- Born in Pietrasanta, Lucca, Italy in 1903
- Died in Pietrasanta, Lucca, Italy in 1965
- Nationality: Italian
- website: http://www.leonetommasi.it
After leaving the Fine Arts School of Pietrasanta (1918-1921), he attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, where he met Angelo Zanelli: a meeting that contributed significantly to his formation. He moved to Milan where he graduated in 1926 under Achille Alberti from the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera and won the “Level I Competition” for the Pensionato Artistico Nazionale, which was not awarded that year for political reasons.
After returning to Pietrasanta in 1927, he married Carolina Ferroni and had four children with her. He taught at the “Stagio Stagi” Art Institute for twenty years and created his works in his studio, although he also availed himself of the Bovecchi, Henraux, Lapis, Cav. Ferdinando Palla, Santoli and Rovai, Battista Vannucci and Emilio Buratti laboratories, as well as the Antonio Castaman and Paolo Favret laboratories for his mosaics. Naturally, he also used the Laboratory and Foundry of his son Luigi Tommasi. He called on additional skilled workforce when receiving large commissions: for example, during the thirties he was commissioned to make five large statues in a week so he called Urbano Buratti and Guido Bresciani to work with him in his studio.
He seldom left Versilia, only for business travel, such as the journey to Argentina in 1950-1954 for the “monumental sculptures of the Social Aid Building”, the “Monument to Eva Peron” project, the monumental complex at the Descamisado and the “Portrait of Cardinal Copello”.
He led an intentionally isolated life, keeping away from official art which he did not approve of. For this reason, he rarely took part in exhibitions. Among these, the group exhibition “Artisti Versiliesi a Seravezza” in 1936 and “Mostra del Fiorino” at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence (1962 and 1965), the city where a posthumous exhibition was staged at the Academy of Drawing Arts, displaying the many plaster casts preserved at the Maquettes Museum of Pietrasanta.
He was highly renowned for his religious and commemorative creations, especially thanks to his marble and bronze works found throughout the world, such as: “Saint John the Baptist”, bronze, Adelaide Cathedral, Australia; “high-relief, marble, Altar of St. Anne, Scherbrute Cathedral, United States; “Monument to Simón Bolívar”, Santa Marta, Colombia; “San Giovanni Evangelista”, marble, Messina Cathedral; “torie di Sant’Agata”, bas-reliefs, Catania Cathedral; “Monumento Podestà”, Staglieno Cemetery, Genoa; “War Memorial”, San Fili; “Baptismal Font”, Chiesa della Madonna, Livorno (1921).
Among his works preserved in Versilia: “six sculptures”, marble, facade, Chiesa di San Paolino, Viareggio; cycle of “bas-reliefs”, bronze, altarpiece, Cappella della Madonna del Sole, Duomo, Pietrasanta; “Madonna del Cavatore”, Tacca Bianca, Monte Altissimo (1946); “Crocifisso, Chiesa del Sacro Cuore di Gesù, Fiumetto, Marina di Pietrasanta; “S. Pellegrino e Madonna della Neve”, bronze, Chiesa di Minazzana; “Self-portrait”, bronze, Azzano (1974).
A number of posthumous exhibitions held in the Apuan-Versilian area were dedicated to him – “I Tommasi”, Palazzo Mediceo, Seravezza (1983); “Leone Tommasi/1903-1965”, “L. Russo” Cultural Centre, Pietrasanta (1986) – and his works were displayed in various shows, such as: “La Versilia e il marmo”, “L. Russo” Cultural Centre, Pietrasanta (winner, 1997); “Il passato e la presenza”, II ed., “L. Russo” Cultural Centre, Pietrasanta (1983); “La veste del vuoto”, Pietrasanta (1993); “100 years of the National Sculpture Society of the USA in Italy”, Palazzo Mediceo, Seravezza (1994); “Omaggio dell’arte alla Vergine Maria”, Convento S. Francesco, Pietrasanta (2000); “Pittura e realtà, 1900-1999”, Musei Civici, Villa Paolina Bonaparte, Viareggio (2008).