A 78-year-old Italian sculptor who always dreamed of building a boat is realizing that wish with a whimsical spin. His giant “floating artworks” are magical masterpieces that defy belief when they take to the water.
Sculptor Livio De Marchi of Venice, Italy, has been making art for the city in which he was born and raised for decades. In an interview with The Epoch Times, De Marchi said that his goal is to give a “message of irony and joy.”
“I think we need that right now,” he said, as translated from Italian. “When I feel sad or joyful emotions inside, I express them by carving or painting with irony and joy.
“I started when I was 12. I hope to go on. I really want to give a lot more.”
De Marchi, whose sculptures range from the shapes of cars, instruments, shoes, to many more, felt compelled to offer hope in the troubled, dark times of the pandemic, and designed a giant floating violin.
His vision: to send it down the Grand Canal in Venice with a string quartet on deck. Twelve meters long, four meters wide, and rendered in amazing detail, “Noah’s Violin” is a homage to Venetian musical history with a twinkle in its eye.
On Sept. 18, the giant violin took its maiden voyage, with musicians on deck playing Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” to an enraptured public audience. The performance was designed to encourage people to “start living again and rediscover the strength that is inside each of us,” reads a press release from Gallery Livio De Marchi.
“As a child, I learned [sculpture] in a workshop at school. Then I attended night school at the Art Institute,” the artist told The Epoch Times, adding that his study route was a “coincidence” as his mother was friends with his teacher’s mother.
“My mother was worried,” he said, “because instead of studying I was playing with wood.”
De Marchi’s first experiment with floating sculptures using marine engines occurred in 1985.
“Cappello Origami” (“Origami Hat”) led to “Scarpa Gigante” (“Giant Shoe”), “Colomba di Pace” (“Dove of Peace”), and his first rendition of a Jaguar car in the three years that followed.
Having worked with assistants in the past, De Marchi currently prefers to work alone.
Talking about the process of sculpting his floating artworks, he said: “First I get the idea, then I draw it, then I make it. I never control time. In all things there are always concerns—it’s important to believe, and move forward.
“For me, all sculptures are important, [yet] when the work is finished I don’t care so much because I think ahead to the new work.”
Many of De Marchi’s sculptures are now owned by museums, collectors, or galleries in Europe. He has showcased his work in Japan and the United States and used to run a gallery in Venice.
De Marchi firmly believes that we all have the power to realize our own potential as creators.
“To young artists, try to be true to yourself and achieve the great gift that you have sought within yourself,” he advises. “Little by little, you will see the light of your path.”