Depicted in the act of crushing snakes with the Cup of the Holy Grail, Wildt’s Parsifal is inspired by Wagner’s legendary hero and combines Mannerist elements with others typical of Baroque sculpture. Commissioned by the banker Leo Goldschmied for his villa on Lake Como in 1930, the work was intended to be six meters tall and be reflected in a pond in the garden. Financial difficulties prevented the completion of the casting but did not keep the impressive work from being presented at the 1931 Rome Quadrennial of National Art, where it was received with no little criticism.
After Wildt’s death, the large plaster model returned to Milan, where it was destroyed by bombing in 1943. Only the head, the hands, and a small stone mode with the left hand raised were saved and donated by the heirs to Ca’ Pesaro. Two bronzes in the work’s original size were later cast, one for the purchaser, one for the sculptor. One now belongs to the Italian Environmental Fund (FAI), the other is part of the Carraro Collection.
Adolfo Wildt 1868-1931, Arnoldo Mondadori Arte, Milan 1989, exhibition catalogue (Venice, Ca’ Pesaro, December 8, 1989 – March 4, 1990), pages 177- 178; Elena Pontiggia (editor), Adolfo Wildt e i suoi allievi: Fontana, Melotti, Broggini e gli altri, Skira, Milan 2000, exhibition catalogue (Brescia, Palazzo Martinengo, January 23 – April 25, 2000), pages 122-123; Paola Mola (editor), Wildt. L’anima e le forme, Silvana Editrice, Cinisello Balsamo 2012, exhibition catalogue (Forlì, Musei San Domenico, January 28 - June 7, 2012), pages 250-253 (with previous references); Adolfo Wildt. Le dernier symboliste, Skira, Paris 2015, exhibition catalogue (Paris, Musée de l’Orangerie, April 15 – July 13, 2015, Milan, Galleria d’arte moderna, October 30, 2015 – January 30, 2016), fact sheet by Ophélie Ferlier, pages 188-191 (with previous references).