Arts & Entertainment

Jago: viral sculptor on mission to rediscover art of contemplation

By Gonzalo Sanchez

Rome, Apr 25 (EFE).- Before becoming a viral phenomenon, hyper-realist sculptor Jago carved river stones to produce his pieces, which have now taken social media by storm.

Jago, alias Jacopo Cardillo (Frosinone, 1987), is often compared to Michelangelo due to his take on classical sculpture.

His pieces carved in marble analyze life in all its facets, and his techniques create detailed and precise representations of the human body and mundane objects.

Jago stood out at the 2009 Venice Biennale with a shirtless and fragile bust of pope Benedict XVI which soon did the rounds on social media.

“The product and communication are the same, (social) networks are the work of art. That piece has been seen live by a hundred people, on the internet, by millions,” Jago tells Efe.

The Italian speaks with the firmness of someone who has earned his success, although the path to recognition has not been easy.

He was drawn to sculpture as a child during visits to Rome with his parents. Jago joined the Academy of Fine Arts but left in 2010 before finishing his degree.

In the early days, Jago had no money for materials and would source them in a Tuscan river. He keeps one of his early works on display in his bedroom as a reminder of the tough times.

“Maybe today there are those who find it poetic, but in reality there was a need,” he continues. “Every difficulty is an opportunity to learn.”

Jago believes that art should “produce tangible results,” that either the artist or world can benefit from.


That is why he has taken over the deconsecrated church of Sant’Aspreno ai Crociferi, in the Sanità neighborhood of Naples.

The former church will be reopening as a museum as part of a project that aims to redevelop an area mired by crime.

It was here that Jago created Pietà, one of his most famous pieces, which depicts a mourning father holding his dead son in his arms.

Veiled Son, another haunting sculpture of a child covered by a thin sheet, inspired by Giuseppe Sanmartino’s Veiled Christ (1753), is displayed in the nearby temple of San Severo Extramuros.

“This means helping the territory because that way everyone wins,” he adds.


Social media has been the key to Jago’s success as an artist.

It all started when aged 18 he was on an internship on the Greek island of Naxos. When his scholarship funds failed to arrive, he started working in a restaurant.

Related Articles

Back to top button