About the Artwork

Of Saints and Sailors originated from a transatlantic journey on a cargo ship carrying wood pulp from Uruguay to the Netherlands, where the artist joined a fraternity of 19 Filipino men who lived at sea. Through intimate daily sittings, Pietromarchi modelled busts of the sailors in clay.

Pedestals adorned with chains and engines of the sea yoke the men like barnacles, evidence of the hermetic world they inhabit. Their heads sit on top of weather-beaten machines of industry. The busts represent individual souls and a single collective existence in a sealed universe, a society of men whose work is invisible to the world and whose lives are shared only with each other. They are evocations of the time the artist shared with these men, and poems about the act of labour shared by artist and worker alike.

Year: 2016

Courtesy the artist and Josh Lilley, London Photo © Nick Turpin


metal, fired Uruguayan clay, mixed media


168 x 100 x 100 cm each

Artist Biography

Benedetto Pietromarchi

Benedetto Pietromarchi (b. Rome, 1972) studied classical sculpture at the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Carrara, Italy, and at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. During his early education he had the opportunity to work with Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle at the monumental Garden of Tarot in Tuscany, a formative period where he learned welding. Pietromarchi was based for 15 years in London, before moving to Berlin and ultimately setting up his studio practice in Rome. He has been represented by Josh Lilley since 2009, the same year he was awarded the Kenneth Armitage Foundation’s Fellowship, and has appeared in group and solo exhibitions around the world.