Antonio Pacitti

Alfonso Pacitti

12 Aug, 2013 10:52 am

Antonio Pacitti was a multi-talented artist; a painter, water colourist, sculptor, muralist and potter. He combined the religious influences of his infancy in Italy with the recurring theme of social injustice that he found during his Gorbals childhood.

He was also a much-loved art teacher, a linguist, and a gifted amateur musician and composer on the violin, mandolin, piano and accordion.

His paintings, drawings and sculptures, some of which are now in the British Museum, were often biblically inspired. He frequently portrayed Christ’s Passion, the Nativity or the Madonna with Child, using images and colours he recalled from his early life near the famous Montecassino monastery. In his later years, his work became increasingly political, often centred on his quest for equality, justice and human rights.

At the age of 80, he produced a series of drawings under the heading ‘Guantanamo’. The exhibition at the Aquarium Gallery in London, along with accompanying poems written by his wife, demonstrated how the US detentions were as degrading to the guards as to the prisoners.

Antonio Pacitti was born in Cassino to Vincenzo Pacitti and Filomena Ciccarelli. Vincenzo already had had family in Glasgow so when he was forced to leave by the Fascists over his union activities, he brought young Antonio and another son to Clydeside.

His home in the Gorbals was a hotbed of left-wing activity as his father, a regular political speaker on Glasgow Green, invited like-minded friends, including refugees from the Spanish Civil War. Young Pacitti’s only break from the grind was when he visited an aunt’s ice-cream shop in Uddingston and helped her sell her wares from his bicycle.

While attending Holyrood Senior Secondary School in Crosshill, he was awarded the Gold Medal for Drawing at the age of 16; before winning a place at the Glasgow School of Art. Once settled in London after the war, he taught art at various colleges, as well as to inmates at Wormwood Scrubs prison.

The photograph is taken from his own website here and the detail of his life sourced from a number of obituaries written on his death.