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Around Calton Hill

Point A - Paolozzi Statues

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Location: Picardy Place, in front of St. Mary’s Catholic Cathedral.

“The Foot”. Part of “The Manuscript of Monte Cassino”.

Sir Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi (1924 in Leith/Edinburgh – 2005 in London) was a Scottish artist, known for his sculpture and graphic works, and one of the pioneers of pop art. His parents were among the Italian immigrants who settled in Edinburgh in the early 20th century, bringing Italian food and culture to the city (including Valvona & Crolla!).

Growing up in the 1930s, Paolozzi’s youth was marked by the war and his two nationalities. He was sent to fascist youth camps in Italy by his parents, and he and his father were interned as enemy aliens after Italy entered the war in 1940. His parents’ ice-cream parlour in Leith, like many other Italian businesses, was looted. Paolozzi’s father and grandfather were deported to Canada and died when their ship, the SS Arandora Star was torpedoed by a German U boat. Paolozzi himself was drafted into the British army.

“The Hand”. Part of “The Manuscript of Monte Cassino”.

In 1991, he gifted his statues, “The Manuscript of Monte Cassino“, to his home town of Edinburgh where they are looking towards his birthplace, Albert Street in Leith. Monte Cassino was the home town of his grandparents; its abbey and with it lots of medieval manuscripts were destroyed by Allied bombs in 1940. The statues feature disembodied body parts, bringing to mind the horrors of war.

Edinburgh Beer Factory honouring Paolozzi

Paolozzi studied at Edinburgh College of Art and the Slade School in London and then went to Paris to meet and learn from European and international artiest – among them Alberto Giacometti and Georges Braque.
You can see a recreation of Paolozzi’s studio at Modern Art Two.

He also worked and taught in Germany for many years and was particularly fond of Munich – the Edinburgh Beer Factory has named its Munich style beer after him!

Here you can listen to more about Paolozzi’s life.

Walk up Leith Street for about 350 metres until you reach the junction of Leith Street and Waterloo Place/Princes Street. Turn left along Waterloo Place and walk about 100 metres. The Leopold Arch is on your right.

Picture credit: Stuart Baillie Strong, Edinburgh4Europe