A SCULPTOR, A FRIEND, A POET OF FORM
The day the Vicariate of Rome commissioned Guido Sotriffer to produce a Calvary for St. Igino, a church we had designed, marked the start of a genuine, stimulating collaboration for us. He was the only artist who understood the significance sculptural work should have in an architectonic context. It was promptly agreed that the Calvary project would consist of a single continuous panel 16 metres long and 1 metre high and would tell the Gospel story not in separate stations but as a "continuum" starting with Pilate washing his hands and ending with the deposition in the sepulchre. Guido resolved this "continuum" with his special gift for lending dynamic movement to sculpted masses and volumes, so that they rise, fall and then settle. The dominant motif is the deformed cross, weighty in the fall of Christ, inspired and light in the crucifixion. The rough surfaces, sometimes peaked like mountains, collaborate to lend meaning to everything that happens, avoiding the facile piety so often seen instead. Having no faith in the allure of technique, he set his sights on constructing a sculptural language of strong, poetic expressiveness. Everyone who sees this work senses and absorbs its underlying pathos, especially evident at midday when sunlight from the top of the nave illuminates it. At the church's dedication, Pope John Paul II congratulated Guido enthusiastically in an emotional scene the artist would long cherish.
Our collaboration then continued at the new Chiesa SS di San Vincenzo Pallotti in the Pietralata quarter. In the Last Supper panel in the Cappella del SS, Guido resolved the theme of the Holy Ghost poetically, having it reach out to the Madonna and the faithful through the flame. The mass of the characters moves in the meeting of these two entities, the sacred and the profane, and this dualism is overcome by the perfect equilibrium of the moving volumes and the balanced proportioning of light and shadow, which Guido knew so well how to control. In the same church, on the side wall leading to the entry to the font, Guido made the Calvary rise up out of the wall itself. The characters are like the faithful witnessing the passion and death and stand out in a powerful composition of outstanding plasticity and density.
Throughout all these projects, Guido conveyed great enthusiasm, and was always ready to lend a hand with the mounting and take up the scalpel for the finishing touches, with his typical air of simplicity, determination and sureness which earned the devoted respect of all of us.
That is how we remember Guido, in the spirit which lives on in his works as an artist, an incorruptible man and a kind friend to the depths of his soul.