Pizzoli Cell, 1905-1910
Gallery connected to the Sixth Cloister, west wing
The marble group made by Pasquale Rizzoli (1871-1953) for the Pizzoli family is an Art Nouveau masterpiece, known as the Spirit of Fire or Allegory of Phosphorus.
It is a beautiful male nude, reminiscent of Michelangelo's Prisoners, wrapped in an intricate play of pomegranate branches, gazing with satisfaction at the flames that emanate from its own feet.
It is the confident look of one who does not fear the fire, knowing that it is subject to his command.
The various objects in the scene are rich in symbolic meanings, like the matchboxes, a tinder box with flint and an unusual wheel. On top of the monument is the bust of the son of Gaspare Pizzoli, the patron, known for promoting the use of phosphorus to manufacture matches.