Katherina Minardo, Sculptor



28 MAY TO 28 AUGUST, 1983

By 1982 Katherina had been carving major stone works for years. During a visit to London a chance conversation with noted oriental art dealer, Martyn Gregory, lead to Katherina’s applying to exhibit at the subsequent Royal Academy Summer Exhibition of 1983. At the time, each proposed entrant could submit three works to the selection committee. All three of Katherina’s submissions were accepted — which was considered remarkable.

These three works, carved in Montreal, were then flown to London, and to appear for the three months’ duration of the Summer Exhibition.

However, on the day before the official opening a team from the BBC filmed a number of the works displayed, and selected one of Katherina’s as their choice for Best in Show. While this was of course a signal honour, during filming a cameraman backed into the pedestal, toppling both it and the head to the floor. Given the weight of the work, the impact caused considerable damage. The Royal Academy immediately arranged for the affected area — the lower quadrant — to be restored by the leading specialist at the Victoria & Albert Museum. This restorer was then in process of creating a hand-carved duplicate of Michelangelo’s famous Taddei Tondo.

This commission is a story in itself: the Tondo was being created on instruction of the Royal Academy as part of an agreement with the Getty Museum to provide an exact copy for the Getty collection, as of course Britain would never part with the original.

A consolation prize of sorts was bestowed on Katherina when she was invited by the Director of the Royal Academy to meet the restorer in his studio and to view his work on the Tondo. With both new and original Michelangelo versions in his workshop, she was able to examine it closely and actually touch the arm of the baby Jesus in this work of the great master!

Here is a link to the 1983 Summer Exhibition catalogue.

Regretfully, future submissions by Katherina in subsequent years were not selected by the Academy.

A pity indeed that that the relationship with this institution could not develop over the years.

Type: Group