Eduardo Paolozzi is on loan to the Scottish Parliament from Sir Angus Grossart. Grossart was both a contemporary of John Smith at Glasgow University and friend and patron to the artist.

The bronze on display is one of six casts, the original cast was commissioned by the House of Commons and another was gifted by Baroness Smith to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in 1999.

John Smith Bronze






















For Charles Rennie Mackintosh, 1975, 6 woodcuts.

Lead Cameron

Ard King Las

Erosand Dresser



For the Four

On a visit to Germany, Paolozzi discovered a plate in a book called Kosmos c. 1920, which illustrated an artist's impression of organ music. Paolozzi later referred to this image as one he drew on endlessly, giving him the confidence to realise this series of wood prints dedicated to Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1929). The linear and abstract forms in these prints are inspired by music. To view the woodcuts visit Browse the Collection

Artist Biography

Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi was the oldest child of a Scots Italian mother and an Italian father. He attended Edinburgh College of Art in 1943 and then after some military service in the Pioneer Corps, attended St Martin’s School of Art, London, and the Slade School of Fine Art. During a summer in Paris as a young artist, he met sculptors Constantin Brancusi and Alberto Giacometti among others. With the start of Italy’s entry to the war, his life was radically changed. His father, grandfather and uncle were taken away by police and the ship taking them to internment in Canada, the SS Arandora Star, was torpedoed; all three men were drowned. Paolozzi himself was interned in Saughton Prison for three months.

 Surrealism was an early influence for him, and the in 1950s he started to explore popular culture, becoming a leading practitioner of Pop Art. A persistent theme throughout the artist’s work, whether in sculpture, collage, or print-making, was the relationship between man and machine.

 Paolozzi is perhaps best known as a sculptor. He had a strong belief that art could be a shared experience and this is reflected in the number of public commissions that he undertook. His sculpture Manuscript of Monte Cassino is situated in Picardy Place near the top of Leith Walk. This work consists of an enormous foot, ankle and open hand all bordered by the text of the manuscript. The text, owned by the Abbey at Monte Cassino, recalls the hospitality and peace that the weary traveller can find with the Brothers. His The Wealth of Nations is also composed of body parts and was commissioned by the Royal Bank of Scotland. It is titled after the Scottish economist Adam Smith and bears a quotation to the effect that knowledge is good but imagination is greater.The Dean Gallery, National Galleries of Scotland, in Edinburgh now houses the collection of his works and contents of his studio that were gifted to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in 1999. The huge sculpture Vulcan, 1998-9, is a centrepiece of the Dean Gallery.

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