Raffaele Riva was born in Milan, Italy, on April 15th, 1876. Raffaele Riva who is most well-known for his Sphinx statues on Piazza Sempione in Milan and at the ‘Pantheon’ of Rome. He also co-founded the ‘Scuola di Arti Decorative’. Raffaele’s style can be described as neo-baroque with hints of realism. This style is notable and recognizable by its use of dramatic curves, breadth, and fluidity in design. His sculptures typically depict females as figures clad in draped garments that reveal their curves and muscles with a combination of strength and sensuality.

His Achievements

Raffaele was born on April 15th in 1876

Beginning with his apprenticeship under the sculptor Giuseppe Merlo, Raffaele Riva began developing his style. He would acquire further training in sculpture and design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Milan alongside fellow sculptors Roberto Bignasca and Camillo Boito. In 1905 he met Gio Batta Boccioli, a sculptor working on a project for the erotica theatre “La Torre d’Ottavia” project, who would introduce Raffaele to eroticism in sculpture. In 1910 he would begin work on his first monumental sculpture, ‘Venere e Marte’ (Venus and Mars), for the Milanese architect Franco Albini. This piece would become Raffaele’s trademark design. In 1913 he would co-found the “Scuola di Arti Decorative” of which he became the principal in 1919, combining his work as a professor with his career as an artist. In 1914 Raffaele Riva would begin work on his most celebrated piece, the “Sphinx,” at Piazza Sempione in Milan. In 1915 he would create further monumental works for the municipality of Milan: a monument to Pope Urbano VIII and an equestrian statue of Francesco I d’Este (a reproduction of a Baroque original by Carlo Marocchi). Raffaele Riva also designed three more sphinxes for Bologna, Ferrara, and Genoa. In 1917 he began working in Tokyo, Japan designing sculptures for the “Royal Art Garden” (the Ryoanji Temple).


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