Ottorino Mancioli was born in Rome on 26 April 1908 into an upper-middle class family. He studied the humanities and graduated in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” in 1932.
He was equally divided between his life as a doctor and his career as an artist, painter, draughtsman and writer on medical and sports topics. He developed a taste for drawing early on and acquired a strikingly sensitive touch. Thanks to his keen powers of observation, he soon became capable of reproducing reality so as to describe both his own life and that of others, faithful to the saying nullo die sine linea (“never a day without drawing a line”). While Ottorino Macioli always paid close attention to the stylistic trends of Futurism, Art Deco and Rationalism, his works sprung from a unique individual drive.
Starting from the 1930s, he participated in important international as well as national exhibitions (Olympic Competition and Exhibition of Art, Museum of History, Science and Art, Los Angeles 1932; III Mostra della Gioventù Fascista Romana, Aranciera di Villa Umberto, Rome 1933; XXXIV Esposizione Sociale “Amici dell’Arte”, Palazzo del Valentino, Turin 1933; Mostra di disegni del Sindacato Interprovinciale Fascista Belle Arti, Circolo delle Arti e delle Lettere, Rome 1935; I Mostra Nazionale d’Arte sportiva, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, 1936; Olympischer Kunstwettewerb, Der Olympischen Kunstausstellung, in Halle VI des Ausstellungs-Gelandes am Kaiserdamm, Berlin-Charlottenburg, Berlin 1936; II Mostra Nazionale d’Arte ispirata allo Sport, Mercati Traianei, Rome 1940; I Mostra degli Artisti italiani in armi, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome 1942; III Mostra d’Arte ispirata allo Sport, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome 1948).
During the war he served as a medical officer in the Folgore Brigade and was decorated with a silver medal for valour. Wounded at El Alamein, his arm remained paralysed for two years.
In the aftermath of the war he embarked on new aesthetic pursuits by collaborating with various magazines and newspapers. Here he published drawings which he often submitted along with articles, thus combining the roles of physician and sportsman. He illustrated books and successfully took part in a number of exhibitions, including some abroad (II Bienal Internacional del Deporte en Bellas Artes, Palacio del Retiro, Madrid 1969; III Bienal Internacional del Deporte en Bellas Artes, Reales Atarazanas, Barcelona 1971). He held two solo exhibitions (Perugia, Hotel Brufani, 1957; Ancona, Panathlon Club, 1958) and published a monograph (Giuochi sportivi, 1976), featuring forewords by Gianni Brera and Libero de Libero. The latter in the same year also edited a volume devoted to Mancioli as part of the Libretti di Mal’Aria series.
Ottorino Mancioli carefully studied the problems connected to sports medicine and on a figurative-artistic level succeeded in portraying those sublime moments in which the human body appears to transcend the laws of gravity and attain a harmonious balance between strength and beauty. The artist’s perfect anatomical knowledge, which he had absorbed through his medicine studies and later first-hand experience, enabled him to convey all the dynamism of single instants. In the latter half of his life, Mancioli created art that betrays greater maturity and awareness: his attainment of technical perfection in the rendering of athletic gestures gave him enough leverage to explore the level of emotions, in search for analogies with human experience. In the 1960s he also stated executing sculptures, using various techniques and materials. Among Mancioli’s last works we find a wall painting measuring approximately 70 metres in length and 2 meters in height. Located in the old Parioli Tennis Club in Viale Tiziano in Rome, it is devoted to great Italian sportsman from the 20th century. Ottorino Mancioli suddenly passed away on 21 March 1990 in his family summer home.
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