Canova and his Legacy TOMASSO BROTHERS FINE ART
Canova and his Legacy
Canova and his Legacy
Canova and his Legacy TOMASSO BROTHERS FINE ART
pau l h o l b e rt o n p u b l i s h i n g
c ata lo g u e w r i t t e n b y Elliot Davies and Emanuela Tarizzo w i t h c o n t r i but i o n s b y Stefano Grandesso p h ot o g r a p h s b y Doug Currie produced by Paul Holberton publishing printed by e-Graphic Spa, Verona Copyright ÂŠ 2017 Tomasso Brothers Fine Art
tomasso brothers fine art Bardon Hall, Weetwood Lane, Leeds, ls16 8hj Tel. +44 (0) 113 275 5545 Marquis House, 67 Jermyn Street, London, sw1y 6ny Tel. +44 (0) 20 7839 9394 email@example.com www.tomassobrothers.co.uk
In this beloved marble view Above the works and thoughts of Man What Nature could but would not, do, And Beauty and Canova can! Beyond Imagination’s power Beyond the Bard’s defeated art, With Immortality her dower, Behold the Helen of the heart. Lord Byron, ‘On the bust of Helen by Canova’ (November 1816)
by the late eighteenth century, the sculptures that survived from ancient Greece and Rome had long been admired. For many ambitious young sculptors, works such as the Apollo Belvedere, the Hercules Farnese and the Medici Venus were established as the standard to which to aspire. Indeed, throughout the history of their appreciation, a number of sculptors endeavoured to make work in various all’antica styles, as a direct attempt to measure their skills against these revered examples. Yet no sculptor before Canova created such an extensive body of work which could so convincingly be argued as having equalled the best of antiquity. The fame that Canova and his sculptures enjoyed within the master’s own lifetime rivalled that of any other artist, and his work had an immeasurable impact on the aspiring young sculptors who flocked to Rome, then the most important artistic centre in Europe. Among his most well-known and committed disciples are those artists included in this exhibition, Antonio d’Este (1755–1837), Cincinnato Baruzzi (1796–1878), John Gibson (1790–1866) and Richard James Wyatt (1795–1850). My brother Raffaello and I have, over the years, been fortunate enough also to own works by those who represent some of their most important contemporaries, Berthel Thorvaldsen (1797–1838), Johan Tobias Sergel (1740–1814), John Flaxman (1755–1826) and Thomas Banks (1735–1805). These sculptors represent Canova’s legacy and all went on to forge their own, distinct idiom based on the master’s style, producing work that simultaneously satisfied and inspired the dreams and desires of their many patrons across Europe, to live among collections of exquisite, Neoclassical sculpture. dino tomasso
a n t o n i o d ’ e s t e (1754–1837), workshop of Herm of Antonio Canova (1754–1837)
r i c h a r d ja m e s w yat t (1795–1850) Nymph entering the Bath
d o m e n i c o c a r d e l l i (1767–1797) Bust of Prince Francis Xavier of Saxony (1730–1806), c. 1795
r i na l d o r i na l d i (1793–1873) Ulysses recognized by Argus
g i o va n n i g i u s e p p e a l b e rt o n i (1806–1887) The Madonna and Child, with the Infant Saint John the Baptist
j o h n g i b s o n r a (1791–1866) The ‘Williams-Wynn’ Cupid, drawing his Bow, 1826
j o h n g i b s o n r a (1791–1866) Antigone discovered over the Dead Body of her Brother Polyneices
a n t o n i o c a n o va (1757–1822) Cast by v i n c e n zo m a l p i e r i Paris and Helen, 1812
c av. c i n c i n nat o ba ru z z i (1796–1878) Baccante Cimbalista, 1837
a n t o i n e - d e n i s c h au d et (1763–1810), attributed to Herm portrait bust of Napoleon, c. 1807–14
p i et r o t e n e r a n i (1789–1869) Psyche Abandoned, c. 1820
s a m u e l j o s e p h (1791–1850) Bust of Lieutenant-General Sir Herbert Taylor (1775–1839)
a n t o n i o c a n o va (1757–1822) Character Head, c. 1780
j o h n p h i l i p (p o p e ) dav i s r ba (1784–1862) Portrait of Bertel Thorvaldsen (1789–1838), 1824–26
b e rt e l t h o rva l d s e n (1770–1840) Cupid with his Bow (Amorino), 1826–28
lo r e n zo ba rt o l i n i (1777–1850), attributed to Bust Portrait of a Man, early 19th century
r i c h a r d ja m e s w yat t (1795–1850) Nymph entering the Bath
c av. c i n c i n nat o ba ru z z i (1796–1878) Bust of a Muse, c. 1820
s i r f r a n c i s c h a n t r e y r a (1781–1841) Bust Portrait of Alexander Knox (1757–1831), before 1832, perhaps c. 1821
b e n e d et t o b o s c h et t i (active from c. 1820) after a n t o n i o c a n o va Hebe
a n t o n i o d ’ e s t e (1754–1837), workshop of Herm of Antonio Canova (1754–1837) White marble 55 cm (21 ½ in.) high 32 cm (12 ½ in.) wide
b o r n i n bu r a n o , an island of the Venetian lagoon, in 1754, Antonio d’Este first met Antonio Canova (1757–1822) in 1768–69, when both were apprentices in the studio of the Venetian sculptor Giuseppe Bernardi. This encounter was the starting point of a life-long friendship, as recounted by d’Este himself in his Memorie di Antonio Canova, published posthumously in 1864. A talented sculptor, d’Este studied in Venice at the Accademia di Pittura e di Scultura, and lived in the Serenissima until 1777, when he joined the newly established Roman studio of Giovanni Ferrari, another disciple of Bernardi. Disagreements with Ferrari soon led d’Este to move to the atelier of Massimiliano Trombetta and, subsequently, to that of Francesco Massimiliano Laboureur, until, in 1787, he opened his own studio, close to the church of Sant’Ignazio in Venice. Thanks to Canova, d’Este obtained the commission for a statue after the Apollo Belvedere for the King of Poland, and around the same period he began working as a restorer for the Vatican collections and other prominent patrons. On a visit to London in 1815 Canova would note, in the collection of Thomas Hope, an Apollo and Hyacinth “restored by d’Este” (Bassano, Biblioteca civica, Mss. Canoviani 6089). Between May and July 1792 d’Este and Canova travelled across the Veneto region, where they met Count Daniele degli Oddi, whose portrait was the first commission of the kind d’Este received. The herm portrait of Canova followed soon afterwards, in 1795, when d’Este was working both independently and in his friend’s studio. That year he oversaw the installation of Canova’s Venus and Adonis group in the residence of the Marchese Berio in Naples (Villa La Grange, Geneva), accepted on behalf of the master a commission for a Hercules and Lichas from Prince Onorato Gaetani d’Aragona (Galleria nazionale d’arte moderna, Rome), and was ordered by the Venetian Senate to co-ordinate the casting of a medal celebrating Canova’s Emo Monument (now Museo Storico Navale, Venice). The present herm is therefore testimony to a highly significant year for d’Este, in which a most fruitful collaboration with Canova started to take shape. By 1799 our artist had officially relinquished his studio, dedicating himself fully to his role as director and administrator of Canova’s, a position which he held with relish and dedication. One of d’Este duties was to select blocks of Carrara marble for the master, which suggests Canova had complete faith in his friend’s judgement.
In 1802, when Pope Pius VII named Canova Inspector General of Antiquities and the Fine Arts for the Papal States – including the prestigious Vatican Museums, Capitoline Museums and Accademia di San Luca – the sculptor entrusted the Museo Chiaramonti (the pontiff ’s collection of hundreds of ancient busts and statues) to d’Este and his sons Alessandro and Giuseppe. The following year our artist executed a monument in memory of Cardinal Carlo Rezzonico (San Giovanni in Laterano, Rome) and a relief, after Canova’s design, representing the blessed Gregorio Barbarigo giving alms to the poor (San Marco, Rome). In 1807 d’Este worked alongside Canova on the archaeological excavations at the Via Appia in Rome, and was officially named Curator of the Vatican Museums, of which he would later become Director. A flurry of appointments soon followed, including honorary member of the Accademia in Venice (1808) and of the Accademia di San Luca in Rome (1810); member of the commission examining the Farnese antiquities inherited by the King of Naples (1811) and of the advisory committee controlling the export of works of art from the Papal States (1816); honorary member of the Roman Academy of Archaeology in Rome and of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara (1817); member of the Accademia dell’Arcadia under the name ‘Euforbo’ (1829) and, finally, honorary member of the Academy of Letters, Sciences and Economics of the Tiberina Valley in Tuscany (1830). D’Este died seven years later, a well-respected member of the artistic and intellectual establishment, and was buried in the Roman church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli. Throughout his years in Canova’s studio d’Este had also fulfilled a steady flow of independent portrait commissions, for which he received extensive praise from his contemporaries. Already in 1796 the collector Faustino Tadini had observed that d’Este was capable of “retaining the physiognomy and the beauty of his subjects, eliminating any unpleasantness and coarseness nature had left in them”. Similarly, Canova remarked that “Antonio d’Este’s portraiture honours his name”. Notable examples include the portrait of the artist and art dealer Giovanni Volpato (Gipsoteca, Possagno), the busts of Baron and Baroness Daru (Musée Fabre, Montpellier), a Self-portrait (Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice) and a series of portraits of illustrious artists for the Roman church of the Pantheon, commissioned by Canova in 1815 (moved in 1820 to the Protomoteca Capitolina, Rome).
The plaster for the present herm is today in the Palazzo della Cancelleria, Rome, whilst the original marble was treasured by the sculptor and passed on to his heirs. As remarked by Tadini, d’Este was capable of fusing realism and idealization in his portraits, creating likenesses at once human and heroic. The herm format, of classical inspiration, endows the composition with hieratic quality, yet Canova’s parted lips and arched brows create an impression of individuality and motion, further suggested by his lined forehead and ruffled hair. This bust was engraved, in profile, by Pietro Fontana as the frontispiece for Tadini’s Le sculture e le pitture di Antonio Canova pubblicate fino a quest’anno 1795 (Venice, 1796). Another portrait of Canova by d’Este, in modern robes, is preserved in the Tempio Canoviano at Possagno. D’Este’s literary memoir of his friend Canova, a precious insight into the man and his studio practice, was begun shortly after the master’s death in 1822. One of the reasons that had led d’Este to this enterprise was the publication in 1824 of Missirini’s Della vita di Antonio Canova, which painted a portrait of the master rather different from the man d’Este had known. With his biography, d’Este proposed to draw in writing, after having done so many times in marble, the true portrait of his friend. Memorie di Antonio Canova was published in Florence in 1864 by his nephew Alessandro d’Este.
related literature P. Mariuz, ‘d’Este, Antonio’, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, vol. 39, Rome, 1991
r i c h a r d ja m e s w yat t (1795–1850) Nymph entering the Bath White marble 152.5 cm (60 in.) high 50 cm (19 ¾ in.) wide 60 cm (23 ½ in.) deep signed R.J. WYATT. Fecit/ROMA (on the base) provenance Aladar Zellinger de Balkany (1900–1983) and by descent to Robert de Balkany
d u r i n g a v i s i t to London in 1815, Antonio Canova was introduced by the painter Sir Thomas Lawrence to a promising young sculptor named Richard James Wyatt, a descendant of the Wyatt dynasty of architects, made most famous by James Wyatt (1746–1813), a rival of Robert Adam. The son of Edward Wyatt (1757–1833), a successful carver and gilder, Richard James entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1812 and three years later won the silver medal for the best model from life. The turning point in Wyatt’s career came in 1821, when he accepted Canova’s invitation to work in his studio in Rome. There he struck a close friendship with his fellow expatriate and apprentice John Gibson, who later remembered Wyatt as “an excellent judge of art” (Matthews 1911, p. 134), and “clever in composition and the harmony of lines. No sculptor in England has produced female statues to be compared to those by Wyatt” (Eastlake 1870, p. 130). In 1822, when Canova died, both Wyatt and Gibson briefly entered the workshop of the great Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770–1844), but soon decided to set up independently in studios opposite one another on via della Fontanella Barberini. The same year Wyatt was commissioned by the Duke of Devonshire to carve a marble figure of his plaster Musidora, a composition inspired by the 1730 poem The Seasons by James Thomson that was to enjoy significant popularity amongst Neoclassical sculptors. The finished work was delivered to Chatsworth in 1824, and by the end of the decade Wyatt’s ideal statues and groups were in considerable demand both in Rome and in Britain, where Wyatt exhibited annually at the Royal Academy from 1831 until his death in 1850. As Ingrid Roscoe has reported, “Wyatt was known for his extraordinarily long working hours. He rose early and breakfasted daily with Gibson at the Caffé Greco at 86, via Condotti, the haunt of writers, musicians and artists visiting the city. The two sculptors read the newspapers before walking on the Pincio and returning to their studios for a day’s work. Wyatt often remained in his studio until after midnight. In his early years he worked without assistants. Gibson noted that it was his habit to make a preliminary model which he put away for six or
more months, before assessing its potential. If it then pleased him he translated it to a small plaster model and then to a full-size plaster model with scale-marks to guide the marble-carver. Even at the end of his career, when he was in high demand, he finished his works himself, unlike many of his contemporaries who left all the marble carving to assistants” (Roscoe 2009, p. 1424). A true virtuoso carver, Wyatt was principally known for his statues of female figures, such as the present work and cat. no. 17, both featuring a nymph. His treatment of this subject followed mainly two variants, Nymph entering the Bath and Nymph coming out of the Bath. A version of the former, closely related to our composition, is in the Detroit Institute of Art. As our marble exemplifies, Wyatt was a master of soft, highly finished modelling paired with careful observation of anatomy and movement. The nymph’s supple skin is beautifully rendered through the marble’s lustrous surface, whist details such as her knuckles and the folds of her drapery are picked out by Wyatt’s chisel with remarkable bravura. His figures often appear caught in moments of reflection or hesitation, their gestures betraying their thoughts. Thus our nymph’s foot gently dipping in the water and her hand holding on to the otherwise discarded robe anticipate her actions and add to the psychological and anatomical realism of the scene. Nymph entering the Bath enjoyed great success amongst Wyatt’s contemporaries and received widespread praise, as exemplified by a commentary by the critic Filippo Gerardi, published in the influential art magazine Il Tiberino in 1834: The Nymph by our sculptor, who is life-size and hardly seems to have reached the age of fifteen, is fully naked, only a towel, that she holds with her left hand, covers the parts that shame asks to cover, and without which she, in her action, somewhat resembles the Venus de Medici. related literature F. Gerardi, ‘Scoltura, Sopra una Ninfa in atto d’entrare nel bagno, scolpita dal Sig. Riccardo Wyatt’, Il Tiberino, II, 1834, pl. 82 Lady E. Rigby Eastlake, Life of John Gibson R.A., Sculptor, London, 1870 T. Matthews, The Biography of John Gibson, R.A., Sculptor, Rome and London, 1911 I. Roscoe et al., A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain, 1660–1851, New Haven and London 2009
d o m e n i c o c a r d e l l i (1767–1797) Bust of Prince Francis Xavier of Saxony (1730–1806), c. 1795 White marble 75 cm (29 ½ in.) high p r o v e na n c e Probably Prince Francis Xavier of Saxony, Dresden; by descent to his daughter, Elisabeth Ursula Anna Cordula Xaveria, duchesse d’Esclignac (1768–1844); by descent to her daughter, Marie Charlotte Xaverine, Baroness von Weissenbach (1788–1858); by descent to her daughter, Johanna, Countess von Korff-Schmising Kerssenbrock (1829–1906); by descent to her daughter, Maria Xaverina Louisa, Baroness de Weichs de Wenne, Castle Geijsteren, Limburg (1854–1927); thence by family descent until 2014 exhibited On loan to Museum het Cuypershuis, Roermond, 1963–2014
d o m e n i c o c a r d e l l i was born on 1 March 1767 in the parish of San Lorenzo in Lucina in Rome to Lorenzo Cardelli, “intagliatore di marmi”, and Annunziata Borghese. As a youth, he soon displayed a remarkable talent in drawing and became a pupil of the painter, sculptor and engraver Giuseppe Cades (1750–1799). During his apprenticeship he also studied archaeology under the guidance of the Papal Prefect of Antiquities Ennio Quirino Visconti (1751–1818), the Danish diplomat, antiquarian and scholar Jörgen Zoëga (1755–1809) and Cardinal Stefano Borgia (1731–1804), the admired collector of ancient coins and manuscripts, whose museum Domenico assiduously visited. In 1783 Cardelli won the Accademia di San Luca’s ﬁrst prize for a painted copy of the Capitoline Antinous statue. His ﬁrst prominent documented commission appears to be a marble portrait bust of Baroness Maria de Cumano Schütter, lover of King Stanislaw Augustus II Poniatowski of Poland (1732–1798), signed and dated 1785 (Rome, Galleria Nazionale di Arte Antica, and a replica in Warsaw, Lazienki Palace). The following year the Baroness entrusted Cardelli with a portrait of the sovereign, based on a painting of him by Giovanni Battista Lampi. Shortly afterwards the bust reached Poland (now Warsaw, Lazienki Palace), much to the delight of the King, who named Cardelli court sculptor and ordered from him a portrait of his nephew. Commissions from other Polish patrons soon followed, including a funerary moment for Countess El˙zbieta Grabowska, recorded by Zoëga (1799), a bust of the King’s sister, Countess Konstancja Tyszkiewicz, initialled D.C. and dated 1792, now in the Trinity Chapel of Cracow Cathedral, and a bust of Countess Marceliny Worcellowej, now in the National Scientiﬁc Library of Ukraine, Lviv. Equally successful in his native Rome, in 1789 Cardelli won the ﬁrst prize for sculpture at the Accademia di San Luca with The Feast of Belshazzar, King of Babylon (terracotta, to this day in the Accademia’s collection, Rome).
Cardelli was therefore established as one of the most sought-after young sculptors in Rome, receiving commissions from, amongst others, members of the city’s flourishing community of foreign residents and visiting Grand Tourists. On 5 October 1793 Zoëga describes him thus in the news-sheet Minerva: “Canova currently has no rival in Rome. Apart from him I do not know anyone who can seriously create something good in sculpture, other than the English Flaxman and the young Roman Cardelli”. In 1793 Cardelli executed the tomb of Chiara Maria Spinucci, Countess of Lusatia (1741–1792), wife of Prince Francis Xavier of Saxony – the present sitter – for the cathedral of her native Fermo, Italy (see Römisches Jahrbuch, XII, 1969, p. 30, fig. 31). The work was engraved a year later by the Venetian Giovanni Folo. A bust of Countess Sophie Magdalene Knuth, née Moltke, as Diana soon followed, as did a bust of Danish author and literary salon doyenne Friederike Brun and, commissioned by the latter, a bust of Cardinal Borgia. Also of note is a marble portrait of Duke Raffaele Riario-Sforza now in the Museo Filangeri in Naples, a commission that most likely resulted from Cardelli’s connection with Prince Francis Xavier, whose daughter Beatrice the Duke married in 1794. In 1797 Cardelli was summoned to Naples to execute a monument for the Riario-Sforza family, but, having fallen gravely ill during the journey, died aged thirty. This untimely death certainly cut short a career that would have been most brilliant. In his account in the May 1799 Minerva, Zoëga – the earliest source on Cardelli’s activity and his de facto biographer – lists a series of works by the artist, not limited to portraiture, still untraced. These include a bas-relief depicting Castor and Pollux executed for Lord Bristol, and a relief of the same subject by Cardelli is recorded by Oreste Raggi in the Casino Nobile of the Torlonia family’s Villa Carolina at Castel Gandolfo, where the celebrated Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen worked some years later (see Kragelund and Nykjær 1991, pp. 70–72). This is particularly relevant to the topic of Cardelli’s inﬂuence on the young Thorvaldsen (the two had been introduced by Zoëga in the year of Domenico’s death), which has long been recognized by scholars. Cardelli thus emerges as a highly successful sculptor, especially in demand for his portrait busts, such as the present work. The sitter, Prince Francis Xavier of Saxony, was the second surviving son of Augustus III of Poland (1696–1763). From 1765 until 1768 he acted as Regent to his nephew, the infant Elector Frederick Augustus III of Saxony, performing in his name a formal renunciation of the Polish Crown in favour of Stanislaw Poniatowski (Cardelli’s patron), as was required by the treaty signed between Prussia and Russia on 11 April 1764. In the same period Francis Xavier secretly married Countess Maria Chiara Spinucci, former lady-in-waiting to his sister, the Dowager Electress Maria Antonia. The union was considered below his rank and only officialized some years later. After relinquishing his duties as Regent in 1768, the Prince moved his family to France – where in 1774 his younger sister’s son became King as Louis XVI (1754–1793) –
and lived there for twenty years under the assumed title of Count of Lusatia. The family ﬂed the country at the beginning of the French Revolution and moved to Rome. The Countess died there in 1792 and some years later Francis Xavier left the Eternal City to return to his native Saxony, where he died in 1806. Given the connection between the houses of the Prince of Saxony and the King of Poland, it is entirely possible that Cardelli’s fame ﬁrst reached Francis Xavier through members of the Polish court. The Prince must have certainly been aware of the sculptor’s work by 1792/93, when he commissioned from him his wife’s funerary monument for Fermo Cathedral, which was completed towards the end of 1793. In November of that year, Francis Xavier journeyed to Fermo for the Countess’s solemn burial. Interestingly, this occasion prompted another artistic commission, this time by the town’s authorities – the Priori – who wished to honour the princely couple (see Silvagni 1883, II, p. 228). Already in January 1793 they had asked their patron Cardinal Borgia, who had also been Cardelli’s mentor, to commission two portrait busts of Maria Chiara and Francis Xavier, to be exhibited in the Palazzo dei Priori’s main hall. A nineteenth-century document states that the Cardinal entrusted the work to “Monti e Albicini”, who
are presumably to be identiﬁed with the Roman sculptors Giovanni Monti and Carlo Albacini. Unfortunately, the bust of the Prince did not please the Priori, who decided to hide it in a cupboard throughout Francis Xavier’s stay in Fermo. They duly expressed their dissatisfaction to Borgia in a letter, noting the efﬁgy looked nothing like the Prince and was also remarkably disproportionate in comparison with his wife’s much better executed counterpart (for a full account of the Priori’s commission, see Catani 2002). The unfortunate pair of busts are to this day in Fermo, in the town’s Biblioteca, yet following the Priori’s complaints Cardinal Borgia may have decided to have another bust of the Prince carved, this time by an artist of unquestionable talent such as Cardelli, which the Priori must have refused to acquire, both because Francis Xavier would by then have left the town and because of ﬁnancial concerns (it appears the ﬁrst pair of busts had cost them a considerable sum of money). In other words, there is a possibility that the present bust was originally executed by Cardelli for the Priori of Fermo, but ultimately given to the Prince and his family instead, whose descendants treasured it for generations. Indeed the present bust perfectly represents the type of portrait that an aristocrat and statesman such as Francis Xavier would have appreciated, in the guise of a victorious Roman general yet with clearly recognizable facial features. There is no certainly mistaking the sitter’s identity, given the aquiline nose, strong brow and pursed lips, which appear prominently in the painted portrait of the Prince by Maurice Quentin de La Tour now in the Musée Antoine Lecuyer, St-Quentin. In addition to this, attribution of the present bust to Cardelli is conﬁrmed by its parallels with the sculptor’s oeuvre, for example the portrait of Stanislaw Poniatowski now in Warsaw, from the soft but crisp treatment of the marble to the all’antica armour, the dramatic swags of drapery over the left shoulder and the rigorous gaze. A fascinating rediscovery, the present bust is therefore a major addition to the oeuvre of one of the foremost interpreters of Roman Neoclassicism.
related literature J. Zoëga, in Minerva, May 1799, pp. 145–50 P. Zani, Enciclopedia metodica delle Belle Arti, I, 5, Parma, 1820, p. 304 D. Silvagni, La Corte e Società Romana nei secoli XVIII e XIX, Rome, 1883 J.B. Hartmann, Canova e Thorvaldsen, Rome, 1956, pp. 74–76 P. Kragelund and M. Nykjær, eds., Thorvaldsen: l’ambiente, l’influsso, il mito, Rome, 1991 E. Catani, ‘Note storico-artistiche sopra una coppia di busti marmorei raffiguranti il principe Francesco Saverio Augusto di Sassonia e la sua consorte la contessa Chiara Maria Rosa Spinucci di Fermo’, in Atti della 35. Tornata dello Studio Firmano per la storia dell’arte medica e della scienza: Fermo, 4-5-6 maggio 2001, Fermo, 2002, pp. 45–60
r i na l d o r i na l d i (1793–1873) Ulysses recognized by Argus White marble 104 cm (41 in.) high 51 cm (20 in.) long (base dimensions) 35 cm (13 ¾ in.) wide (base dimensions) s i g n e d R. Rinaldi f. (on the base) p r o v e na n c e Charles Hitchcock Tyler (1862–1931) estate, Beverly (MA), USA
a p r ot e g e o f Leopoldo Cicognara during his studies at the Accademia in Venice, Rinaldo Rinaldi arrived in Rome in 1815 thanks to a bursary from the Napoleonic Italian Kingdom. There he was welcomed by Canova, who guided him in the execution of his first works submitted for a grant from Venice, of The Boxer, which won the Canova Prize in 1816, and of The Education of Achilles, created as part of the ‘Tribute of the Venetian Provinces to the Emperor of Austria’ organized by Cicognara in the form of works by young artists presented alongside the Polyhymnia by Canova. Canova also designated Rinaldi, together with Adamo Tadolini, to head his studio after his death, a role that was ultimately entrusted to Cincinnato Baruzzi by the master’s heir, Abbot Giovanni Battista Sartori Canova. After an initial period of collaboration, which saw him engage in marble replicas of the Lions from the monument to Clement XIII for the Duke of Devonshire, Rinaldi eventually set up independently as a sculptor of historical and mythological subjects of international renown. Amongst these were his Three Dancing Figures and Cephalus and Procris, at present untraced, and, according to his biographer Pietrucci, he invented as many as three hundred compositions (see Pietrucci 1858, p. 230). The masterpieces created in the early nineteenth century by Antonio Canova and his rival Bertel Thorvaldsen in the heroic genre – at the time considered to be the highest form of statuary, given the difficulty involved in representing the ideal male nude, at rest or in dramatic tension – immediately became established models, on a par with classical ones. Canova’s Hercules and Lichas, with the sublime terror of its suspended movement, and his Perseus triumphant, an expression of the Apollinian ideal of male beauty, measure themselves against the celebrated ancient prototypes of the Hercules Farnese and the Apollo Belvedere. Thorvaldsen’s Jason and the Golden Fleece represents instead the Dane’s severe response to antiquity, inspired by the calm grandeur of Polycleitus’s Doryphorus. These works soon became the touchstone for a series of heroic statues and compositions by the sculptors working in cosmopolitan Rome during the post-Napoleonic Restoration, who were often the driving forces behind the artistic development
in their European and American homelands, exploring all possible thematic and compositional opportunities, yet pursuing their own originality within the tradition of classical inspiration. Exemplary of this context – where each artist was compelled to prove his ability to match the ancient or the great modern masters in the colossal or semi-colossal format – are Milo of Croton by Giuseppe De Fabris, Mars by Mathieu Kessels, Achilles and Penthesilea by Rudolf Schadow, Mars and Cupid by John Gibson, Nestor and Antilochus by Antonio Solá, Bellerophon killing the Chimera by Johann Nepomuk Schaller and the renditions of Achilles Wounded by Achille Albacini, Innocenzo Fraccaroli and Bengt Erland Fogelberg (on these see Grandesso 2006, p. 177). Amongst these Rinaldi’s Ulysses recognized by Argus stands out, and, from 1833 onwards, received considerable critical acclaim, as testified by the numerous descriptions of it published in the periodical press. The key to the critical success of the Ulysses and Argus group, published in Il Tiberino in 1833 (when still only in plaster) and in Il Progresso delle scienze the following year, engraved in 1835 in the Ape Italiana delle Belle Arti, and again in the Museo di Pittura e Scultura in 1841, rests with Rinaldi’s ability to express a literary subject through the formal exemplarity of the male nude, paired with the compositional tension suggested by the contrasting emotions portrayed. This sentimental and dramatic quality must have been central to a number of his works with literary roots, praised for this aspect by Pietrucci but currently untraced – Sappho singing Odes to Phaon, Cassandra embracing the Altar, Androcles removing a Thorn from the Lion’s Paw, Metabus hurling his Daughter Camilla to Safety. The present group’s poignant subject is drawn from Book XVII of Homer’s Odyssey, in which Ulysses, having returned to Ithaca disguised as a beggar, is about to cross the threshold of his palace when he is recognized by the ageing dog Argus. The tension that animates the male figure, evident in his changing posture, derives from the psychological contrast between Ulysses’s surprise and the hound’s display of affection. As noted by the scholar Carlo Emanuele Muzzarelli, through the unstable support of Argus’s left paw the sculptor is able to hint at the mastiff ’s old age and strong emotion, which ultimately lead to his passing, as described by Homer. Muzzarelli was able to grasp both the sculpture’s adherence to its literary source and its formal qualities:
The protagonist is represented ... at the moment when, walking towards the seat of his ancestors, he is recognized by his faithful old dog Argus. The dog, throwing himself at the feet of its master, somewhat prevents him from progressing further; this, accompanied by the extraordinary signs of joy, causes the hero to halt and bring his right hand to his chest in a gesture of marvel. The figure [of Ulysses] displays the traits of virile strength and the features of his face are noble. Muzzarelli goes on to praise the aggrieved figure, noble and grand, tracing the source of its iconography to the portrait of Ulysses in the Real Museo Borbonico in Naples,with “all its expression of surprise, the half-open mouth, the meaningful eyes, the arched brows, the great mass of hair, the curly beard, and the Ithacan pileus covering his head”. The tunic that encircles Ulysses’s waist is knotted with a doeskin and betrays his disguise as a beggar. The gnarled staff, which carries the bag containing the bread given to him by Eumaeus, functions both as a structural support and as the focal axis around which the contrast in composition and texture between the hero and the furry hound develops. The semi-colossal version of this composition, reaching almost two metres in height, was executed, according to documentary sources, for Lord Grosvenor. Robert Grosvenor, 1st Marquis of Westminster (1767–1845) was a prominent political figure and collector, and also acquired Rinaldi’s Cephalus and Procris, as recorded by Count Hawks Le Grice (1841, I, p. 97). In 1843, the Diario di Roma wrote that Rinaldi was working on a pendant for the Ulysses entitled Penelope carrying Ulysses’s Bow and Arrows to her Suitors (Gerardi 1843). These works are unknown to modern scholarship, which is why the rediscovery of the present, smaller-scale, Ulysses recognized by Argus is of particular significance, being the only known example of the model. In the early twentieth century our marble was in the collection of the noted Bostonian attorney Charles Hitchcock Tyler (1862–1931), a testimony of the appeal of Neoclassical sculpture to the flourishing American culture of collecting. The scholar Giuseppe Antonio Guattani (1838, p. 295) identified iconographical precedents for the subject here chosen by Rinaldi in ancient cameos and coins, but the marble itself became in turn a model for later treatments of the theme, such
as Ulysses recognized by Eurycleia by the Spanish artist Ponciano Ponzano, published in the Ape Italiana in 1838, and Ulysses recognized by his Dog by Joseph Gott (Joseph Gott 1972, p. 40). stefano grandesso
related literature ‘Scultura Ulisse e il Cane. Gruppo di Rinaldo Rinaldi’, Il Tiberino, I, 1833, p. 43 C.E. Muzzarelli, ‘Ulisse riconosciuto dal cane, statua di Rinaldo Rinaldi’, Il Progresso delle scienze, lettere ed arti: opera periodica, III, vol. VII, 1834, pp. 320–21 C.E. Muzzarelli, ‘Ulisse riconosciuto dal cane – di Rinaldo Rinaldi’, L’Ape Italiana delle Belle Arti, I, vol. I, 1835, p. 25, pl. XVI G.A. Guattani, Lezioni di storia, mitologia e costumi ad uso di coloro che si dedicano alle arti del disegno, vol. II, Rome, 1838 H. Le Grice, Walks Through the Studii of the Sculptors at Rome, 2 vols., Rome, 1841 Museo di Pittura e Scultura, ossia raccolta dei principali quadri, statue e bassirilievi delle gallerie pubbliche e private d’Europa, disegnati ed incisi sull’acciaio da Reveil, con le notizie descrittive, critiche e storiche di Duchesne primogenito, vol. IX, Florence, 1841, pp. 107–08, pl. 1091 F. Gerardi, ‘Belle Arti, Penelope: statua modellata da Rinaldo Rinaldi Accademico di S. Luca’, Diario di Roma, 18 April 1843, p. 4 N. Pietrucci, Biografia degli artisti padovani, Padova 1858, pp. 228–32 Joseph Gott 1786–1860 Sculptor, exh. cat., Stable Court Exhibition Galleries, Leeds, and Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 1972 S. Grandesso, ‘Dal classicismo more romano alla scultura romantica come natura, sentimento religioso e impegno civile’, in L’Ottocento in Italia. Le arti sorelle – Il Romanticismo 1815–1848, ed. C. Sisi, Milan, 2006, pp. 165–95
g i o va n n i g i u s e p p e a l b e rt o n i (1806–1887) The Madonna and Child, with the Infant Saint John the Baptist Marble 70 cm (27 ½ in.) high 53.5 cm (21 in.) wide
g i o va n n i a l b e rt o n i was born on 28 November 1806 in Varallo Sesia (Piedmont) and trained at the art academies of Milan and Turin. His artistic education began at the Varallo School of Drawing under the guidance of the painter Giovanni Avondo, where he stayed for two years, before moving to Milan’s Accademia di Brera to study under Pompeo Marchesi. Between 1829 and 1848 Albertoni worked at the Accademia Albertina in Turin and met a number of important Neoclassical sculptors, including Bertel Thorvaldsen and Pietro Tenerani. He then followed Thorvaldsen to Rome, becoming his pupil and remaining in the city for sixteen years. Albertoni was attracted back to Turin to work for the royal family there, carrying out Maria Adelaide’s commissions between 1856 and 1858, including the funeral monument of Queen Maria Cristina in the Abbey of Altacomba. These prestigious commissions appear to have made Albertoni’s reputation in the city and he went on to carve monuments to Eusebio Bava and to Vincenzo Gioberti (1859), and the statue of Agriculture for the new façade of Palazzo Carignano (c. 1869). Other notable public monuments by Albertoni include those for Laurent Cerise at Aosta in 1872, for Alessandro Riberi in 1867 and the monumental fountain at Sacro Monte di Varallo. Albertoni also undertook many works for the churches of Turin, examples of which can be seen on the façade of the cathedral of the city. His works are preserved in the atrium of the Academy of Sciences of Turin and in the Royal Palace. He exhibited a relief and a bust of the Virgin Mary at the Promotrice di Belle Arti di Torino in 1884. Albertoni died in 1887, in Gioberti, near Turin, regarded as one of the great Italian sculptors of the nineteenth century. This finely carved marble relief is a wonderfully sensitive depiction of the Madonna and Child embracing with great love and affection, whilst the infant St John the Baptist (identified by his goatskin cloak) looks on, gently resting his hand on the knee of the Virgin. This image represents the beautiful and caring Virgin as the ideal mother; her close, physical proximity to the Christ Child emphasizes their humanity, vulnerability and the deep nature of their love. There is another version of the present relief by Albertoni in the Castle of Agliè in Turin, a holiday residence frequented by Carlo Felice and Maria Teresa, King and Queen of Sardinia and Duke and Duchess of Savoy, respectively. Sculpture in Piedmont during the first half of the nineteenth century was notable
fig. 1 Baptismal Font, Mary with Jesus and John, 1805–07 Plaster, 77.8 × 72.5 cm Thorvaldsen Museum, Copenhagen, inv. A555.2
for its debt to the work of the great Danish sculptor Berthel Thorvaldsen, and his impact upon the art of the region is reflected in the composition of these two reliefs. Albertoni, a pupil of Thorvaldsen, was greatly influenced by his master’s style and indeed the present work takes its inspiration from a relief Thorvaldsen carved of the same subject between 1805 and 1807. Thorvaldsen designed his relief for one side of a baptismal font in the Church of Brahetrolleborg, Denmark (fig. 1) and it was reproduced for further baptismal fonts at the church of the Holy Ghost, Copenhagen, and at the Cathedral of Reykjavik, Iceland. The Thorvaldsen Museum is in possession of the original model in plaster and, interestingly, a small preparatory sketch for it that appears in the lower left-hand corner of Thorvaldsen’s drawing of Diomedes with the Palladium and Ulyses (fig. 2).
fig. 2 Diomedes with the Palladium and Ulysses (detail, with design for Baptismal Font?), c. 1804 Pencil on paper, 19.8 × 146 cm Thorvaldsen Museum, Copenhagen, inv. C8r
related literature A. Panzetta, Nuovo Dizionario degli Scultori Italiani dell’ Ottocento e del Primo Novecento, A-L (1990), edn 2003 S. Grandesso, Berthel Thorvaldsen (1770–1844), Milan, 2015
j o h n g i b s o n r a (1791–1866) The ‘Williams-Wynn’ Cupid, drawing his Bow, 1826 White marble 145 cm (57 in.) high 53 cm (21 in.) wide 75 cm (29 ½ in.) deep s i g n e d I GIBSON FECIT ROMAE (on the tree-trunk) p r o v e na n c e Commissioned by Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, 5th Bt, 1826; received on loan at Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, Glasgow, 1906 exhibited Royal Academy, London, 1829 l i t e r at u r e Lady E. Rigby Eastlake, Life of John Gibson, R. A., Sculptor, London, 1870, pp. 64–67 A. Graves, The Royal Academy of Arts. A Complete Dictionary of Contributors and their Work from its Foundation in 1769 to 1904, London, 1905–06, vol. II, p. 230 T. Matthews, The Biography of John Gibson RA, Sculptor, Rome, London, 1911, pp. 66–67, 251 J. Turner (ed.), ‘Gibson’, The Grove Dictionary of Art, vol. 12, New York, 1996, p. 598 I. Roscoe et al., A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain, 1660–1851, New Haven and London 2009, pp. 524
j o h n g i b s o n r a is considered by many to be the greatest British sculptor of the nineteenth century working in the Neoclassical style. It is hard to overestimate the impact Rome had on the life and art of the artist. He first arrived in the city around 1817, when he was just twenty-six, and remained a resident there until his death. Not only did Rome’s myriad ancient sculptural treasures and architectural fragments offer Gibson a lifetime of inspiration, but the Grand Tourists who poured into Rome in the first half of the nineteenth century provided him with many commercial opportunities. These rich or aristocratic travellers sought out mythological sculptures for their grand, palatial residences. However, since the papal decrees of Doria Pamphilj and Pacca of 1803 banned the export of ancient Greek and Roman works of art from Rome, there was a large demand for modern idealized sculpture in the Neoclassical style (Frasca-Rath 2016, p. 10). It is probably not going too far to suggest that Gibson was somewhat romantically attached to his adopted city. Such feelings are evident in the following passage, which concerns Gibson’s imagining of his journey to Rome: A great Eagle descended upon me and took me up in the air. Higher and higher he flew with me over towns and rivers, till I lost sight of the earth,
and I saw nothing but clouds … presently I saw buildings below me and soon the eagle alighted in the midst of a great city; and this, I said to myself in my dream, this is Rome! (Eastlake 1870, p. 38) During his early days in the city he had the great fortune to train under both Antonio Canova and Bertel Thorvaldsen (Roscoe and Hardy 2009, p. 522). He referred continuously to Canova as his “master”, particularly in his memoirs, which he dictated to Margarete Sandbach at the beginning of the 1850s; these were subsequently published by Lady Eastlake in 1870. Moreover, he claimed to be Canova’s last pupil in a letter to Antonio Gacini, Secretary of the Royal Academy in Milan in 1861, written to thank the Academy for accepting him as an Honorary Member: “The first instruction which I received in my art was from an Italian. It was Canova whose pupil I became in the year 1817 and studied under him for five years when he died. I was his last pupil” (Royal Academy Archive GI/1376). By 1821, Gibson had established his own studio in the via Fontanella, off the via Babuino. From here he aimed to produce sculpture of “the sublime and the purest beauty”, believing that the sculptor’s role was to select and combine the most beautiful parts of nature to create a harmonious whole, which would delight and elevate the viewer. By the mid nineteenth century he was one of the few remaining exponents of the so-called ‘pure’ and ‘neo-Hellenistic’ style of sculpture, resolutely upholding the Neoclassical ideals established by Wincklemann, in a period when naturalism and modern subjects preoccupied the majority of artists in Europe (Turner, ed., 1996, p. 598). Gibson was convinced of the importance of disseminating artistic ideas through the younger generations, an ideal no doubt impressed upon him by Canova, and established ‘the British Academy of Arts in Rome’. His students included William Theed (1804–1891), Benjamin Spence (1822–1866), Harriet Hosmer (1830–1908), Frederic Leighton (1830–1896) and Richard James Wyatt (1795–1850), and this collection of British expatriate artists became affectionately known as ‘the Roman School of British Sculpture’. His impact on the young artists of the day is perfectly expressed by the bust of Gibson executed by William Theed in 1868 (Frasca-Rath 2016, p. 29). The present work is proudly and typically signed: I GIBSON FECIT ROMAE. Other popular variations of Gibson’s signature include Fecit epoiei Romae, or simply Rome, which he used as a seal of quality for his works (Frasca-Rath 2016, p. 12). In 1996, the present exquisite statue was listed in The Grove Dictionary of Art simply as “untraced”. However, by 2009, the work had re-surfaced through its loan to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow, and Roscoe recorded it as: “41. 1826 … Cupid drawing his bow … M[arble] … (coll. Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, 5th Bt); Glasgow Museums TEMP.15367” (Roscoe and Hardy 2009, p. 524). The patron was Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, who had stayed in Rome during the winter of 1826, paying a visit to Gibson’s studio. Gibson wrote a lucid account of the meeting:
In the winter of the same year , the late Sir Watkin Williams Wynn came to Rome. Having heard that I was a native of Conway he made up his mind that I should execute a work for him and that it should be the statue of an eagle in marble …. I then directed his attention to a figure of Cupid I was modelling drawing an arrow with one hand, and holding his bow with the other. He immediately asked me, “Would you like to do that for me in marble?” I then said that I should be delighted, and then he replied, “Well, well, then do it” – so my statue of Cupid was executed in marble for him. The old gentleman was exceedingly kind to me during his stay in Rome, and also his sister, Miss Williams Wynn. Sir Watkin, on account of his extreme amiability, was a favourite with everybody in Rome (Eastlake 1870, pp. 66–67). The Cupid was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1829 and later, in 1870, Eastlake recorded it as located in St James’s Square, London. According to Eastlake and Matthews, the present marble is the only version of the model and no replicas were known to have been carved. However, the present Cupid drawing his Bow relates to another sculpture by Gibson, entitled Love tormenting the Soul, the first version of which was carved in 1837, along with other later versions, including the example at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.
related literature Letter from Gibson to Antonio Gacini, 1861, RAAA/GI/1376 Anna Frasca-Rath, John Gibson: A British Sculptor in Rome, London, 2016
j o h n g i b s o n r a (1791–1866) Antigone discovered over the Dead Body of her Brother Polyneices Pencil drawing on paper 44.5 cm (17 ½ in.) high 64 cm (25 ¼ in.) wide s i g n e d John Gibson (lower left corner) p r o v e na n c e Collection of Joseph Bonomi Jnr (1796–1878), thence by descent through the family
b o r n i n g y f f i n, North Wales, in 1790, John Gibson became perhaps the greatest Neoclassical sculptor Britain ever produced. The historian and banker William Roscoe provided him with a scholarship, and so he left for Rome in 1817, remaining resident there until his death. Upon his arrival he entered the workshop of Europe’s pre-eminent sculptor, Antonio Canova, and, due to his fervent commitment to Neoclassical artistic principles, his remarkable skill and his adopted romanitas, became known to many as ‘the British Canova’. Despite setting off to Rome assured in the knowledge that he was backed by letters of recommendation from Sir George D’Aguilar of Liverpool, Henry Fuseli, John Flaxman and Lord Brougham of London (Frasca-Rath 2016, p. 8), Rome for Gibson still appeared to be something akin to an artistic “battlefield”, filled with his “most powerful competitors” (Eastlake 1870, p. 63), but he rose to the challenge and became a central part of the city’s thriving artistic community. Gibson was soon running one of the largest sculptural workshops in the papal city and receiving commissions from international patrons, who crowded the streets in front of his studio (Frasca-Rath 2016, p. 10). Upon his death he was a member of twelve international academies and his illustrious list of patrons included Count Erwein von Schönborn, Alessandro Torlonia and Tsar Nicholas I of Russia (ibid., p. 7). After his death a statue was carved of him and placed upon the façade of the Glyptothek in Munich along with those of Antonio Canova, Bertel Thorvaldsen, Pietro Tenerani, Christian Daniel Rauch and Ludwig Schwanthaler – all carved by Arnold Wilhelm Lossow in 1857 (ibid.). One of the most important reasons for Gibson’s success was his relationship with Antonio Canova, which he indeed recognized throughout his life and even claimed the mantle of “Canova’s last pupil” in a letter of 1862, some forty years after Canova’s death (ibid., p. 29). By the time Gibson arrived in Rome in 1817, Canova was ‘omnipresent’ in the city and represented the most powerful artistic force and personality there. In fact, Canova’s fame had reached such heights that, according to Sir Timothy Clifford, “Perhaps no artist in Italy since Titian was more admired during his lifetime than Canova” (Clifford 1995, p. 9). He was
President of the Accademia di San Luca, professor at numerous academies in Rome and, as a result of the “dynamic atmosphere of artistic exchange” which he had created between himself and the younger generation of sculptors, his word carried huge currency among the young artists working and studying in the city as well (Frasca-Rath 2016, p. 29). Canova helped Gibson find his own workshop at via della Fontanella 4, close to Piazzo del Popolo, and recommended the young sculptor to his own international patrons. Through this means, Gibson received his first two commissions, from William Spencer Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire, and Sir George Beaumont (ibid., p. 10). However, Canova did not just assist Gibson in establishing the framework for his career, but he supported him with artistic, practical and technical advice (ibid., p. 9). An example of this was recalled by Gibson: “At my own request Canova allowed me to copy his fine Pugilist – the marble statue in the Vatican. I began with great zeal to model my copy from the cast in the studio. After I had worked at the clay for a few days, down it all fell! It seems that my master had observed to his foreman, Signor Desti (Antonio d’Este), that my figure must fall, ‘for you see’, said he, ‘that he knows nothing of the skeleton work – but let him proceed, and when his figure comes down, show him how the mechanical part is done’. So, when the model fell, a blacksmith was called in, and the iron work was made, with numerous crosses of wood and wire” (Eastlake 1870, p. 48). Whilst in Rome, under the watchful eye of Canova, Gibson frequented drawing classes at the Accademia di San Luca and the life class at the Accademia del Nudo. There he made sketches from live models, who adopted the poses of sculptures from antiquity, directed by instructions from the great master from Possagno (Frasca-Rath 2016, p. 9). Upon his death in 1866 Gibson bequeathed to the Royal Academy his whole artistic estate, which included over 50 sculptures and 200 drawings (ibid., p. 14). “This large cache of drawings is nevertheless a significant resource for the study of his work, especially as drawings were pivotal to the process of obtaining commissions from wealthy studio visitors” (ibid., p. 56). For example, when Earl Fitzwilliam and his daughters visited, they were apparently shown the artist’s book of drawings. The artist recalled that “Lady Charlotte advised her father to have Gibson’s ‘The hours leading the Horses of the Sun’ executed from such a drawing” (ibid.). Many of these drawings at the Royal Academy relate directly to designs for sculptures and to recurring themes in Gibson’s work, such as that of Cupid and Psyche, but others are preparatory studies or aide-memoires to capture scenes that he had observed in Rome (ibid.). His skill in bas-relief was especially great – here again no living sculptor comes near him. The bas-relief of ‘The Hours leading the Horses of the Sun’, which, as has been seen, he modelled with such delight and ardour is in itself a sufficient pedestal for his fame to rest on. His knowledge of the
fig. 1 Antigone discovered over the Dead Body of her Brother Polyneices Pen, ink and wash over pencil on paper, 19.5 × 24.5 cm Royal Academy of Arts, London
laws, which govern this department of sculpture, was profound. Hence his drawings, which may be classed under the head of bas-reliefs, are among the strongest evidence of his powers. His skill as a draughtsman is possessed by no living man. The original drawing of the ‘The Marriage Feast of Cupid and Psyche’, done some years before his death, when his hand was firm as a rock, is matchless. The outline looks as if it were engraved. If a fellowlabourer in the art were to speak frankly he would perhaps say Mr. Gibson’s greatness lay more in his wonderfully e xecuted drawings than in his finished works – his drawings have a fire and passion which his marble does not entirely translate” (Eastlake 1870, pp. 237–38). The subject of this wonderful drawing is derived from Sophocles’s famed tragedy Antigone, thought to have been written c. 442 BC. The scene depicts the protagonist, Antigone, discovering the body of her brother Polyneices, after he, a rebel, has been killed during the Theban civil war. Creon, the ruler of Thebes, decrees that Polyneices is to be publically shamed in death, by not having his body sanctified by holy rites and to lie unburied where he fell on the battlefield and left as prey for carrion. However, Antigone buries her brother and then takes her own life. Gibson made another work of the same subject, this time in pen, ink and wash over pencil on paper, which forms part of his bequest to the Royal Academy in 1866 (fig. 1). The composition is similar, with striding soldiers flanking a shrouded and bewailing Antigone after discovering her crouching over the body of her brother. It is therefore possible that the present drawing could have been a preparatory work for the more finished pen and wash version of it. However, the numbered grid lines visible on the drawing suggest that the sculptor was in the process of translating it to marble, so it may in fact represent a beautiful handdrawn plan for a lost, or abandoned, marble relief by Gibson.
This work has an interesting provenance, as it hails from the collection of Joseph Bonomi the Younger (1796–1878), whose acquaintance Gibson made in London. He was the son of the painter and architect Joseph Bonomi the Elder (1739–1808), who decorated the buildings of the Adam brothers in London from 1767 and even undertook architectural work at St Peter’s in Rome around 1789. Bonomi Junior was a well-travelled Egyptophile, whose knowledge of hieroglyphics, after many years studying in Egypt, became legendary. He was considered an artistic prodigy himself, having had sculptures accepted at the Royal Academy at the tender age of thirteen, and he continued to exhibit there from 1809 to 1838. He assisted Owen Jones in the decoration of the Crystal Palace, and went on to illustrate several works on the art of Egypt, Nubia and other countries in North Africa. In addition to this, from 1861 to 1878, he held the prestigious position of Curator of Sir John Soane’s Museum in London. Importantly, it had been Bonomi who put Gibson in touch with a Mr Bartolozzi in Paris, another well-connected gentleman, who had then arranged for the young artist’s transport from Paris to Rome in 1817 (Eastlake 1870, p. 44).
related literature Lady E. Rigby Eastlake, Life of John Gibson R.A., Sculptor, London, 1870, p. 63 J. Bonomi, The proportions of the human figure, as handed down to us by Vitruvius, from the writings of the famous sculptors and painters of antiquity: to be which is added, the admirable method of measuring the figure, invented by John Gibson, sculptor; with description and illustrative outlines, ed. C. Robertson, London, 1872 T. Matthews, The Biography of John Gibson RA, Sculptor, Rome, London, 1911 A. Graves, The Royal Academy of Arts. A Complete Dictionary of Contributors and their Work from its Foundation in 1769 to 1904, London, 1906, vol. II, p. 230 Sir T. Clifford, Antonio Canova The Three Graces: A celebratory exhibition, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1995 I. Roscoe et al., A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain, 1660–1851, New Haven and London 2009, p. 524 A. Frasca-Rath, John Gibson: A British Sculptor in Rome, London, 2016
a n t o n i o c a n o va (1757–1822) Cast by v i n c e n zo m a l p i e r i Paris and Helen, 1812 Plaster Paris: 72 cm (28 ¼ in.) high Helen: 67 cm (26 ¼ in.) high s i g n e d ANT · CANOVA · F · A · 1812 (Paris) p r o v e na n c e Probably Francesco Barisan, Castelfranco Veneto, Italy, purchased from Canova in 1814; private collection, Veneto, Italy
a r g ua b ly t h e g r e at e s t and most illustrious sculptor of his age, Antonio Canova is synonymous to this day with the zenith of Neoclassicism. His works, celebrated for their timeless beauty and grace, have never ceased to inspire generations of artists and collectors alike, and are exhibited in pride of place in the most important museums across the world. Born in the village of Possagno, on the Venetian terraferma, in 1757, Canova grew up with his paternal grandfather, a stonemason. In 1768 his promising talent came to the attention of the Venetian Senator Giovanni Falier, who enrolled him as a garzone in the workshop of the sculptor Giuseppe Bernardi, first at Pagnano d’Asolo and subsequently in Venice. In the Serenissima, Canova combined his training with life classes at the Accademia and visits to the collection of casts after ancient and modern masters at Palazzo Farsetti on the Grand Canal, experiences that would prove central to the formation of his artistic vocabulary. In 1775, thanks to Falier’s patronage, the young Canova was able to open his first studio in Venice, and increasingly rose to prominence. In 1779 he set off on a study trip of the Italian peninsula, visiting amongst other places Bologna, Florence, Naples, Pompeii and Rome. Two years later the Venetian Senate assigned him an annuity to continue his studies in the papal city, which, despite extensive travelling, he would call home until his death in 1822. The move to Rome prompted a significant change in Canova’s style, which evolved from a more dramatic, Baroque expressionism to a restrained, antiquarian aesthetic. The development is evident if we compare the sculptor’s Venetian work, such as the Orpheus and Eurydice he executed for Senator Falier around 1775 (Museo Correr, Venice), with his early Roman sculptures such as the Theseus and the Minotaur of 1782 (Victoria and Albert Museum, London). In Rome, Canova’s career progressed from one success to another, with commissions ranging from public to private monuments, from religious to mythological themes and from local to international patrons. Renowned
examples include the Monument to Pope Clement XIII in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican (finished in 1792), the Cupid and Psyche group commissioned in 1787 and now in the Louvre, Paris, the Hebe known in four versions (the earliest dating to 1796), the remarkable Hercules and Lichas, begun in 1795 and only completed in 1815 (Rome, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna) and The Three Graces, commissioned by Napoleon’s first wife Josephine de Beauharnais in 1813. Canova’s fame and outstanding reputation were such that throughout his career he was appointed to a series of uniquely prominent institutional roles, such as Inspector General of Antiquities and the Fine Arts for the Papal States (1802) and official papal envoy to Paris (1815), with the delicate task of negotiating the return of the myriad artworks removed by Napoleon’s armies during the Italian campaigns.
Paris and Helen With their serene gazes and their beautifully delineated features, this magnificent pair of plaster busts evoke – to use the words of the great archaeologist Johann Joachim Winckelmann – the “noble simplicity and calm grandeur” of ancient statuary. Their subjects, the lovers Paris and Helen, are drawn from the most renowned ancient Greek epic, The Iliad, a poem that would inspire Canova throughout his career, and their execution beautifully illustrates the role of ancient models within Canova’s sculptural language. The influence of Greek and Roman statuary is specifically evident in the linear, highly polished features of the two figures and in their composed countenances and deeply carved, curled hair, which, in Helen’s case, is tied up at the back of the head in a manner directly drawn from ancient representations of the god Dionysus. In addition to this, the format of the busts, with their rounded lower ends resting on moulded brackets and socles, mirrors Roman prototypes. Yet Canova, as already observed by his contemporaries, was no mere follower, and these busts – which are not directly after any Greek or Roman prototype – transcend the simple emulation of classical formulas, reaching a sensibility for composition, modelling, surface texture and emotion that is unique to their creator. Comparable to the exquisite beauty of ancient figures such as Praxiteles’s Hermes carrying the Infant Dionysus or the celebrated Venus de Milo, the present heads nevertheless reflect Canova’s independent search for ideal beauty, which reaches beyond both nature and antiquity.
This quality was described, ever so lyrically, by the poet Lord Byron in 1816. Upon seeing a marble version of the Helen he wrote: In this beloved marble view Above the works and thoughts of Man What Nature could but would not, do, And Beauty and Canova can! Beyond Imagination’s power Beyond the Bard’s defeated art, With Immortality her dower, Behold the Helen of the heart. Canova’s earliest documented treatment of the subject of Paris dates to 1807, and it is a full-length plaster of the Trojan prince now in the Museo Correr, Venice, inscribed on the trunk 12 Maggio/ 1807. Upon completion, the marble of this composition (now Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg) was sent to the imperial residence in Malmaison near Paris, where Antoine Chrysostome Quatremère de Quincy (1755–1849) and Francesco Leopoldo Cicognara (1767–1834) must have seen it, as they both praised it in letters of 1813 (27 February and 24 July respectively). Between 1810 and 1816 Canova made a second version of the Paris – after the same plaster model – destined for Prince Ludwig I of Bavaria (1786–1868), today in the Neue Pinakothek in Munich. Following the master’s death, two full-length statues of Paris remained unfinished in his workshop. One was given by Canova’s heir Giovanni Battista Sartori to the Museo di Asolo in 1838, and the other was completed by Cincinnato Baruzzi (see cat. no. 9) and is probably the Londonderry marble sold by Sotheby’s in 1962. Undoubtedly owing to the remarkable success of the full-length Paris composition, Canova decided to execute a bust version of the figure. The first marble, probably created in 1808 (untraced), was in the collection of the French ambassador in Rome, Charles-Jean-Marie Alquier (1752–1826). In 1809–10 Canova modelled a version for Quatremère de Quincy, which bears the inscription ANTNIO QUATREMERE/AMICO OPTIMO/ANTONIUS CANOVA/DONO DEDIT/F.ROMAE/AN MDCCCIX (Chicago, Art Institute), and in 1812 he created another one, in the same format, for the Prince of Bavaria (fig. 1; Munich, Neue
fig. 1 Paris, 1812 Marble, 66 cm high Neue Pinakothek, Munich
fig. 2 Helen, 1811 Marble, 64 cm high Palazzo Albrizzi, Venice
Pinakothek). A fourth Paris marble bust, formerly in the collection of the Polish nobleman Count Pac, is now in the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg. The Marquise de Grollier – who resided in Venice and whom Canova had nicknamed ‘the Raphael of flowers’ owing to her talent in still-life painting – must have owned one too, because in 1816 Canova wrote to her that he intended to send her a head of Helen “because it ... craves accompanying the Paris” (12 August 1816; see Honour and Mariuz 2002, pp. 359–60). In a notebook now preserved at Possagno is a sketch of busts of Paris and Helen which appears to be Canova’s initial conception of this pairing (c. 1806; see Mariuz and Pavanello 1999, p. 49). The earliest known marble version of the Helen dates to 1811. It was executed for the artist’s patron and friend, the literary salon doyenne Isabella Teotochi Albrizzi (1763–1836), and signed ANT. CANOVA F. 1811 (fig. 2; Venice, Palazzo Albrizzi). The marble Helen for the Marquise de Grollier, referred to in the above mentioned letter, was delivered in 1816–17, and later passed into the hands of the Italian statesman Giovanni Battista Sommariva (d. 1826; untraced). Around the same time, Canova sent another version, bearing the inscription VICECOMITI CASTELREGHIO/ VIRO PRAESTANTISSIMO/ ANTONIUS CANOVA/ FECIT AC DD, to Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh and later 2nd Marquess of Londonderry, as a token of gratitude for his help during the sculptor’s diplomatic mission to Paris in 1815. Charles Long, another associate of Canova in Paris, likewise received a bust of Helen from the artist (untraced). The Hermitage Museum also possesses a Helen, the pair to its Paris bust, and further versions are today in the Museo Civico in Bassano and in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The Gipsoteca at Possagno holds a pointed plaster of Helen, alongside an even-surface one of Paris, and another version of the latter is in the Museo Civico in Bassano. The existence of more than one marble or plaster version of the same composition is characteristic of Canova’s studio practice, and offers an excellent insight into the master’s working method. Specifically, plaster represented for Canova both a creative and a mnemonic tool, a way to translate a composition into marble (when the plaster was pointed) but also to preserve his treasured models following their execution in marble. The present casts display no pointing, which, together with their dating to 1812, indicate they were taken after finished marbles, and as such constituted aide-memoires for the sculptor and his pupils. The
wording of the signature on the Paris indicates that it was cast from the marble version for Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, which bears the same inscription, whilst the Helen derived from the head given to Isabella Teotochi Albrizzi in 1812, as meticulous comparison of the two busts reveals. In 1812, both the Munich and Albrizzi marbles would have been in Canova’s atelier, where they would have been cast by Vincenzo Malpieri, a trusted aide of the sculptor, named in studio records in association with plaster casting. Notably, in October 1813 Malpieri was paid for the execution of a series of plasters, including a Paris and a Helen, acquired by Francesco Barisan, a wealthy associate of the Napoleonic regime in Castelfranco Veneto. At some point in the nineteenth century Barisan’s collection was moved to Vicenza, and from there to Venice by the end of the century. By this point, only four reliefs from the original series remained. The fate of the Castelfranco Veneto Paris and Helen is undocumented, but the present pair’s recent provenance from the Veneto and dating suggests they may come from the Barisan collection.
related literature Lord Byron, ‘On the bust of Helen by Canova’ (November 1816), in The Poetical Works of Lord Byron, complete in one volume, London, John Murray, 1845, p. 568 E. Bassi, La Gipsoteca di Possagno. Sculture e dipinti di Antonio Canova, Venice, 1957 G. Pavanello, L’opera completa del Canova, Milan, 1976, esp. pp. 118 and 122 Canova, exh. cat., Museo Correr, Venice, and Gipsoteca, Possagno, Venice, 1992, esp. pp. 316–21 A. Mariuz and G. Pavanello, Antonio Canova: The Notebook Drawings of Possagno, Cittadella, 1999 H. Honour and P. Mariuz, eds., The Letters by Antonio Canova (1816–1817), vol. I, Rome, 2002 We are grateful to Frédérique Brinkerink for her contribution to this entry.
c av. c i n c i n nat o ba ru z z i (1796–1878) Baccante Cimbalista, 1837 (Bacchante playing the cymbals) White marble 148 cm (58 ¼ in.) high p r o v e na n c e Commissioned by Countess Antonietta Fagnani Arese, Milan, 1837 From whom acquired by Count Leonino Secco Suardo, Bergamo By descent to Countess Camilla Maffei Marazzi, Bergamo Private collection, Lucca, Italy exhibited Accademia di Brera, Milan, 1837 l i t e r at u r e G. Mazzini, Cincinnato Baruzzi: la vita, i tempi, le opere, Imola, 1949, pl. X A. Mampieri, Cincinnato Baruzzi, Bologna, 2014, pp. 185–89
i n 1 8 3 7 ba ru z z i presented the Bacchante playing the Cymbals at the Accademia di Brera’s annual exhibition in Milan. The work, executed for the Milanese noblewoman Antonietta Fagnani Arese, was displayed together with two other female sculptures, Salmacis and The Temptation of Eve. Baruzzi had submitted designs for the former to the Pontificia Accademia in Bologna already in 1822 and subsequently carved it in marble for Count Ambrogio Uboldo (now untraced), whilst the latter had been commissioned by Count Gian Giacomo Bolognini Attendolo (Milan, Galleria d’Arte Moderna). Having initially trained with the sculptor Giacomo De Maria in Bologna (see further cat. no. 18), Baruzzi moved to Rome in 1817, where he entered the studio of Antonio Canova. In 1819 he received a grant to remain in the Eternal City from the Bolognese Accademia Clementina and, upon Canova’s death, was named director of the workshop by the master’s step-brother and heir Giambattista Sartori Canova. In this capacity, Baruzzi finished the works Canova had left unfinished and carved in marble a number of his models. Therefore, beside sculptures of his own invention, such as Psyche contemplating a Butterfly (versions in Palazzo Milzetti, Faenza, and Peterhof Castle) and Sleeping Venus (Peterhof Castle), Baruzzi completed Canovian masterpieces including the Hector and Ajax in the Treves collection and the Buckingham Palace Dirce, and executed in marble the Pietà for the church of San Salvatore in Terracina. In 1831, Baruzzi was called back to Bologna to take up his old teacher’s position at the Accademia Clementina. During this period, the artist focused on
participating in the annual exhibitions at the Accademia di Brera in Milan in order to promote his reputation, especially in relation to his graceful representations of female figures. Lombard patrons were indeed to play a key role in his career, as he received commissions from distinguished individuals such as the above-mentioned Uboldo and Attendolo Bolognini, or the Marquises Antonio Busca Serbelloni, Giorgio Raimondi and Filippo Ala Ponzone. Baruzzi’s success is also illustrated by the fame of the above mentioned works. The Eve was replicated for the house of Savoy, for Count Paolo Tosio – who already possessed a version of the artist’s Silvia (Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo, Brescia) – and for the banker Enrico Mylius (Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan). The Salmacis had encountered particular favour with foreign patrons while Baruzzi was in Rome, as indicated by the versions acquired by Lords Kinnaird and Cavendish and the Austrian Count Heberstein. Similarly, the Bacchante playing the Cymbals had been wonderfully received at the Brera, where it captured the attention of Count Leonino Secco Suardo, who immediately asked Antonietta Fagnani Arese to acquire the piece. The Countess accepted, commissioning from Baruzzi a second version of it, which, however, she never received. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that in 1851 Baruzzi decided to take to the London Great Exhibition versions of the Bacchante, the Eve and the Psyche. In her monograph on the artist, Antonella Mampieri published a fascinating contemporary photograph of the Bacchante on display at the Crystal Palace, yet it is not known whether the sculpture was sold on that occasion (see Bologna 2014, p. 42). Two years later, at the Paris Salon, the same work, or an autograph version of it, was acquired by Elisabetta Trellony di Beauregard (present whereabouts unknown). In the meantime, the first version had been inherited by Countess Camilla Maffeis Marazzi, in whose collection in Bergamo it is documented by the biographer Giuseppe Mazzini in 1949 (see Mazzini 1949, pl. X). The display of Baruzzi’s three statues at Brera was widely covered by the press at the time. The Biblioteca Italiana art critic praised Baruzzi as “an artist educated by an excellent school and able to carve marble in an exquisite way” and described the Bacchante as “a youth of beautiful proportions, of Greek and gentle forms, in revealing clothes folded in exquisite manner, with a wreath around her head gently tilted on one side that adds beauty to the figure and reflects very well the
artist’s talent and scope for this work. This youth smiling graciously plays the cymbal; and whilst with her right thigh she rests on a Bacchic altar, with the tip of her left foot she lightly touches the ground, as if she was about to resume dancing” (1837, p. 435). As Mazzini observed, thanks to the Brera group exhibited in 1837 Baruzzi “was defined by Temistocle Solera as the Simonides and the Anacreon of sculpture, so full of grace and subtlety were his works”. Carlo Tenca, the most distinguished critic of the period, called him “the sculptor of grace” (see Tenca 1998, p. 5) after having seen the Bacchante and her companions in 1837. Baruzzi was therefore capable of interpreting famous classical subjects in sculpture, even in the Romantic era, and of specializing in this particular field dear to Canova, of whom he proposed himself the heir. The Bacchante was an all’antica composition, in which the artist displayed his recherché virtuosity in the execution of the headdress, in the naturalism of the nude, in the accurateness of the details on the base such as the cista mystica and the musical instruments, which all derived from Canova’s Graces. Indeed, a critic writing in Glysson in 1837 defined the Bacchante as “a Grace resting from the dance, wishing to return to it” (p. 290). Above all, the Bacchante was inspired by Canova’s series of Dancers, of which it constitutes a kind of variation, represented between stillness and suspended movement, and which it explicitly recalls in the motif of music and rhythm. The work was described in a note accompanying it to Paris: “A Cymbal Player, or Bacchante, who plays for the dance of her companions” (Sighinolfi 2007, p. 337). The figure, sitting on the leopard skin that is an attribute of Bacchus, in her joyful pleasantness, in her quality of fantastical flight into a mythical golden age, evokes that Arcadian atmosphere then popular in the work of Thorvaldsen, in the all’antica Young Shepherd (Thorvaldsen Museum, Copenhagen) or in his Anacreontic reliefs, which were at the heart of the adoption of Romanticism by the Roman Neoclassical school. In the words of the Glysson critic, this “graceful sculpture” embodied “the last encounter between the classical and the romantic”. stefano grandesso
related literature Glysson, n’appuyons pas. Giornale di Scienze, Lettere, Arti, no. 75, 1837 Carlo Tenca, Scritti d’Arte, 1838–1859, ed. A. Cottignoli, 1998 Lino Sighinolfi, ‘La Vita e le Opere di Cincinnato Baruzzi’, in Uno Scultore Neoclassico a Bologna fra Restaurazione e Risorgimento. Il Fondo Cincinnato Baruzzi nella Biblioteca dell’Archiginnasio, ed. C. Maldini, Bologna, 2007, p. 337
fig. 1 Drawing of Baruzzi’s Cimbalista
a n t o i n e - d e n i s c h au d et (1763–1810), attributed to Herm portrait bust of Napoleon, c. 1807–14 White marble 47.5 cm (18 ¾ in.) high 22 cm (8 ¾ in.) wide 24.5 cm (9 ¾ in.) deep p r o v e na n c e English private collection
a n t o i n e - d e n i s c h au d et won the prestigious Prix de Rome in 1784 with a relief portraying Joseph sold into Slavery by his Brothers (Paris, Louvre). Whilst at the Académie de France in Rome, he was much influenced by the sculpture of antiquity and by the Neoclassical works of Antonio Canova. Chaudet conceived works in an elegant, Hellenistic style such as Cyparissus mourning for a Stag that he loved (St Petersburg, Hermitage) and the famed Cupid playing with a Butterfly (Paris, Louvre), as well as the group Oedipus as a Child restored to Life by the Shepherd Phorbas (Paris, Louvre). Chaudet was also a prolific sculptor of idealized Neoclassical portrait busts. His best known are perhaps the present work of Napoleon, that of Chrétien-Guillaume de Malesherbes (Paris, Louvre), AntoineFrançois de Fourcroy (Paris), Jean Chaptal (Tours) and one of Dominique-Vivant Denon (Dijon). He was active as a decorative sculptor and designer, making the models for the elegant reliefs on the Empress Josephine’s jewel cabinet (Paris, Louvre) and designing the famous eagle surmounting the standards of the Imperial army (Paris). As one of the principal sculptors of the First Empire, Chaudet was widely honoured: he was a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur, a professor at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and from 1805 a member of the Institut de France. He was an artist of great sensitivity, as witnessed by his freely modelled preparatory sketches and drawings, of which there is an album in the Louvre, Paris. In 1805, Chaudet produced a marble statue of the Emperor Napoleon in antique dress (St Petersburg, Hermitage) and a bronze statue of him holding a winged Victory that was installed on top of the Colonne de la Grande Armée in the Place Vendôme, Paris, in 1810. This striking herm portrait of the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was originally conceived by Chaudet perhaps as early as 1799. This powerfully austere depiction of the Emperor facing resolutely forward probably inspired the bust section of Chaudet’s statue of Napoleon the Legislator, which was installed in the rooms of the Legislative Corps on 14 January 1805. This depiction by Chaudet was apparently favoured by the Emperor himself and inspired subsequent herm portraits of him in this manner, executed in plaster, marble, bronze and biscuit
(Hubert and Ledoux-Lebard 1999, p. 79). After the proclamation of the new French Empire in 1804, it was announced that plaster busts of the Emperor, modelled by Chaudet, were to become available (ibid.). Chaudet had been reserved, by imperial decree, the privilege to reproduce his portrait of the Emperor, which he demonstrated by putting on his casts a metal disk bearing his name engraved in capital letters. He executed a number of casts and one or two marbles for important citizens such as Dominique-Vivant Denon (now at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge), but he did not produce many marble versions himself. The execution of authorized copies took place in Carrara and was first ordered on 2 May 1807 by Elisa Baciocchi, sister of Napoleon, Princess of Lucca and Piombino and Duchess of Massa-Carrara. Changes were made to Chaudet’s original, namely the removal of the crown, belt or mantle, as in the present version. Such was the popularity of the portrait, the great Neoclassical sculptor Lorenzo Bartolini was asked to make versions of the ‘crowned’ versions between 1807 and 1809 (Baker 2007, p. 214). They were primarily made for ardent supporters of Napoleon and for display in the public buildings of France. However, the majority were destroyed when the Bourbon monarchy was restored in 1814. A striking portrait guarantees posterity and Napoleon understood this better than most. It was an astute political move to allow effigies of himself to proliferate in the main centres of power. He most commonly appeared in the uniform of office, or dressed in the toga of classical antiquity (Scherf 2007, p. 32). The idea of depicting Napoleon in antique costume was discussed by Canova and the Emperor in 1810. Canova reported, “We discussed the custom of clothing statues and I told him that with French dress like his, God himself would be unable to create a beautiful sculpture, that the language of sculpture was the nude, with the drapery appropriate to that art” (Hubert and Pillepich 1995, p. 8). Although Napoleon is not explicitly represented in the clothes of the ancients here, the present truncated bust form, known as a herm, hails directly from Roman art and indeed represents the most ubiquitous type of classicizing bust during this period. For example, it was employed by Chantrey in his depiction of the poet William Wordsworth (Baker 2007, p. 213).
related literature G. Hubert and A. Pillepich, ‘Napoléon et Canova : Leurs Entretiens en 1810’, Le Souvenir Napoléonien, no. 400, March–April 1995 G. Hubert and G. Ledoux-Lebard, Napoléon, portraits contemporains bustes et statues, Paris, 1999 M. Baker, ‘The Portrait after the Antique’, in S. Allard et al. (eds.), Citizens and Kings, Portraits in the Age of Revolution, 1760–1830’, London, 2007 G. Scherf, ‘Sculpted Portraits, 1770–1830: “Real Presences”’, ibid. ‘Lorenzo Bartolini’ Benezit Dictionary of Artists. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press, accessed May 19, 2017, http://www.oxfordartonline.com/ subscriber/article/benezit/B00012793
p i et r o t e n e r a n i (1789–1869) Psyche Abandoned, c. 1820 White marble 116 cm (45 ¾ in.) high 52 cm (20 ½ in.) wide 63 cm (24 ¾ in.) deep s i g n e d P. TENERANI (on the base) p r o v e na n c e Marcel Boussac (1889–1980), Paris and Château de Mivoisin, near Châtillon-Coligny, Loiret; Collection de Monsieur Marcel Boussac et à divers amateurs; Hôtel des Ventes, Lille, 15 March 1981, unnumbered lot (illustrated in catalogue, p. 10)
b o r n n e a r c a r r a r a , the home of Italy’s finest white marble, Pietro Tenerani initially trained in the local sculpture workshop of his maternal uncle Pietro Marchetti. Upon winning a scholarship he moved to Rome, where in 1815 he entered the studio of Bertel Thorvaldsen, under whom he perfected his modelling technique and understanding of classical sculpture. He rapidly rose to fame and by 1825 he was a member and professor at the Accademia di San Luca, of which he would be elected President in 1857. Celebrated by contemporaries for his technical expertise, his works ranged from mythological subjects – such as the present one – to portraits and monuments of figures as varied as the South American revolutionary Simon Bolívar and the Pontiff Pius VIII. Tenerani counted amongst his patrons the most prestigious collectors of the era, including William Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire, Giovanni Battista Sommariva, Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, Queen Victoria and Pope Pius IX, who named him his official sculptor. Tenerani’s rich collection of plaster casts, which offer a glimpse into the wide scope of his production, is preserved today in the Museo di Roma. The present sculpture is the most celebrated composition of Tenerani’s early production and is highly representative of his years in Thorvaldsen’s studio. Equally inspired by antiquity and by the Danish sculptor in subject and structure, the Psyche nevertheless signals a departure from the boundaries of classicism, pursuing instead original narrative and formal solutions. The theme is drawn from Apuleius’s second-century AD novel Metamorphoses, or The Golden Ass. One of the chapters tells the story of the lovers Cupid and Psyche, which in the modern period would constitute a treasured source of inspiration for artists. What is unique about the present composition is the specific moment described, which represents a first in the history of sculpture (Grandesso 2003, p. 33). Sitting solitary, Psyche has just been abandoned by her beloved Cupid, whose warning not to seek to uncover his identity she had wilfully ignored (Metamorphoses, Book V, xxiv).
fig. 1 Clio, Hadrianic period Marble Vatican Museums
Apuleius’s narrative is centred on the obstacles that Psyche, a mortal princess, set out to overcome for love of Cupid, the divine son of Venus. The two characters’ names respectively mean ‘soul’ and ‘desire/love’, so their story functions as an allegory of the yearning of the human soul for love, which is ultimately crowned by their marriage, thanks to which Psyche joins her immortal husband on Mount Olympus. The ancient Greek word for ‘psyche’, ψυχή, derived from the verb ψύχω, ‘to breathe, an origin that highlights the impalpable nature of the soul. Notably, ‘psyche’ also meant ‘butterfly’ in ancient Greek, which explains the iconographic connection between Cupid’s companion and butterflies. Tenerani, following an established artistic tradition, exploited the visual potential of this association by choosing to portray Psyche with a pair of wings. These are subtly carved to imitate the veined, membrane-like ones of the butterfly, and they contrast beautifully with the supple, immaculate quality of Psyche’s flesh. The artist further juxtaposes the soft, deeply folded drapery covering the figure’s lap with the rugged, jagged surface of the rock she sits on, displaying a delight in textural variation that recurs throughout his oeuvre. Also distinctive of Tenerani are the extremely high level of finish of our marble, visible in details such as the elegantly designed strands of Psyche’s hair, and the adamantine quality of the anatomy, perfected through simplified contours and planes. The episode of Psyche’s abandonment offered Tenerani the opportunity to explore emotions that were traditionally absent from the Neoclassical canon, which he conveyed through the collected, meditative pose of Psyche. This posture had its roots in the Vatican Museums’ seated Muse Clio (fig. 1; Grandesso 2003, p. 31), yet Tenerani eschewed simple formal imitation by subtly changing the position of Psyche’s feet and placing her hands clasped into her lap, a gesture that suggests a psychological introspection alien to the ancient model. Similarly, the idealized, youthful countenance, simplified anatomy and Grecian hairstyle of our figure are inspired by Thorvaldsen’s Psyche (fig. 2; Grandesso 2003, p. 33), but here too Tenerani transcends the scope of his prototype, as he softens Psyche’s features with an emotional quality unsought in Thorvaldsen’s. It was precisely this heightened sense of emotion that brought Tenerani’s Psyche to the attention of his contemporaries, and rapidly garnered their praise. The first marble model was acquired, still unfinished, by an agent of the Florentine noblewoman Carlotta de’ Medici Lenzoni for her palace on Piazza
fig. 2 Bertel Thorvaldsen Psyche, 1806 Marble, 132 cm high Thorvaldsen Museum, Copenhagen
Santa Croce, where she hosted one of the period’s most renowned literary salons. Notably, Tenerani had taken the unusual and daring decision to execute the Psyche in marble without having previously received a commission for it, but his determination certainly paid off. Already in 1817 the statue had been noted by the influential antiquarian Giuseppe Antonio Guattani in his Roma descritta ed illustrata, and three years later it was praised for its “severity of style, expression, and overall grace” in the pages of Le Effemeridi letterarie di Roma (Grandesso 2003, p. 36). A plaster of the finished marble was sent to the Accademia in Carrara in 1819, and won Tenerani honorary membership to that institution. The same year, the original was exhibited at Palazzo Caffarelli in Rome as part of a display of works by Northern artists organized for the visit of the Austrian Emperor Francis I and his consort (Tenerani was the only Italian admitted, most likely thanks to his connection with Thorvaldsen). On this occasion, the Psyche was admired by the German philosopher, poet and critic Friedrich Schlegel, who wrote about it positively in his review of the exhibition, and by Prince Clemens von Metternich, who immediately tried to acquire it (Grandesso 2003, p. 38). He ultimately agreed with Tenerani to wait for a new Psyche, as did the prominent English banker Alexander Baring, Lord Ashburton, and the Danish Crown Prince, who ordered a version in gilt bronze (Copenhagen, Rosemborg Castle; Grandesso 2003, p. 38). The composition was such a popular success that the artist made a series of versions for leading patrons, with different degrees of variation. The present Psyche comes from the collection of the prominent French entrepreneur Marcel Boussac (1889–1980), an early investor in the maison de haute couture Christian Dior and avid racehorse breeder. related literature S. Grandesso, Pietro Tenerani (1789–1869), Milan, 2003
s a m u e l j o s e p h (1791–1850) Bust of Lieutenant-General Sir Herbert Taylor (1775–1839) Adjutant-General of his Majesty’s Forces White marble 78 cm (30 ¾ in.) high p r o v e na n c e Lieutenant-General Sir Herbert Taylor, thence by descent in the family until 2013 exhibited Royal Academy, London, 1830, no. 1239 l i t e r at u r e A. Graves, The Royal Academy of Arts: A Complete Dictionary of Contributors and their Works, from its Foundation in 1769 to 1904, London, 1906, vol. IV, p. 288
a s p r i vat e s e c r eta ry to George III, Queen Charlotte, Frederick, Duke of York, William IV and first and principal aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria, Lieutenant-General Sir Herbert Taylor was one of the most trusted and powerful men to hold office at the height of the British Empire. It is believed that Sir Herbert commissioned Samuel Joseph to execute this imperious portrait of him dressed as a Roman emperor after the King’s brother, Frederick, Duke of York, gifted him a similar portrait-bust by Chantrey on his death in 1827. It is therefore likely that this bust was commissioned soon after, between 1828 and 1829. Such was the quality of the work that it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1830 and has remained with the family ever since, which constitutes a rare unbroken provenance since the work was commissioned. The depiction of the British upper classes as Roman citizens during the nineteenth century is an intriguing phenomenon in the history of British art, and such works are rightly regarded as important cultural testimonies. Portraits such as the present one reveal that, for the elites of nineteenth-century Britain, Rome cast as long a shadow as the Bible, for every educated young man was required to have Latin as a second language and be able to recite passages of ancient texts from Virgil to Tacitus. For many at this time, London was seen as the ‘New Rome’, and, as a result, the Empire’s main protagonists often chose to present themselves in the image of Rome’s ancient citizens, whom they regarded as their spiritual forbears. related literature R. Gunnis, Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660–1851, London, 1953, pp. 222–23 I. Roscoe et al., A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain, 1660–1851, New Haven and London 2009, pp. 678–81
a n t o n i o c a n o va (1757–1822) Character Head, c. 1780 Terracotta 8 cm (3 ¼ in.) high p r o v e na n c e Possibly Francesco Milizia (1725–1798), Rome l i t e r at u r e G.L. Mellini, ‘Canoviana’, Antichità Viva, XXIX, 1, 1990, pp. 21–30 G.L. Mellini, Canova. Saggi di filologia e di ermeneutica, Milan, 1999, pp. 108 and 198
f i r s t i d e n t i f i e d b y the scholar Gian Lorenzo Mellini in 1990, the present terracotta constitutes a rare and fascinating addition to the corpus of Canova’s early production and is representative, in both style and subject, of the sculptor’s seminal period before the move from Venice to Rome. In 1775 Canova established his first studio in Venice, inside the cloister of the church of Santo Stefano. Until then, he had worked for the local sculptor Giuseppe Bernardi, whose figures drew on the compositional lessons of Jacopo Sansovino in Venice and of the Baroque masters in Rome. These precedents would have been well known to Canova, owing in part to the plaster casts after Bernini, Algardi, Duquesnoy and other modern masters which he is known to have avidly studied in the Canal Grande palace of Filippo Farsetti. This collection additionally included casts after antique models and a series of original terracotta bozzetti dating from the early sixteenth to the mid eighteenth century (Honour 1992, p. 34), thus offering visitors a remarkable array of diverse visual sources. The impact of the Farsetti plasters on the young Canova is clearly discernible in his most renowned Venetian works, the Orpheus (fig. 1) and Eurydice full-length statues he executed around 1775 for Senator Falier. The pair illustrate the moment when, having tried to rescue his beloved Eurydice from Hades, Orpheus defies the gods and looks back at her too soon, thus losing her forever. The dramatic tension of the narrative is evident in the rotating movement of each figure, in the pathos of their gestures and, most notably, in their facial features, heightened to convey a strong sense of emotion. A corrugated brow and grimacing, downturned mouth similar to the Orpheus appear in the present Character Head, suggesting, as Mellini observed, a close connection between the two works. This betrays Canova’s preoccupation with the representation of emotions, but in both cases it is framed within a wider exploration of antiquity, a central theme throughout Canova’s career. Indeed the present terracotta, albeit an invenzione of the sculptor, derives from the Hellenistic
fig. 1 Orpheus (detail) Stone, 203 cm high Museo Correr, Venice fig. 2 The Wrestlers Terracotta, 30 × 31 cm Accademia, Venice fig. 3 Head of Medusa, 1799 Terracotta, 44 × 36 cm Gipsoteca, Possagno
group of Laocoön and his Sons (specifically the figure of the youth on the right), which had enjoyed incredible notoriety since its discovery in 1506 and of which a terracotta model existed in the collection of Filippo Farsetti (see Buranelli et al. 2006, p. 166, no. 60). As Mellini points out, in 1775 Canova had also executed another study after an antiquity – the Uffizi Wrestlers – in terracotta, a medium he favoured and employed throughout his production (fig. 2). Comparison with the Falier Orpheus and the Wrestlers highlights that the expressive quality and richly, deeply modelled features and hair of the present head are characteristic of Canova’s early production, on one hand looking back at his Venetian heritage and on the other heralding the narrative skill and technical accomplishment that he would fully master in Rome. Emblematic of the connection between Canova’s more mature Roman works and earlier forays into the portrayal of emotions is the head of Medusa from his Perseus triumphant (Rome, Vatican Museums, 1797–1801) – individually modelled in a terracotta sketch now at the Gipsoteca in Possagno (fig. 3) – in which the structure of the face is very close to that of the present one, albeit more linear and softened. It is possible that Canova executed the present terracotta upon his arrival in the papal city, or carried it there with him, given that, as Mellini records, its provenance is most likely the collection of the Roman art theorist Francesco Milizia (1725–1798), a keen admirer of Canova.
r e lat e d l i t e r at u r e H. Honour, in Canova, exh. cat., Museo Correr, Venice, and Gipsoteca, Possagno, 1992 F. Buranelli et al., Laocoonte: alle origini dei Musei Vaticani, Rome, 2006
j o h n p h i l i p (p o p e ) dav i s r ba (1784–1862) Portrait of Bertel Thorvaldsen (1789–1838), 1824–26 Oil on canvas 99 cm (39 in.) high 73.5 cm (29 in.) wide exhibited Royal Academy, London, 1826, no. 271 l i t e r at u r e A. Graves, The Royal Academy of Arts, A Complete Dictionary of Contributors and their work from its foundation in 1769 to 1904, London, 1905, vol. I, p. 264
t h i s i n t i m at e p o rt r a i t depicts the renowned Neoclassical sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen in his studio, standing over a monumental marble sculpture of a head, poised with chisel in hand. The work was executed between 1824 and 1826, when Davis visited Rome; upon his return, the painting was exhibited at London’s prestigious Royal Academy. Davis exhibited numerous works at the Royal Academy between 1811 and 1844, a large number of which were portraits. In 1826, he had five paintings accepted, including a portrait of the other great Neoclassical sculptor of the age, entitled Canova crowned by the Genius of Grecian sculpture. In early nineteenth-century Rome, only Antonio Canova rivalled Bertel Thorvaldsen as the pre-eminent Neoclassical sculptor. Thorvaldsen was known for the heroic quality of his work and never abandoned his fundamental classicizing ideals. His considerable reputation throughout Europe brought him many high-profile commissions from both public and private patrons and, to satisfy this demand, he ran a large and well-organized studio. In conjunction with this, his collection of contemporary paintings was considered the finest in Rome and, together with many of his sculptures, are now housed at the Thorvaldsen Museum, Copenhagen.
related literature B. Jørnæs, ‘Thorvaldsen, Bertel’, Grove Art Online, accessed May 30, 2017, http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/T084718
b e rt e l t h o rva l d s e n (1770–1840) Cupid with his Bow (Amorino), 1826–28 White Marble 100 cm (39 ¼ in.) high 50 cm (19 ¾ in.) wide 29 cm (11 ½ in.) deep s i g n e d AT (on the tree trunk) p r o v e na n c e Purchased in Rome directly from Thorvaldsen by Sir Michael Shaw Stewart (1788–1836), 6th Baronet, on 17 April 1828 and by descent, at Ardgowan House, Renfrewshire, United Kingdom, until 2015 l i t e r at u r e S. Grandesso, Bertel Thorvaldsen, 1770–1844, Milan, 2015, p. 278, no. 243.3
t h e s o n o f a wo o d c a rv e r from Iceland, Thorvaldsen grew up in Copenhagen, where in 1781 he was admitted to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts to train as a sculptor. A precocious talent, he won silver medals in 1787 and 1789, a minor gold medal in 1791 and, finally, a major gold medal in 1793 for a plaster bas-relief of The Apostles Peter and John healing a Lame Man. This prize was accompanied by a three-year scholarship to study abroad, but Thorvaldsen was only able to reap the benefits of his award in 1796, after the previous winner had returned. Having set sail for Italy on the frigate Thetis in August, the young artist reached Rome after an adventurous journey in March of the following year. He would always commemorate the day of his arrival as his ‘Roman Birthday’, an expression of regard for his adoptive home also reflected in his decision to change his name from the Nordic ‘Bertel to the Italian ‘Alberto’. As was customary for foreigners upon their arrival in the Eternal City, Thorvaldsen initially gravitated primarily around the community of his fellow Danish émigrés. Amongst them were the antiquarian and scholar Jörgen Zoëga (1755–1809) and the painter and critic Asmus Jacob Carstens (1754–1798), both of whom had significant influence on Thorvaldsen’s development as an artist, specifically with regards to his study of classical sculpture and of the theories of the noted archaeologist Johann Joachim Winkelmann. In 1797 Thorvaldsen opened his first Roman studio on vicolo Aliberti, on the corner with via del Babuino, a central thoroughfare then teeming with artists’ workshops, including that of the celebrated Antonio Canova. In 1803, when Thorvaldsen was about to return to Copenhagen following the end of his scholarship grant, the prominent English collector Thomas Hope (1769–1831) commissioned a marble version of his Jason with the Golden Fleece, a
subject Thorvaldsen had modelled in two clay versions, the second much praised by Zoëga and Canova. The latter is recorded as having commented, “This work by that young Dane has been done in a new and grand style” ( Jørnæs 2011, p. 46). Only completed in 1828, the Jason nevertheless constituted from the day of its inception a breakthrough in Thorvaldsen’s career: it caused a sensation amongst connoisseurs in his circle, allowed him to remain in Rome, and brought him fully to the attention of the prestigious community of foreign patrons in the city. Thorvaldsen’s fame rapidly became such that in 1811 Napoleon commissioned him to carve a frieze to adorn the Palazzo del Quirinale, his Roman residence, centred on the life of Alexander the Great. The result was a stunning one-metre-high and thirty-five-metre-long relief, which ultimately consecrated Thorvaldsen’s position as one of Europe’s leading sculptors. In 1818 Thorvaldsen returned to Copenhagen, where he was appointed professor at his alma mater, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, but already in 1820 he decided to make his way back to Italy, travelling via Germany, Poland and Austria. Upon Canova’s death two years later Thorvaldsen became the most senior and respected sculptor in the city, as confirmed by commissions such as Pope Pius VII’s funerary monument in St Peter’s Basilica (1823–31) and appointments such as the presidency of the prestigious Accademia di San Luca (1828), a post previously held by Canova. It was during this period of remarkable activity and success for Thorvaldsen that the present sculpture was acquired by Sir Michael Shaw Stewart, as recorded in a receipt of payment handwritten, signed and dated 17 April 1828 by the artist himself (fig. 1). The document, written in Italian, states that Thorvaldsen had received from “Milord Stewart” a hundred luigi d’oro, a sum that would have corresponded approximately to 450 Italian scudi, a price that matches closely those commanded by other Thorvaldsen commissions from the same period. Sir Michael Shaw Stewart, 6th Baronet of Greenock and Blackhall in the historic County of Renfrewshire, Scotland, had first sojourned in Rome as part of his Grand Tour in 1815–16. Throughout his stay, he had visited several artist’s workshops – first encouraged by Lord Cawdor, an early foreign patron of Canova – and taken a particular interest in the works of both this artist and Thorvaldsen. In 1827 Sir Michael set out again for the Continent, this time accompanied by his wife, and the pair remained in Italy until the summer of 1828. A fascinating insight
fig. 1 Receipt of payment for the present statue, handwritten by Thorvaldsen and dated 17 April 1828
into their encounter with Thorvaldsen is offered by an 1837 letter from Lady Shaw Stewart to the 10th Duke of Hamilton, who had expressed a wish to own an autograph of the great Danish sculptor: Dear Mr Hamilton Shortly after you called upon me one of my family became very unwell which occupied my thoughts a good deal, but he being now perfectly well I have remembered your wish to possess an autograph of Thorwaldsen. If you should shortly receive one from Norway or Denmark I sh.d be very glad indeed to have the enclosed back for it is rather an effort to me to part with it. Mr Knudtzon suggested the asking his friend to give a receipt & we stood by him in his studio while he wrote it. In case, by any chance, your friend who is collecting may meet with poor Lord Stuart & ask him about the statue I mention that the Purchaser was my Husband Sir Michael Shaw Stewart, & that the “Amorino” is at Ardgowan, Greenock where I wish you w.d Come & see it. Believe me Ys very truly EM Shaw Stewart Belgrave Sqre March 28 Some time later Hamilton duly returned “the enclosed”, the receipt of payment dated 17 April 1828 that accompanies the present sculpture to this day. The marble statue described in both the receipt and the letter as “Amorino” represents the ancient god of love Cupid, his left hand holding the tip of a bow and his right one clutching an arrow, the tools of his trade. His wings, their feathers minutely described by the sculptor’s chisel, are open, suggesting the young deity may set off any minute to commit further mischief. The figure’s
fig. 2 Cupid with the Bow Pencil on light blue-grey paper, 190 × 94 mm Thorvaldsen Museum, Copenhagen fig. 3 Cupid with the Bow Pencil on paper, 166 × 174 mm Thorvaldsen Museum, Copenhagen
pose, with one leg bent slightly forward and the shoulders’ axis shifted to one side, is reminiscent of ancient Greek contrapposto statues, such as Praxiteles’s famous Doryphorus, yet the overall composition is an invenzione of Thorvaldsen, who elaborated it in at least two drawings, today in the Thorvaldsen Museum in Copenhagen (figs. 2 and 3; inv. nos.C1081 and C1042), and first cast it in plaster around 1819, when he also executed the earliest marble version (both are preserved in the Thorvaldsen Museum, inv. nos. A36 and A819). The 1819 marble version of the Amorino is mentioned in the travel diaries of King Christian VIII of Denmark (1786–1848), who saw it in Thorvaldsen’s studio in December 1821, after it had been damaged by the collapse of a floor in the building. The present statue appears instead in workshop records, which state that an “Amorino in Piedi” (a standing Cupid) was begun in February 1826, with preparation of the marble carried out by an assistant named Amadeo, who had also worked on Jason and the Golden Fleece. The Amorino further progressed under two other assistants, Carlesi and Moisé, until, in October 1827, it was entrusted to Pietro Bonanni (b. 1810), who later worked with Pietro Tenerani. Thorvaldsen would have eventually finished the sculpture before it was sent to the polisher in February 1828. Such detailed workshop accounts offer an interesting glimpse into Thorvaldsen’s studio practice and accurately trace the genesis of our sculpture. Differently from the earlier plaster and marble, the present Cupid stands on a circular base, and the position of his bow is adjusted, gracefully resting between his leg and the tree-trunk, so as to create a more sinuous overall composition. Characteristic of Thorvaldsen is the present marble’s highly finished surface, which comes to life thanks to the contrast between the finely polished texture of Cupid’s flesh and the crisp, painstakingly picked-out surfaces of the tree-trunk and feathered wings, a technique that would be eagerly adopted by Thorvaldsen’s most talented pupil Pietro Tenerani. Equally distinctive of the Danish master is the combination of anatomical observation and idealization, which represent a distilled example of his aesthetic.
Subtly distancing himself from Canova’s search for beauty through a more sensual expressionism, Thorvaldsen espoused a stricter approach to classical antiquity, endowing his figures with an almost rarefied sense of emotion. Indeed their movements, like their surfaces, appear to inhabit a world apart from that of the flawed human senses and closer to that of the Olympians they portray.
related literature B. Jørnæs, The Sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, Copenhagen, 2011 E. di Majo et al., Bertel Thorvaldsen, 1770–1844: scultore danese a Roma, exh.cat., Rome, 1989 We are grateful to Frédérique Brinkerink for her contribution to this entry.
lo r e n zo ba rt o l i n i (1777–1850), attributed to Bust portrait of a man, early 19th century Marble 55.5 cm (21 ¾ in.) high 25 cm (9 ¾ in.) wide
lo r e n zo ba rt o l i n i was a Florentine who left to study art in Paris at a very young age. In Paris he made the acquaintance of both Ingres and David and soon came under the spell of Neoclassicism. Bartolini earned a silver medal from the Académie for his relief of Cleobis and Biton and Baron Dominique Denon, the Inspector General of Paris Museums, commissioned him to sculpt a bust of Napoleon for the column in the Place Vendôme, together with a relief of the Battle of Austerlitz. In 1808, the Emperor placed Bartolini in charge of his sculpture workshops at Carrara, and he remained there until Napoleon’s abdication, after which he returned to Florence, taking an academy professorship. He was, in his own lifetime, regarded as one of the most important Neoclassical sculptors by critics and connoisseurs throughout Europe and the United States, where his work was admired and keenly sought. This beautiful portrait of a young man, with deftly carved clumps of thick wavy hair and sharply incised eyes, is a fine example of the best portrait busts that were made during the early nineteenth century. It was a period when the work of Canova and Thorvaldsen cast a long shadow and the Neoclassical style they developed was the height of fashion. In general, both Canova and Thorvaldsen left the eyes of their sculptures blank, which created a somewhat more ‘immaterial’ representation of their subject and harked back to works made during the Roman Republic and the first century AD. Ancient Roman sculptors working in this period tended not to incise the iris and pupils because these were painted on – until the reign of the Emperor Hadrian, at the beginning of the second century, when sculptors began to incise these areas, which made their subjects somewhat more lively (Scherf 2007, p. 35). The emergence of the all’antica portrait accompanied the renewed interest in ancient art that first arose in Italy during the Renaissance. However, the zenith of its popularity was reached in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, following the widespread publication of J.J.Winckelmann’s Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums (History of Art of Antiquity) in 1764, which discussed and generated renewed interest in classical bust portraiture. When one surveys the art of this period, it is clear that a major characteristic of it is the proliferation of the sculpted portrait bust. This was perhaps due to the belief that the bust form was more effective than the statue at explicitly making the link between the present and the classical past (Baker 2007, p. 212).
related literature M. Tinti, Lorenzo Bartolini, 2 vols, Rome, 1936 G. Scherf, ‘Sculpted Portraits, 1770–1830: “Real Presences”’, in S. Allard et al. (eds.), Citizens and Kings, Portraits in the Age of Revolution, 1760–1830, London, 2007, pp. 25–36 M. Baker, ‘The Portrait after the Antique’, in ibid., pp. 212–16 F. Falletti, S. Bietoletti and A. Caputo (eds.), Lorenzo Bartolini: Beauty and Truth in Marble, Florence, 2011
r i c h a r d ja m e s w yat t (1795–1850) Nymph entering the Bath White marble 153 cm (60 ¼ in.) high 54 cm (21 ¼ in.) wide 48 cm (19 in.) deep s i g n e d R.J. WYATT. Fecit/ROMA (on the base) p r o v e na n c e Private collection, Italy
fig. 1 Photograph of Wyatt’s Nymph entering the Bath next to the Gothic Renaissance Sculpture Court, Crystal Palace, Sydenham, London, 1854
r i c h a r d ja m e s w yat t was one of the first sculptors to settle in Rome after the 1815 Congress of Vienna restored peace to Europe, following the precipitous rise and fall of Napoleon. Indeed Wyatt moved to the Eternal City in 1821 – having been invited by the great sculptor Antonio Canova to join his renowned studio – and remained in the capital, with little interruption, until his death in 1850. In the papal city Wyatt became an influential member of the well-established community of British artists, which included his close friend John Gibson and other prominent sculptors such as Joseph Gott, John Hogan, William Theed, Lawrence Macdonald and Thomas Campbell. As discussed in cat. no. 2, by the end of the 1820s Wyatt was one of Rome’s most established sculptors, his allegorical and female mythological figures highly sought after by the highest echelons of society both at home in England and on the Continent. Nymph entering the Bath appears to have been first executed in 1831 for Maximilian de Beauharnais, duc de Leuchtenburg (untraced) and subsequently, with variations, for the Brooke baronets at Colebrooke Park in Ireland, for Lord Canning, for Lord Wenlock, and for the Earl de Grey at Wrest Park. Other single-figure subjects by Wyatt included Diana as a Huntress, A Nymph of Diana, Flora, Penelope with the Bow of Ulysses and Glycera, whilst group compositions featured Flora and Zephyr, Ino and Bacchus and Shepherd Boy protecting his Sister from the Storm. Noted for his realism, Wyatt was also a successful portraitist and counted amongst his sitters several prominent members of the aristocracy, such as Arthur, 1st Duke of Wellington, Philip, 4th Earl of Stanhope, the Marquess of Anglesey, the Duke of Northumberland and the Duchess of Cleveland. Queen Victoria herself commissioned four statues from Wyatt, all to this day in the Royal Collection, including a pair (Diana as a Huntress and A Nymph of Diana) that she gave to her consort Prince Albert at Christmas in 1850. Wyatt’s themes are strongly rooted in classical mythology, and his modelling displays a clear grounding in the works of Canova and Thorvaldsen. Yet our artist adds to the vocabulary of antiquity and of his masters a distinctive sensibility
for human emotion and naturalistic movement, which endows his works with a freshness of character and individuality that herald the sensibilities of the age of Romanticism. This is manifest in Wyatt’s posthumous popularity at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and at the reopened Crystal Palace in 1854, where a version of the present Nymph entering the Bath was displayed next to the medievalist ‘Gothic Renaissance Sculpture Court’ (fig. 1). Count Hawks le Grice chose to describe Nymph entering the Bath in his widelyread 1841 Walks through the Studii of the Sculptors of Rome, praising the figure’s distinctive pose and gracious, emotionally charged gesture of bringing one foot towards the water, only to tentatively retract it. He wrote: This figure represents a beautiful young Nymph in the act of stepping into a bath; but on placing her foot on the surface of the water, she starts back with gentle timidity. The attitude is significant, graceful and chaste. Her fair form seems as pure as the element which she is about to enter, and presents the sylph-like lineaments and delicacy of the sylvan Nymph. There is a lightness and elasticity in her limbs, that would render her a fit companion for the goddess of the chase, or we might suppose her to be the Panic-struck Nymph Syrinx of Arcadia, changed into a reed (vol. I, p. 90).
c av. c i n c i n nat o ba ru z z i (1796–1878) Bust of a Muse, c. 1820 White marble 58 cm (22 ¾ in.) high s i g n e d Cav. Baruzzi (front lower centre) i n s c r i b e d Musa (front socle) p r o v e na n c e Private collection, Belgium l i t e r at u r e A. Mampieri, Cincinnato Baruzzi, Bologna, 2014, p. 234, no. 136
c i n c i n nat o ba ru z z i was born in 1796 in the Italian town of Imola, which lies 40 kilometres east of Bologna. Having initially trained at the Bolognese Accademia Clementina under the sculptor Giacomo De Maria (1787–1838), in 1817 Baruzzi moved to Rome, where he entered the studio of the great Antonio Canova, famously hailed by his contemporaries as the ﬁrst modern master to rival those of antiquity. In 1819 Baruzzi received from his alma mater a grant to remain in the Eternal City and, upon Canova’s death three years later, he was named director of the workshop by Canova’s step-brother and heir Giambattista Sartori Canova. In this capacity Baruzzi completed the works Canova had left unﬁnished and carved in marble a number of his models, such as the famous Hebe. Therefore, besides successful sculptures of his own invention, such as Psyche contemplating a Butterfly (Palazzo Milzetti, Faenza; Peterhof Castle, St Petersburg) and Sleeping Venus (Museo del Risorgimento, Bologna; Peterhof Castle, St Petersburg), Baruzzi also fulﬁlled Canovian commissions including the Dirce in Buckingham Palace, London, and executed in marble the Pietà for the church of San Salvatore in Terracina. This exquisite bust of a youthful female ﬁgure is inspired by a sculpture by Canova known as Ideal Head, carved in marble around 1817 and now preserved in the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. Baruzzi gave his version of this composition the title of Musa, meaning Muse, a clear reference to the classical world so central to both his own and Canova’s aesthetic. It was characteristic of the desire of nineteenth-century Neoclassical sculptors working in the tradition of Canova to choose mythological deities as their subjects, as these ‘supernatural’ beings offered an opportunity to explore the idealization of the human form, reached through formal purity and perfection. This preoccupation is already evident in Canova’s ‘Teste ideali’, the series of ideal heads that the Kimbell Art Museum model belongs to.
The connection our Musa establishes with antique models is not solely a stylistic one. Its carefully chosen title represents a reﬂection on the process of artistic creation, steeped in the classical tradition according to which the Muses functioned as beacons of inspiration. In other words, through this reference Baruzzi subtly likened himself to his ancient Greek and Roman predecessors, paying homage to the Muses as the divine patrons of his art. An image of striking beauty and serenity, the Musa thus embodies both the cultural and the technical principles at the heart of Baruzzi’s production. Characteristic traits include the recherché virtuosity of the headdress, the distilled naturalism of the facial features, the wonderfully smooth texture of the marble’s surface and the particular format of bust and socle. The same qualities appear most visibly in two other works by
our artist, the veiled Bust of a Muse now in the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Milan (1837) and the Bust of Flora formerly in the Massari collection (see Mampieri 2014, nos. 100 and 130 respectively). In 1831 Baruzzi was called back to Bologna to teach at the Accademia Clementina. During this period he focused on participating in the annual exhibitions at the Accademia di Brera in Milan in order to promote his reputation, especially in relation to his graceful representations of female ﬁgures. The circles of Lombard patrons that gravitated around the Brera – such as the noblemen Antonio Busca Serbelloni, Giorgio Raimondi and Filippo Ala Ponzone – were to play a key role in our artist’s career, introducing him to a large number of prominent ﬁgures and greatly increasing the demand for his works. For example, Baruzzi’s Eve tempted was acquired by Marquis Bolognini Attendolo and the banker Enrico Mylius, whilst his Salmacis encountered particular favour with foreign patrons in Rome, as indicated by the versions acquired by Lord Kinnaird, Lord Cavendish and the Austrian Count Heberstein. As Baruzzi’s ﬁrst scholar Mazzini observed, in 1837 “Baruzzi was deﬁned by Temistocle Solera as the Simonides and the Anacreon of sculpture, so full of grace and subtlety were his works”. Carlo Tenca, the most distinguished critic of the period, called him “the sculptor of grace” (see Cottignoli, ed., 1998, p. 5). Such testimonies highlight how Baruzzi was capable – even in the wake of Romanticism – of superbly interpreting classical subjects in sculpture, a ﬁeld dear to Canova, to whom he aspired to be the heir.
related literature G. Mazzini, Cincinnato Baruzzi: la vita, i tempi, le opere, Imola, 1949 Carlo Tenca, Scritti d’Arte, 1838–59, ed. A. Cottignoli, 1998
s i r f r a n c i s c h a n t r e y r a (1781–1841) Bust portrait of Alexander Knox (1757–1831), before 1832, perhaps c. 1821 Marble 63 cm (24 ¾ in.) high 33 cm (13 in.) wide
s i r f r a n c i s c h a n t r e y r a is another sculptor who is often referred to as ‘the British Canova’, and several of his most famous works are held by prestigious international institutions and museums, including the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh; National Portrait Gallery, London; Tate, London. For Roscoe, he was “the outstanding portrait sculptor of his generation” and an artist “particularly admired for his penetrating studies of character and the uncluttered contours of his busts and statues” (Roscoe 2009, p. 231). The impact of Canova’s art on Chantrey is perhaps less well known than on other British sculptors, such as John Gibson RA (1790–1866), but it was, perhaps, as equally influential. For example, Antonio Canova’s name and the date (1800) is carved into the rock next to the ancient Roman Fantiscritti relief of the third century AD, now at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Carrara. Beneath his, appear two more names – Chantrey 1819 and R.J. Wyatt 1820, most likely carved by each sculptor personally. This inscription serves as a visual reminder of Chantrey’s deliberate and self-conscious association with Canova and perhaps his aspiration to equal the Italian master’s artistic developments (Yarrington 2000, p. 132). Chantrey was a known admirer of Canova and collaborated in casting Canova’s Endymion in bronze on 15 March 1831 for the Duke of Devonshire (Yarrington 2000, p. 151). The artists became friends after Canova’s visit to London in 1815, soon after Chantrey had finished his statue of George III for the city’s Guildhall, which he showed Canova personally (Roscoe 2009, p. 231). Yet Chantrey was unequivocally his own artist and made work which was largely ‘British’ in subject and, arguably, character. For some, his work embodies ideas about national identity and seems less influenced by the work of Continental artists (Yarrington 2000, p. 133). This may be because, unlike many of his contemporaries, Chantrey did not travel to Italy until later in his career, around 1819, when he was 38 years of age. On 6 November 1828, the great Romantic painter J.M.W. Turner wrote to Chantrey from Rome, highlighting the current abundance of commercial opportunities for sculptors working in the city:
Sculpture, of course, first, for it carries away all the patronage, so it is said, in Rome; but all seem to share in the goodwill of the patrons of the day. Gott’s studio is full. Wyatt, Rennie, Ewing, Buxton, all employed, Gibson has two groups in hand, ‘Venus and Cupid’, and ‘The Rape of Hylas …” (Wilton 1987, pp. 156–57; Yarrington 2000, p. 137). However, this could not tempt Chantrey to establish a studio there and for the rest of his career he resolutely concerned himself with making wonderful portraits of British subjects in Britain. Almost all of Chantrey’s busts of ‘eminent men’ of the period are variants of similar classicizing types. Yet the portraits themselves are highly individualized and display naturalistic rendering of the subject’s physiognomy, rather than the more idealized representations of Canova and Thorvaldsen. He achieved such ground-breaking naturalism with the assistance of a mechanical device known as the camera lucida and devised an ingenious method of tracing the profile of the model (Scherf 2007, p. 34). His output and the popularity of his work during Chantrey’s own lifetime was such that, according to Malcolm Baker, “Our view of Regency England and its leading figures (or least leading men) is shaped as much by Chantrey’s portait busts as by Sir Thomas Lawrence’s painted portraits of the same sitters” (Baker 2007, p. 212). For Guilhem Scherf, “Chantrey was the perfect representative for the nation’s artistic identity, rivalling (in particular) Canova” (Scherf 2007, p. 27). In terms of the strategies of display employed in the presentation of these types of portrait busts, ‘galleries’ of such busts were often constructed in both the public and the private spaces of the period. Who was represented in these galleries could often be ‘read’ to reveal the socio-political allegiances of the patrons or owners of such spaces. For example, the Duke of Bedford and the Marquis of Rockingham, both important supporters of the Whig party, commissioned busts of Charles Fox and triumphantly surrounded it with those of his friends at the Temple of Liberty at Woburn Abbey and at the mausoleum at Wentworth Woodhouse, respectively (Scherf 2007, p. 28). It was common also to find busts of writers, scholars, theologians and other ‘great men’ (such as the present bust represents) occupying the libraries of Europe in the first half of the nineteenth century. Interestingly, this strategy of display
fig. 1 Henry Adlard after Sir Francis Leggatt Chantrey Alexander Knox Stipple engraving, published 1834, 22.3 cm × 14.4 cm National Portrait Gallery, London, inv. NPG D10739
had clear classical precedent, for Pliny the Elder writes of “the custom is to erect effigies in libraries … in honour of those whose immortal souls speak to us in just such places as these” (Natural History, Book xxxv). The present characterful bust represents a wonderful portrait of the theologian and private secretary to Viscount Castlereagh, Alexander Knox (1757–1831), a descendant of the Scottish reformer John Knox. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, may also have had an influence on the young Knox, as he was a close friend of his parents. As soon as he could, Knox threw himself into political activism, first coming under the spell of republicanism, then turning into a staunch opponent of radicalism by 1795. A skilled writer, he published a number of essays between 1795 and 1797, later compiled as Essays on the Political Circumstances of Ireland (1799). These raised many convincing arguments about the state of Ireland, and appear to have made an impression on Robert, Viscount Castlereagh, later to become the Marquess of Londonderry, who invited him to become his private secretary. Castlereagh became British Foreign Secretary in 1812 and played a vital strategic role in the defeat of Napoleon. He was chief British diplomat at the Congress of Vienna and became Leader of the House of Commons. As Chief Secretary for Ireland, he suppressed the Irish Rebellion of 1798 and secure the passing of the Act of Union. In the wake of the rebellion, Castlereagh gave Knox the responsibility for drawing up the report of the secret committee of the House of Commons on the origins and causes of the violence, which was presented to Parliament on 21 August 1798. As private secretary, Knox was particularly successful in advising Castlereagh on religious questions. Among Knox’s influential friends were William Wilberforce, Charles Brodrick, Archbishop of Cashel, and John Jebb, Bishop of Limerick. Indeed, many of Jebb’s ideas can be traced directly back to Knox, who is seen as an important influence on the Oxford Movement. He lived at Dawson Street, Dublin, and also at the home of his friends the Latouche family, in the Wicklow mountains. This bust is known from an engraving by Henry Adlard, made before 1834, with the accompanying calligraphic annotation: Alexander Knox Esq. From a Bust by Chantrey (fig. 1). Chantrey also carved a bust of Castlereagh, in 1821, and since Knox was his almost equally famous private secretary and adviser, it is more than possible that Chantrey carved Knox’s portrait concurrently. In 1821, Knox would have been 64 years old, which is certainly around the age that he appears to be in
Chantrey’s depiction of him, with head slightly bowed, pausing, appearing deep in conversation, as if contemplating an important theological question, or political problem, about which to advise Castlereagh.
related literature C. Binfield (ed.), Sir Francis Chantrey: Sculptor to an Age, Sheffield, 1981 A. Potts, Sir Francis Chantrey, 1781–1841: Sculptor of the Great, exh. cat., National Portrait Gallery, London, 1990 S. Dunkerley, Francis Chantrey, Sculptor: From Norton to Knighthood, Sheffield, 1995 A.Yarrington, ‘Anglo-Italian attitudes, Chantrey and Canova’, in C. Sicca and A. Yarrington (eds.),The Lustrous Trade, Material Culture and the History of Sculpture in England and Italy c.1700–c.1860, Leicester, 2000, pp. 132–55 M. Baker, ‘The Portrait after the Antique’, in S. Allard et al. (eds.), Citizens and Kings, Portraits in the Age of Revolution, 1760–1830’, London, 2007, pp. 212–16 G. Scherf, ‘Sculpted Portraits, 1770–1830: “Real Presences”’, ibid. I. Roscoe et al., A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain, 1660–1851, New Haven and London 2009, ‘Chantrey, Sir Francis Legatt RA 1781–1841’, pp. 231–53 ‘Francis Legatt Chantrey’, Benezit Dictionary of Artists, http://www. oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/benezit/B00035511, accessed 19 May 2017
b e n e d et t o b o s c h et t i (active from c. 1820) after a n t o n i o c a n o va Hebe Bronze 62 cm (24 ½ in.) high s i g n e d B Boschetti Roma (on the base)
" t h i s e s ta b l i s h m e n t i s – particularly – conspicuous for its great variety of marble works, bronzes, candelabras, table-tops, etc. besides a rich collection of the best mosaics and shell engravings”: thus Francesco Saverio Bonfigli described Benedetto Boschetti’s workshop in his Guide to the Studios in Rome (1860), a handbook aimed at assisting travellers make their way through the city’s cobbled streets, one artist’s bottega after the other. Situated at the heart of the Eternal City, at 74 via Condotti, Boschetti’s atelier was famous among contemporaries for the exceptional quality of its works after illustrious models, and highly sought-after by the ever-growing number of foreigners visiting Rome as part of their Grand Tour. One such model was Antonio Canova’s Hebe, a composition that caused a sensation upon the presentation of its first version in 1796, and that would rapidly go on to become one of the master’s most famous. In ancient Greek mythology Hebe was the goddess of youth, daughter of Zeus and Hera, and cupbearer to her fellow Olympians. She was the fourth and last wife of the hero Heracles (Hercules), once he had shed his mortal body and joined the gods on Mount Olympus. By the second half of the eighteenth century Hebe had become a highly popular artistic subject, her identification with youth making it a favourite for allegorical representations and portraits. Canova chose to portray the goddess in her role as cupbearer, the raised hand clutching a small jug and the lowered one holding a wine cup. Supported by a cloud in the first two versions and by a more classicizing tree-trunk in the last two, Hebe touches the ground solely with the tips of her toes, her figure weightlessly suspended in mid air. Canova’s earliest marble Hebe was commissioned by the Venetian nobleman Giuseppe Giacomo Albrizzi in 1795 and completed the following year. In 1830, it was acquired by the King of Prussia, Frederick William III (Berlin, Nationalgalerie). A second version, carved from the same model as the first, was bought by Josephine de Beauharnais, Napoleon’s first wife, in 1801 and displayed in the Château de Malmaison until, in 1814, it was transferred to the Hermitage in St Petersburg, its home to the present day. A third Hebe, executed in 1808–14, was carved for Lord Cawdor but purchased soon after its completion by the 6th Duke of Devonshire for his Sculpture Gallery at Chatsworth House, its current location.
A fourth and last iteration, based on the Chatsworth version and as such slightly differing from the first two, was commissioned by Countess Veronica Guarini for her palace in Forlì and executed by Canova in 1816–17 (fig. 1). Canova’s Hebe received extensive praise for its exquisite finish and novel composition, although the master’s decision to introduce polychrome elements such as the jug and cup, and to varnish the nude parts of the body – inspired by recent archaeological discoveries – solicited some surprise. One aspect of the statue that was considered particularly successful was its modelling in the round, with its superb suggestion of lightness and movement heightened by the finely carved, buoyant folds of Hebe’s gown. Boschetti skilfully recreated this effect in his bronze homage to Canova, paying equal attention to the flow of the drapery and to the nimble quality of the figure’s anatomy.
fig. 1 Antonio Canova, Hebe, 1816–17 Marble, 158 cm high Forlì, Pinacoteca Civica
Canova and his Legacy TOMASSO BROTHERS FINE ART
Canova and his Legacy