Alfredo Battistini

Alfredo Battistini was born in Uznach, Switzerland on 8 August 1953. His parents Alearda di Traglia and Alfredo Battistini originated from San Piero in Bagno and Sarsina in the Romagna, Italy.

On 26 December 1971 he boxed in the support fight to Muhammad Ali’s match with Juergen Blin at the Hallenstadion in Zurich. He became Swiss Light Heavyweight Boxing Champion in 1976. As a disabled athlete he later won five World Championships, two European Championships and twenty five Swiss weightlifting titles. He won three bronze medals at 1988 Summer Paralympics in Seoul and 1992 Summer Paralympics in Barcelona. He won gold and silver medals at the World Championships in Stoke Mandeville, England and Sydney, Australia. His record performance was a lift of two hundred and twenty kilos.

His first apprenticeship was as a bricklayer. In 1976 he moved to Paris to work as an assistant to the fashion photographer Lothar Schmid. He also completed a qualification as a stonemason in Rapperswil, his Swiss hometown. He also took an apprenticeship as a sports masseur to study human anatomy. He went on to work for Hans Joerg Limbach, studying as the distinguished sculptor's sole student.

In 1979, he won a place at the Art Academy in Paris. On 27 May of that year, he was paralyzed in a car accident and was restricted to a wheel chair thereafter. He overcame this setback to devote himself to his art and sport, the later an important part of his rehabilitation. A philanthropist with a strong sense of justice for the weak and disadvantaged, in 2004 he received an award for his achievements at The Paraplegic Centre in Switzerland as Paraplegic of the Year.

His love and passion was art and sculpting. He began his early works after a year long study trip through Chile including visits to the Art College in Santiago. In 1983, with the support of Guido A. Zaech, he presented his first exhibition in Bottmingen near Basle. Those works show the inspiration he derived from both Hans Joerg Limbach and Auguste Rodin, and above all the master, Michelangelo himself. His sculptures and choice of material, bronze and marble, reveal his iron will coupled with both sensitivity and vulnerability. His achievement is recognised by many public and sporting works including a piece in honour of the Circus Knie at the entrance to Rapperswil or the trophy for the Stuttgart Open Tennis Championship which was received by Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Thomas Muster and Petr Korda. Alfredo Battistini died unexpectedly on 17 March 2008 due to heart failure in his home town St. Gallenkappel at the peak of his career. He was only 54 years old.

In 2009 Alfredo Battistini's sculpture "La Creazione", an homage to Michelangelo's creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel in Rome, was installed in the "Museo Michelangiolesco". This museum is located next to the master's birthplace in the town of Caprese Michelangelo, Tuscany. Michelangelo Buonarroti was born there on 6 March 1475.