IN THE KNOW: Francesco Monti
Italian sculptor Francesco Riccardo Monti stayed in the Philippines from 1930 until his death in 1958. During his stay, he worked with local architects and sculptors on major projects commissioned by the government and private individuals.
According to a monograph by University of the Philippines (UP) History of Art professor Ma. Victoria Herrera, among Monti’s major architectural collaborations were with architects Juan Arellano, National Artist Pablo Antonio, Jose Zaragoza and Conrado de Leon.
Monti collaborated with Arellano on the Metropolitan Theater in Manila, the Iloilo City Municipal Hall (now the UP-Iloilo City campus) and the Meralco Head Office in Manila.
The Meralco head office, designed by Arellano in 1936, featured Monti’s relief sculptures called “The Furies.”
Monti’s other collaborations were with Antonio, whom he worked with on the administration building of Far Eastern University; and with Zaragoza on various religious projects, including a collection of sculptures for Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon City.
House of Precast, which De Leon founded, produced most of Monti’s works in concrete. The company also houses a significant collection of Monti’s works.
Several of Monti’s sculptures are part of Metro Manila’s landmarks. His statues can be seen in front of public buildings or plazas, while his relief work decorate many exterior and interior walls in heritage buildings.
Apart from collaborating with local architects, Monti also taught sculpture at the University of Santo Tomas (UST). His works can still be seen atop the main building of the UST.
Other public Monti sculptures include a sculpture of a woman and a carabao in Bacolod City and one at the Bureau of Animal Industry in Quezon City. Inquirer Research
Sources: Inquirer Archives