Contemporary Sculpture | Sculpture Artist | MARTON VARO

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New sculpture installed at East Naples intersection

New sculpture installed at East Naples intersection

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. – A new sculpture was installed at a busy East Naples intersection as Collier County’s first-ever public art piece/

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Márton Váró Bids Farewell to Ave Maria

Márton Váró Bids Farewell to Ave Maria

For two years, the sight of Márton Váró at work was almost as familiar to residents of Ave Maria as the town’s well-known oratory, on whose façade Mr. Varo’s marble sculpture of The Annunciation now rests.

Now, with the sculpture in place, Mr. Varo is back at his home in Irvine, California, beginning new projects at his studio on the campus of the Irvine branch of the University of California.

There will be a period of readjustment, Mr. Váró told The Ave Herald before leaving for the west coast.

“I have devoted my whole life for the last three years to the project,” he said, adding, “This project probably has been the happiest time of my career.

marton3Mr. Varo worked seven days a week, carving the 70-ton, 35-foot-high sculpture entirely by himself, first working on individual blocks on the Ave Maria University Mall and then on a lift after the delicate task of mounting the sculpture over the oratory’s entrance was completed. “I couldn’t wait to start work each day,” he said. Right, Mr. Váró holds the first chip from the first block of marble he began carving, which became the face of Mary.

He hopes to return to Ave Maria in the future, where he said he made many friends and received “strong spiritual support from the whole community” as well as outstanding technical support from professionals like AMU’s construction director, Skip Doyle, whom Mr. Varo called a “technical magician.”

“Skip’s technical resourcefulness came through when some major engineering firms proved not to be up to the task of mounting the sculpture on the oratory,” Mr. Varo said.

side2angels1aBefore leaving, Mr. Varo completed 1:5 scale models of the archangels Michael and Raphael which would flank The Annunciation on the sides of the oratory if donors underwrite the cost. Right, the models of the angels and, far right, a digital rendering of what they might look like when mounted on the oratory.

At age 68, however, he said, “I have little time left to pull together other projects.”

The first of those projects, he said, likely will be a set of marble cubes similar in style to those he carved for the campus of Texas Christian University. (below)

cubes1As for what else the future holds, he said he’s ever optimistic.

“My whole life philosophy is to be really positive. You have to be positive when you’re facing a big block of stone from which you will pull out something.”

Ave Maria unveils sculpture from Michelangelo’s quarry

Ave Maria unveils sculpture from Michelangelo’s quarry

AVE MARIA – A parish church has unveiled a relief of the Virgin Mary that was carved from marble mined in an Italian quarry used by Michelangelo.

Hundreds gathered for the unveiling Friday at the Ave Maria Oratory east of Naples. The 120-ton sculpture consists of several pieces and depicts the Annunciation, when the archangel Gabriel told Mary she was with child.

The relief is embedded above the entrance to the oratory, which serves the Roman Catholic “quasi-parish” of Ave Maria. Ave Maria is a planned community whose centerpiece is Ave Maria University.

The $3 million Annunciation project was paid for with private donations through the Ave Maria Foundation.

Sculptor Marton Varo spent nearly three years on the relief, working in marble from the quarry used for Michelangelo’s Pieta and David sculptures.

Varo carved five of the smaller pieces in Italy while larger stones, some more than 7 feet tall, were carved at Ave Maria.

The sculpture was blessed by Bishop Frank Dewane of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Venice.

54-ton statue of Virgin Mary unveiled in Fla.

54-ton statue of Virgin Mary unveiled in Fla.

AVE MARIA, Fla. — A southwest Florida university has unveiled a 54-ton sculpture of the Virgin Mary.

Hundreds gathered at Ave Maria University for the unveiling Friday. It took the sculptor two years to carve the 35-foot-tall, 31-foot-wide sculpture.

He started with an 80-ton block of marble that came from the same quarry Michelangelo used for the Pieta and David sculptures.

The sculpture was blessed by Bishop Frank Dewane of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Venice.

Ave Maria delights in a true work of art

Ave Maria delights in a true work of art

“We started talking about the facade (of the Oratory) in 2006,” said Jane Healy, who founded Ave Maria’s Friends of the Arts, now incorporated as the Foundation for the Arts.

As guests of the planned 5,000-acre, 11,000-household self-contained community filled rows of folding chairs around her, Healy remarked, “what a fabulous thing this is to see after all these years.”

The sculpture, called The Annunciation, was created by Romanian Marton Varo, who uses classical Greek and modern approaches to stone sculpture. His works are in private collections and museums worldwide.

He created The Annunciation from 15 blocks of Carrara marble from the quarries of the Italian city of that name. The original block of marble weighed more than 80 tons.

Varo worked for two years on the rendering of the Virgin Mary and the Archangel Gabriel, depicted at the moment he tells her that, with her consent, she will be the mother of Jesus. There are four base pieces under the statue where donor names will eventually be engraved.

Bishop Frank. J. Dewane of the Diocese of Venice was on hand to bless the sculpture, which is 35 feet high and 31 feet wide.

Healy’s husband, Nicholas J. Healy, was president of the university until his replacement Thursday by Jim Towey.