10 Facts About Antony Gormley

Anthony Gormley's 2010 sculpture, Exposure. A sculpture of a human figure, crouched and hugging its knees, constructed using stainless steel struts. Image © Herman Verheij, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons / Exposure © Antony Gormley 2010
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Antony Gormley, a celebrated British sculptor, has gained widespread recognition for his expansive body of work, predominately consisting of large-scale installations situated in site-specific public spaces. In his formative years, Gormley was exposed to Catholicism through his attendance at a boarding school, which played a significant role in shaping his upbringing. As an artist, one of Gormley’s remarkable talents lies in his capacity to transcend the specificities of Catholic devotional practices and imbue his works with a universal quality. This ability to tap into the devotional impulses inherent in Catholicism continues to influence and inform his artistic perspective and approach. Below are 10 facts about the artist:

 A picture of artist Antony Gormley standing in front of one of his works. He is wearing a white t-shirt and smiling at the camera.Image © Xavier Hufkens / Antony Gormley
1.

Gormley was born in London

Antony Mark David Gormley was born on August 30, 1950, in London, England. In interviews, Gormley stated that his parents chose his initials “AMDG” as an acronym for Ad maiorem Dei gloriam – “to the greater glory of God.”


Night view of the Backs of Trinity College, Cambridge with the sculpture Free Object by Antony Gormley in January 2018.Image: Cmglee, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons / Free Object © Antony Gormley 2017
2.

Gormley is well educated

Gormley studied archaeology, anthropology, and the history of art at Trinity College, Cambridge, before moving on to study at Central Saint Martins and the Slade School of Fine Art. These universities provide rigorous curricula, which have undoubtedly shaped his approach to his art.

Domain by Antony Gormley - MyArtBrokerDomain © Antony Gormley 2005
3.

Gormley has an interest in spirituality

Before pursuing an art career, Gormley travelled and studied Buddhism in India and Sri Lanka. He has referred to this time as crucial in his decision to become an artist upon his return to the United Kingdom.

Untitled by Antony Gormley - MyArtBrokerUntitled © Antony Gormley 1985
4.

He views the body as a place, not an object

Gormley's work predominantly explores the human body and its relationship to space, often using his own body as a template for his sculptures.

Antony Gormley's installation Fields for the British Isles: A depiction of over 40,000 uniquely shaped terracotta figures arranged in a field.Fields for the British Isles © Antony Gormley 1994
5.

His work Angel of the North is seen by an estimated 33 million people each year

One of Gormley's most infamous works is Angel of the North, a large-scale steel sculpture in Gateshead, England. The work was completed in 1998 and stands 20 metres tall with a wingspan of 54 metres, and its close proximity to Highway A1 guarantees a vast number of viewers each year.

An image of Antony Gormley's installation Clearing VII: A complex arrangement of intertwined metal loops forming a spacious web-like structure that can be traversed by people.Clearing VII © Antony Gormley 2019
6.

He was awarded the Turner Prize in 1994

Gormley was awarded the prestigious Turner Prize in 1994 for his work Field for the British Isles, a large-scale installation comprising over 40,000 small terracotta figures.

A print by Antony Gormley, depicting a figure touching its shadow with a stick. Both figures are in gradients of black and grey against a white background.The Origin Of Drawing III © Antony Gormley 2008
7.

He has been called Britain’s most famous sculptor

Gormley is hugely influential in the British contemporary art world and is widely considered the most famous sculptor in the national arts scene.

 A black and white photographic portrait of Antony Gormley, from the waist down.Image: Biggyre, CC 4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
8.

He has been the subject of several major international exhibitions at renowned museums

Gormley's work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums worldwide, including the Tate Gallery in London, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He is one of the most widely recognised living British artists.

9.

During the 2020 pandemic, he taught a print-making masterclass on the BBC

During lockdowns caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Gormley made a film for the BBC series, Get Creative at Home, in which he talked the audience through all the necessary steps to create one of his prints.

10.

He was awarded a knighthood in 2014

In addition to the Turner Prize, Gormley received numerous accolades, including an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 1997. In the 2014 New Year's Honours, he received a knighthood for his services to the arts.

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