Tomasso Brothers - Scultura III

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paul holberton publishing

SCULTURA III 21‒31 October 2010 at Otto Naumann Ltd. 22 East 80th Street 10075 New York

acknowledgements Tomasso Brothers Fine Art would like to express their gratitude to the following art historians and colleagues for their contribution to the present catalogue: Charles Avery Andrea Bacchi Charlotte Conboy Arcadia Fletcher Alison Luchs Carolyn Miner Sophie Richard Eike Schmidt

tomasso brothers fine art Bardon Hall, Weetwood Lane, Leeds, ls16 8hj, England Tel: +44 (0) 113 275 5545

foreword Excellence is a thing which some of us strive for – even in this dumbed-down, television-fed world. In Britain, excellence is still associated with the Royal Society, the British Academy and the great art galleries, museums, libraries, universities and research institutes of our land. Hanging on by their fingernails are the Third Programme on the radio, The Times Literary Supplement, and, for us in the art world, the Burlington Magazine and a few other learned journals. Too many of us suffer from an acute lack of cultural stimulation and are fearful of anything that is monochrome, three-dimensional, religious, or foreign. Thankfully the Tomasso brothers are a family richly endowed with great sensitivity to sculpture, the field where the mind in association with the hand creates tactile sonnets of searing truth and beauty. They acquire bronzes, marbles, terracottas, waxes, ivories and wooden sculptures which they display with taste and accompany with intelligent and lively catalogues. What is a near miracle is that all this happens not in Florence, not in Paris, not in Monte Carlo, nor even in London, but in Leeds. The Tomasso brothers do not hanker after regionalism. They are not impressed by the pressure of the art market that requires sensationalism. They strive to deal in excellence. This is a difficult commodity to find and, when found, only recognised by the few. Really good sculpture is increasingly rare but, as collectors, excellence should also be our target. I salute the Tomasso family for having the nerve and confidence to deal in the sort of serious sculpture that, when contemplated, is capable of enriching and enhancing all our lives. sir timothy clifford August 2010


SCULTURA III 1. genoese, first quarter 14th century, Five relief panels from an altar screen 2. luca della robbia (studio of ) The Madonna and Child with a Choir of Angels 3. italian, 15th century, St Catherine of Siena 4. benedetto da maiano and neri di bicci (workshop of ) The Virgin and Child with Saint John 5. french, c. 1500, King Louis XII of France 6. simone bianco (attributed to), Head of an Idealized Woman all’Antica 7. vincenzo and gian girolamo grandi Profile Portrait Relief of a Classical Heroine 8. guglielmo della porta Head of a Cherub, after the Monument of Pope Paul III in St Peter’s, Rome 9. domenico poggini, Bust of a Youth in a Cuirass 10. antonio susini (after a model by Giambologna) Hercules carrying the Erymanthian Boar and Hercules and Antaeus 11. giovanni francesco susini (after Antonio Susini) The Farnese Bull (The Punishment of Dirce) 12. nicolò roccatagliata, Pax of the Pietà, with the Risen Christ 13. ferdinando tacca (after Giambologna), Venus after the Bath 14. francesco di virgilio fanelli, Cupid astride a Dolphin 15. florentine, 17th century, giambologna ⁄ antonio susini (follower of ), A Lion savaging a Bull and A Lion savaging a Horse 16. joseph willems, A Black Man in Ragged Clothes with a Bowl 17. joseph claus, Bust of the Emperor Caracalla 18. josse-françois-joseph leriche, An Allegorical Bust of Autumn 19. joseph chinard, Portrait of a Man 20. john gibson (attributed to), Female Classical Bust

“I worked on all my days happily and with ever new pleasure, avoiding evil and with a calm soul; making images, not for worship but for the love of the beautiful.� John Gibson



genoese , first quarter 14th century Five relief panels from an altar screen White marble, each panel approximately 13 ½ x 13 ½ in. (34 x 34 cm) provenance: Bardini collection, Florence, c. 1900 The five square white marble panels are carved in deep relief with a variety of figurative, foliate and floral motifs within a small frame. One panel shows a winged bull, symbol of the Evangelist Luke, standing before a foliate ground, his tail swishing, wings outstretched and his head facing towards the viewer. He stands with his left foreleg uplifted and his right foreleg standing upon a Bible, which has an elaborate binding with punch-work decoration and straps. Another panel has a deeply cut rose ornament in the centre framed by a vine tendril with leaves and grapes. A third has a central flower motif with four others in each corner on a foliate ground. The border is decorated with a herringbone pattern. A fourth panel has central quadripartite foliation encased in an acanthus-leaf frame surrounded by vine-tendril ornament with leaves and grapes. The fifth panel is similar to the third in that it has a central flower motif and four smaller blooms in the corners on an acanthus-leaf background. These panels are part of a group, which probably formed part of a choir screen or a high altar. Fourteen other panels from the same group are still in the Bardini collection (Florence, Museo Bardini). Within this group there are other Evangelist symbols, in particular a lion of Saint Mark, which is very close in style and composition to the present bull of Saint Luke. The design is similar, the beast filling the panel, its wings outstretched before a foliate ground, its head turned to face the viewer. There is a slight variation in so far as the lion is holding the Bible between its front paws rather than standing on it – demonstrating the playfulness of the carver. Together with the present relief showing the bull this lion relief was part of a series of four which would have included the eagle of Saint John and the angel of Saint Matthew. Another Bardini panel, in which an eagle is represented, might be the third panel from that group, as the eagle is in a similar position within the panel and is also standing on a Bible. In the Museo Bardini panels there are variations of the floral and foliate motifs as found here, carved in similar styles, notably some examples carved with a crispness like that of the fifth relief here. Faedo relates the Museo Bardini group to Genoese sculpture of the first quarter of the fourteenth century and compares some of the group to relief panels from the church of San Francesco di Castello in Genoa. a.f. related literature E. Neri Lusanna Lucia Faedo et al., Il Museo Bardini a Firenze, vol. 2, Milan 1986, pp. 219–20, pls. 120–33; V. Niemeyer Chini, Stefano Bardini e Wilhelm Bode, mercanti e connoisseurs fra Ottocento e Novecento, Florence, 2009, pp. 196 and 201



luca della robbia (1400–1482) (Studio of )

The Madonna and Child with a Choir of Angels Stucco, with traces of polychromy 18 in. (46 cm) diameter; 23¼ in. (59 cm) high; 23 in. (58.5 cm) wide provenance: Charles ( J.C.) Robinson; J. Pierpont Morgan, London/New York; given by him in 1917 to the Wadsworth Athenaeum Art Museum, Hartford, Connecticut exhibited: The Royal Academy, Winter Exhibition, Burlington House, London, 1888, case C, no. 7; The Burlington Fine Arts Club, Burlington House, London, 1912, ‘Sculpture’, no. 18 This roundel records a significant, early, devotional composition by the up-and-coming Luca della Robbia as he emerged from the seminal experience of Ghiberti’s workshop for the first set of bronze doors for the Florence Baptistry. The graceful hovering angels, with their calligraphic folds of drapery, mark a debt to his master Ghiberti. He also observed the trajectory of Donatello (some thirteen years older than him) from that workshop into the public eye, with his early statues of saints and prophets and his reliefs fashioned in very shallow relief, like the exhibition piece. Luca had reached the peak of his artistic prowess by 1436, having been commissioned to carve a Cantoria (Singing gallery) to match another by Donatello for the crossing of the newly domed Cathedral. The present rare Early Renaissance piece of sculpture is known in no more than a few other examples, of which the best (though worn) is a modelled plaque in terracotta in the Louvre: despite some earlier scholars’ doubts, this has now been proved to be authentic. In the Louvre piece, within an outer rectangle, the circle with the figures is inscribed, presumably in order to produce a mould, from which a bronze might have been intended to be cast. Otherwise only casts in stucco are known, but this is not to say that a bronze medallion, similar to a surviving one that Luca cast for the sacramental tabernacle in Sant’Egidio, Florence (now in the church of Peretola, with the roundel being kept in the Bargello) was not made. As Pope-Hennessy writes (1980, p. 257): “The analogies with authenticated works by Luca are too close to enable the lost original to be ascribed to any other hand”. The present cast was well catalogued by the leading lights of their day, in 1912 by Mr (later Sir) Eric (R.D.) Maclagan, later Keeper of Sculpture at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and in 1980 by his successor in that post, Sir John Pope-Hennessy, who wrote as follows (1980, p. 76, selected text): “No doubt Luca, at this and at an earlier time, produced other small-scale bronze reliefs. The only two of which we have a record are also generically Ghibertesque. The first shows the Virgin seated on clouds with the Child in her lap, surrounded by six flying angels, which seem, in their staid fashion, to depend from the angels modelled by Ghiberti for the Arca di San Zenobio. The composition is known from upwards of nine versions in stucco and terracotta, sometimes circular, and sometimes, as in a version in the Louvre, a circle impressed within a square, all of which seem to have been made, at first or second hand, from a single superior original. The known versions are unequal in quality, and it was inferred by Marquand from their uniformity that they were modern (as, indeed, some of them may be). In some cases, as we might expect, they show traces of gilding or pigmentation, and there is every reason to suppose that they were made commercially. The prototype must have been well known, since it is recorded by a Pisanello follower in a drawing in the Ambrosiana in Milan, in which certain details have been modified” (on which see now Gentilini and Fornasari 2009, p. 174, no. 12, ill.). 12

The sculptural image of the Virgin and Child in a roundel was not common before the Renaissance: Hauptmann regarded as the earliest example an ivory book cover of the tenth century in Berlin, which corresponds closely to contemporary Byzantine mosaics (Hauptmann 1936, p. 111, fig. 22). The first fully sculptural treatment in an Italian context appears to be a marble roundel in the Collegiata at Empoli from the school of the Pisani, which is only 35 cm in diameter (Hauptmann 1936, p. 113, fig. 23): its original purpose and context are not known, but it is interesting to see how the figures are deliberately related to the circular frame. Then there is a class of roundels with the Virgin and Child to be found on Neapolitan sarcophagi of the fourteenth century (Hauptmann 1936, p. 113, n. 4; PopeHennessy and Lightbown 1964, no. 40). A link with Tuscany in the person of Tino di Camaino might be presumed, but no such sarcophagi survive, if they ever existed, in Florence. There, the Virgin and Child featured in frames of various, typically Gothic, shapes on tombs of the late fourteenth century, finally to emerge in a semi-circular lunette on the tomb by Donatello and Michelozzo for the anti-pope John XXIII in the Baptistry at Florence (c. 1424–27). Not until Bernardo Rossellino’s tomb of Leonardo Bruni (d. 1444) did the image appear in a completely circular frame, consistent with the geometrical purity of early Renaissance architecture. Thenceforth, the roundel of the Virgin and Child was to be a standard component of the ‘humanist tomb’, as proposed by Antonio Rossellino, Desiderio da Settignano, Mino da Fiesole and Benedetto da Maiano, to mention only the most famous exponents. c.a. related literature Catalogue of a Collection of Italian Sculpture and Other Plastic Art of the Renaissance, exh. cat., Burlington Fine Arts Club, London, 1913, pp. 38–39, ‘Sculpture’, no. 18; A. Marquand, Luca della Robbia, London, Oxford, 1914, pp. 229–31 (after earlier acceptance, sceptical of their authenticity); M. Hauptmann, Der Tondo, Frankfurt-am-Main, 1936; J. Pope-Hennessy and R. Lightbown, Catalogue of Italian Sculpture in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1964, no. 40; J. Pope-Hennessy, Luca della Robbia, Oxford, 1980, pp. 67, 257, cat. no. 45, pl. 94B; G.C. Gentilini, I Della Robbia: la scultura invetriata nel Rinascimento, Florence, 1992, p. 24 (illus. p. 20); A. Darr, P. Barnet and A. Boström, Catalogue of Italian Sculpture in the Detroit Institute of Arts, London, 2002, II, pp. 219–20, no. 265 (their cast as of doubtful authenticity); J.-R. Gaborit and M. Bormand (eds.), Les della Robbia, exh. cat., Nice, 2002, p. 96, no. IV.1; G. BrescBautier (ed.), Les Sculptures européennes du museé du Louvre, Paris, 2006, p. 126; G.C. Gentilini and L. Fornasari, I Della Robbia: il dialogo tra le Arti nel Rinascimento, exh. cat., Museo statale, Arezzo, 2009, pp. 315–16, no. 11 (illus. p. 174) .



italian , 15th century Saint Catherine of Siena White marble, high relief 15 in. (38 cm) high This intimately scaled depiction of a monastic saint is highly likely to represent the Dominican Saint Catherine of Siena, a famous mystic who had visions from a very early age. She spent much of her time visiting the poor and the sick during her life. After Pope Gregory XI excommunicated the government of Florence and placed the city under interdict in 1376, Saint Catherine interceded on the Florentines’ behalf. She travelled to Avignon, where she so impressed the pope by her fairmindedness and discretion that he left it to her to draw up the terms on which the Florentines might be reinstated. At this period Italy, and especially Florence, was in turmoil, which Saint Catherine attributed to the pope’s residence in Avignon instead of Rome. Thereafter she wrote letters to the pope, which were successful in persuading him to return to Rome. Throughout the history of art Saint Catherine has been portrayed many times, most often in her youthful mystic marriage to Christ, but she is also often represented, as in the present marble, as an older woman holding her Dialogue, a bound book of her writings. The author of the present sculpture remains unidentified but the work shows close affinities to the world of the Lombard sculptor Jacopino da Tradate (c. 1371–1445.) For example, his figure of the Mourning Madonna at the foot of the cross in Sant’Eustorgio, Milan, has great similarities, notably in the way the sculptor has formed the folds of cloth and also in the stance of the two figures. related literature L. Cavazzini, Il crepuscolo della scultura medievale in Lombardia, Milan, 2004, pls. 135 and 138.



benedetto da maiano (1442–1497) and neri di bicci (1418–1492) (Workshop of )

The Virgin and Child with Saint John Stucco, within original period frame, all painted and gilded Overall 32¾ x 24 in (83 x 62 cm) Stucco (sight): 24¾ x 16½ in (63 x 42 cm) Benedetto was a Florentine sculptor, born in the quarry-village of Maiano and, like his brother Giuliano, trained as a wood-carver, matriculating in the Florentine sculptors’ guild in 1473. He was associated with Antonio Rossellino and continued his tradition of fine marble carving for chapels, tombs, pulpits and portrait-busts. Narrative reliefs were Benedetto’s forte, for example those on the pulpit of Santa Croce, Florence (terracotta models in the Victoria and Albert Museum), and he produced many charming compositions of the Virgin and Child. He influenced High Renaissance marble sculptors such as Andrea Sansovino and Michelangelo. The exhibition relief has been primed and professionally painted, with particular attention to the elaborate woven patterns of the Virgin’s clothing. The haloes and her collar and cuffs have stamped ornaments to enliven the gilding, comparable with those used on panel paintings of the period. The rest of the textiles have been painted in the technique known, from its frequent use in Spain, as ‘al estofado’, whereby certain areas of the gilding were reserved by covering them with fine lines of wax so that when, as here, the red paint was applied over the Virgin’s dress, or the greyish white over her veil, a fine network of lines describing the pattern in the supposed weave of the fabric was revealed as the wax was removed. An alternative technique, obtaining an even finer line, of delicate scratching was used elsewhere in the present work, for example on the green hem of the Virgin’s golden cloak, on the criss-cross, plain zones of the delicate piece of damask (?) cloth with which she holds the baby Jesus, and on the multicoloured stripes at either end of the cloth (or around its border?). In one such stripe, within a pattern of circles, may be read the word AVE (near the chin of little Saint John the Baptist), the first word of the standard devotion to the Virgin, as uttered at the Annunciation by the Angel Gabriel – “Ave Maria, plena gratia”, Hail Mary, full of grace. The remainder of the inscription is obviously meant to be concealed by the folds of the cloth, which would notionally contain the body of the holy Child. The extremely skilful level of painting suggests the probable intervention of the bestknown painter of such things, Neri di Bicci, who also had close connections with Benedetto’s brother Giuliano, an architect, cabinet-maker, inlayer and wood-carver. Neri’s Ricordanze (memoranda) running from 1453 to 1475 are “the most extensive surviving document in relation to a 15th-century painter” (Santi 1996, p. 797). Neri’s paintings, with their simple and clearly identifiable style, lavishly adorned with gold, azurite and lakes, were keenly sought after throughout his career by the most varied clientele, representing every stratum of society from the ruling class of Florence to the artisans of the Chianti region, from noble families like the Spini, Soderini and Rucellai to small Florentine shopkeepers, and from the abbots of powerful religious orders like the Vallombrosans of Santa Trinità and San Pancrazio to ordinary parish priests from the surrounding countryside. Two examples of collaboration between Benedetto’s brother and Neri di Bicci noted in the Ricordanze (Santi 1991, pp. 145–46) may be mentioned here. On 23 April 1464, a merchant called Giovanni di Guarnieri Benci commissioned Giuliano to supply a wooden frame for a glazed terracotta Madonna by Luca della Robbia, and on 8 December the same year Giuliano 18


commissioned Neri to colour and gild a gesso Madonna intended for a “muratore” (mason) from a small village between Florence and Impruneta. These give an interesting indication of the social standing of some clients for such Madonnas, which were prerequisites for any respectable marital bedchamber, as the Mother of God – if well prayed to – was believed to offer kindly surveillance for the wife over the risky process of childbirth. This charming composition, with the cherub’s head below, is known in several private and museum collections, among them Berlin, Staatliche Museen (no. 1581); Budapest, Museum of Fine Arts; London, Victoria and Albert Museum (no. 860-1891; Pope-Hennessy, 1964, no. 137); Paris, Musée Jacquemart-André; St Petersburg, Hermitage (no. H. ck. 1037). There are also several examples in terracotta or stucco of just the panel with the Virgin and Child, for example London, Victoria and Albert Museum (no. 5-1890), which is set in a round-headed frame and all painted (Pope-Hennessy 1964, no. 136). Pope-Hennessy writes: “Whether the surviving versions depend from a lost marble prototype cannot be established, but there is no reason to question Benedetto da Majano’s responsibility for the design, which seems to have originated in the same bracket of time as the Virgin and Child on the Strozzi monument in Santa Maria Novella, Florence [unfinished in 1491]”. c.a. related literature (On the sculptor) F. Schottmüller, Die Italienischen und Spanischen Bildwerke der Renaissance und des Barock. Erster Band: Die Bildwerke in Stein, Holz, Ton und Wachs, 2nd edn, Berlin and Leipzig, 1933; J. PopeHennessy, Catalogue of Italian Sculpture in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1964, pp. 161–62, nos. 136–37, figs. 158, 160; S. Androssov, in M. Liebmann (ed.), Western European Sculpture from Soviet Museums, 15th and 16th Century, Leningrad, 1988, pp. 38–39, no. 14; E. Smodi-Eszlary, The Treasures of the Old Sculpture Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, n. d., pp. 17–19, fig. 7; G.M. Radke, ‘Benedetto da Maiano’, in J. Turner (ed.), The Dictionary of Art, London and New York, 1996, vol. 20, pp. 113–16; V. Budny, ‘Benedetto da Maiano’, in A. Bostrom (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Sculpture, London and New York, 2004, vol. I, pp. 147–51; D. Carl, Benedetto da Maiano, ein Florentiner Bildhauer an der Schwelle zur Hochrenaissance, Regensburg, 2006, pp. 68–74 (On the painter) B. Santi, ‘Giuliano da Maiano e Neri di Bicci. Due botteghe quattrocentesche in collaborazione’, in D. Lamberini, M. Lotti and R. Lunardi, Giuliano e la bottega dei da Maiano: Atti del Convegno Internazionale di Studi, Fiesole 13–15 giugno 1991, Florence, 1994, pp. 143–47; B. Santi, ‘Neri di Bicci’, in J. Turner (ed.), The Dictionary of Art, London and New York, 1996, vol. 22, pp. 797–803



french , c. 1500 King Louis XII of France Polychromed oak with extensive traces of the original paint and silvering 39 1⁄2 x 14 x 8 1⁄2 in. (110.5 x 36 x 20.5 cm) provenance: The Cloisters Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of George Blumenthal, 1941 This beautiful and serene figure of Louis XII, King of France (1468–1515), dating from around 1500, retains the majority of its original polychromy. Carved statues of French kings in the round are exceptionally rare from this period and this sculpture, which is perhaps from an altarpiece recording the King’s accession to the throne in 1499, was possibly removed from its original position during the Revolution. Louis XII is presented in royal vestment; he wears a blue mantle with gold fleur-de-lis ornament, a gold and jewelled trimming and a large fur collar. On his head he wears a crown, the design of which conforms to the type subsequently attributed to the French Princes of the Blood, as illustrated in Le Trophée d’Armes Heraldiques, Paris, 1650, plate 24, and in the Grand Armorial de France, plate 1. His left arm is raised and he probably originally held a sceptre. Around his neck he wears the collar of the order of Saint Michael, consisting of scallop shells linked on a chain with a badge showing Saint Michael killing the dragon. The original polychrome on the face is carefully rendered to create a subtle dark shadow for the beard, and the delicate rosy cheeks create a wonderfully realistic and sensitive depiction of the French King. Louis XII came to the throne at the age of 36 as heir to the childless Charles VIII. His main military campaigns were all centred towards Italy, where he laid claim to the throne of Naples and that of Milan through his grandfather Louis of Orleans’s marriage to Valentina Visconti. He married the widow of his predecessor, Anne of Brittany, and upon her death in January 1514 he married Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII of England, in order to detach England from the alliance against him. related literature S. Rubinstein-Bloch, Catalogue of the Collection of George and Florence Blumenthal, Paris, 1926, vol. II, pl. IX (right)



simone bianco (before 1512–after 1553) (Attributed to)

Head of an Idealized Woman all’Antica White marble 17 in. (44.5 cm) high This portrait bust of a woman exhibits the characteristics of Simone Bianco’s greatest works – exquisite modelling, wavy hair restrained by a ribbon, a head turned and tilted to the right, and a wistful and reflective expression. Formed by the sculptural style of Tullio Lombardo (1460–1532), Bianco was celebrated in sixteenth-century Venice for his all’antica portrait busts. The earliest reference to Bianco’s marble portraits is in a letter of 1538 to the sculptor from Pietro Aretino (1492–1556), discussing three busts Bianco had sent to Francis I of France. The letter demonstrates that the superlative quality and pathos with which Bianco modelled his sculpture was also recognized far beyond the city of Venice (Aretino 1609, p. 74). Further correspondence between Aretino and Bianco in 1548 mentions Bianco’s bust of the wife of a certain Nicolò Molino. Aretino explains that the bust delighted not only him, but also Titian (1488–1576) and Jacopo Sansovino (1486–1570). The present bust is stylistically similar to Bianco’s bust in Berlin, once thought to have portrayed the wife of Nicolò Molino, but follows a more classical formula. As his career progressed, Simone Bianco became increasingly influenced by Sansovino and began to produce heads inspired more directly by antique prototypes. As such, the date of this all’antica portrait can be placed between the Berlin bust and the more rigorously classical busts which followed, namely those in Paris and Copenhagen (Schulz 1995, pp. 445–47). The present work is a manifestation of ideal beauty as conceived in the Venetian Renaissance; it is a marriage of the expressiveness of Titian with the disciplined classicism of Sansovino. The humanistic climate of Renaissance Venice fostered the revival of sculpture inspired by antiquity. However, whereas Tullio Lombardo sought primarily to challenge ancient sculpture, Bianco responded to the desire of many sixteenth-century collectors to possess all’antica portraits. Referred to in documents simply as teste (meaning head or bust), these portraits were more often of women than of men and were not only stand-alone works but occasionally replaced a lost ancient head on Roman busts, as in the present example (Luchs, p. 63). In 1532 Marcantonio Michiel wrote of a marble “head of a woman with her mouth open” by a modern sculptor which was given by the Venetian collector Gabriele Vendramin “for the antique marble torso” of Antonio Pasqualigo (Luchs 2009, p. 16, no. 22). As very few of Bianco’s works survive, it is tempting, although entirely speculative, to suggest that Michiel was discussing this all’antica portrait; indeed Michiel wrote of Bianco in a different context that same year, indicating he was familiar with the sculptor. Simone Bianco’s stylistic debt to Tullio is evident in his adaptation of contemporary Venetian portrait painting to his sculpture. However, Bianco demonstrated his own sensibility by melding the revival of the antique with a contemporary aesthetic. c.m. related literature M. Michiel, Notizia d’opere di disegno nella prima metà del secolo XVI, 1521‒48, ed. J. Morelli, Bassano, 1800; L. Planicig, ‘Simone Bianco’, Belvedere, vol. v, 1924, pp. 157–63; Pietro Aretino, Lettere sull’arte di Pietro Aretino, 1609, ed. F. Pertile and E. Camesasca, Milan, 1957–59, vol. 1, p. 120, no. 76; T. Martin, ‘Michelangelo’s “Brutus” and the Classicizing Portrait Bust in Sixteenth-Century Italy’, Artibus et Historiae, vol. xiv, no. 27, 1993, pp. 67–83; A. Luchs, Tullio Lombardo and Ideal Portrait Sculpture in Renaissance Venice, Cambridge, 1995; M. Schulz, ‘Simone Bianco’, Saur 10, 1995, pp. 445–47; A. Luchs, Tullio Lombardo and Venetian High Renaissance Sculpture, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, 2009, p. 64, fig. 4



vincenzo and gian girolamo grandi (1493–1577/8 and 1508–1560 respectively)

Profile Portrait Relief of a Classical Heroine, c. 1525 White marble 12¼ x 9½ in. (31 x 24 cm) Vincenzo and his nephew Gian Girolamo worked in tandem throughout the second and third quarters of the sixteenth century. They came from a family of sculptors and bronze casters who originated in Vicenza, but their main centres of activity became Trento and Padua. They were involved in many architectural projects and in interior decoration schemes in these regions, most notably at the Castle in Trento. Although they were associated with producing domestic bronze vessels the Grandi were equally adept at carving marbles. The classicizing profile, and the three-quarter profile portrait in marble, were reintroduced into the world of sculpture during the reign of Emperor Frederick II in South Italy in the thirteenth century, but reached their peak at the turn of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, during the lifetimes of the great Venetian sculptors Pietro and Tullio Lombardo and their circle. This type of sculptural representation owes much to the ancient prototypes that were avidly studied by all the great Quattrocento artists, leading to a full renaissance of classical ideals, many of which are illustrated in the present marble. The woman wears a classicizing full-bodied hairstyle, which is left flowing around the face and on to the neck, and is ornamented with a headband as worn by antique models. She also wears an ancient chiffon, which forms drapery around her neck and shoulders and further evokes associations with the ancient world. Although this relief, when published in the catalogue of the recent exhibition Rinascimento e Passione per l’Antico: Andrea Ricco e il suo Tempo in Trento, was described as the work of an unknown Venetian sculptor around 1520, it had not then been examined at first hand by the catalogue’s compilers. It has subsequently been unanimously accepted by the exhibition’s curators, led by Andrea Bacchi, as a fully autograph work by Vincenzo and Gian Girolamo Grandi. related literature A. Luchs, Tullio Lombardo and Ideal Portrait Sculpture in Renaissance Venice, 1490–1530, Cambridge, 1995; M. Ceriana, Tullio Lombardo: scultore e architetto nella Venezia del Rinascimento, Venice, 2007; A. Bacchi and L. Giacomelli, Rinascimento e Passione per l’antico: Andrea Ricco e il suo tempo, exh. cat., Castello del Buonconsiglio, Trento, 2008, p. 508, no. 116



guglielmo della porta (active 1534–77) Head of a Cherub, after the Monument of Pope Paul III in St Peter’s, Rome Bronze 7½ in. (19 cm) high This bust is an extract taken from one of the two bronze statues of cherubim seated astride the massive volutes that flank the pedestal of the monument to Pope Paul III Farnese which now stands against the wall of the chancel of St Peter’s to the left of the high altar. The project originated as a free-standing monument destined to stand vaingloriously beneath the very crossing of St Peter’s, which Vasari describes as follows: “At the sides of the said base are set four putti in front of and behind the tablets with the inscriptions and on the sides there are four narrative [reliefs] and the figures of the Cardinal Virtues”. When the monument was reduced into a wall-tomb, two of these putti and all the reliefs were redundant. Only the grand recumbent figures of Justice and Prudence are in situ, and the other pair of Virtues were sent to flank a fireplace in the Palazzo Farnese. The two unused putti were noted by Pietro de Solis after Della Porta’s death in the workshop of a Roman goldsmith and so they would probably have been available for study by younger sculptors. Various projects for the tomb had been successively promoted by the Pope’s nephew, the powerful Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, but the Pope’s demise in 1549 gave the campaign a new impetus and its production presumably followed soon afterwards, so the volutes and cherubim probably were in existence from around 1550. This, 1550, is the papal jubilee year in which the young Giambologna is thought to have arrived in Rome from his native Flanders to continue his training, principally through the study of the famous antiquities in the eternal city and of the works by the now elderly Michelangelo (died 1564). But he would also have been captivated by the work of contemporary sculptors who were then at the height of their careers, such as Guglielmo della Porta in Rome and Benvenuto Cellini in Florence. In his book on the sculptor of 1987 Charles Avery proposed that Giambologna certainly took note – perhaps by making models in wax or casts in plaster from the abandoned pair of bronze statuettes – of Della Porta’s vivaciously invented cherubim: indeed, he virtually re-used their design, with legs flailing apart, a decade later for the fishing boys (58 cm high) on an early fountain in Florence (c. 1561–62). These are now in the Bargello Museum. c.a. related literature M. Gibellino-Kraseninnicowa, Gugliemo della Porta scultore Lombardo, Rome, 1944, pp. 14–16, 39–49 (esp. p. 46); C. Avery, Giambologna: The Complete Sculpture, Oxford, 1987, p. 206, pl. 230; H.-W. Kruft, ‘Porta, della, Guglielmo’, in. J. Turner (ed.), The Dictionary of Art, London, 1996, vol. 25, pp. 255–57



domenico poggini (1520‒1590) Bust of a Youth in a Cuirass White marble 23 in. (58.5 cm) high The Bust of a Youth in a Cuirass is an excellent example of Mannerist all’antica sculpture, and of the arts at the ducal and grand-ducal court of Florence during the reign of Cosimo I de’ Medici (1519–1574) and his son and successor Francesco I de’ Medici (1541–1587). Moreover, it is very rarely that a marble by Domenico Poggini appears on the market. Poggini was amongst the foremost sculptors active in Florence in the second half of the sixteenth century. Whereas most of his peers were trained in the workshop of Baccio Bandinelli, Poggini emerged from Benvenuto Cellini’s studio. The humanist poet, scholar and historian Benedetto Varchi (1502/03–1565) celebrated Poggini in a sonnet dedicated to his personality and achievements specifically as Cellini’s follower: “Voi, che seguendo del mio gran Cellino, per sì stretto sentier …”. Poggini not only continued Cellini’s legacy in terms of his style, but he also adopted his universalist approach (which he shared with Michelangelo), not channelling his creativity into one particular sector (such as marble carving) like most of his contemporaries in an increasingly specialized art world, but excelling in a considerable variety of media and techniques. Like his master, Domenico Poggini first trained as a goldsmith. Benvenuto Cellini recounts in his Autobiography (II, 58) that once, when he had to interrupt the work on his Perseus as he was not feeling well, “… because I was not able to work, I enjoyed spending time in the duke’s workshops with two young goldsmiths called Giampaolo and Domenico Poggini, who under my supervision carried out a small gold vase, decorated all over in low relief with figures and other ornaments: this was for the duchess, who commissioned it in order to drink water from it”. Domenico’s elder brother Giampaolo (1518–1582) went on to become one of the foremost medallists of his time, first in Florence and later at the court of Philip II in Madrid. Domenico Poggini continued to work as a goldsmith (although none of his work in this area has been identified so far, and documented works have demonstrably been destoyed in later centuries); he became a medallist like his brother, but he also trained in bronze sculpture and marble carving. He was even known as a poet, which is the reason why – according to Giorgio Vasari – he was chosen to model the personification of Poetry for Michelangelo’s catafalque in 1564. The idealized image of a young Roman wearing an all’antica cuirass is a perfect example of Poggini’s artistic convictions. The clean and smooth surfaces on the face and on the cuirass, as well as the minute rendering of details such as the three masks in low relief on the cuirass (the central one presented en face, the lateral pair in profile) are clearly informed by the artist’s training as a goldsmith, an education which he shared not only with Cellini but also with Poggini’s younger contemporary Antonio Susini, whose extreme degree of finish would make his bronzes stand out within the production of Giambologna’s workshop. The masks on the cuirass of the present bust compare particularly well with Poggini’s hybrid creatures on the fantasy armour of his Bust of Francesco I de’ Medici, carved in 1563–64 (Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi). The physiognomy of the sitter of the present bust is even more generalized and abstracted than that of Francesco I, who, shortly before he became co-regent of Florence in 1564, was represented in a highly stylized manner yet with his moustache and sideburns according to 32

the fashion of the period, and with a high forehead, an individual characteristic. The oval face of the present bust is extremely similar to that of Poggini’s Bacchus (signed and dated 1554), which George Blumenthal bequeathed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1941. The treatment of the hair and the figure’s hairdo find their closest comparanda in Poggini’s bronze Pluto in the Studiolo of Francesco I (Palazzo Vecchio, Florence; documented 1572–73) and in his figure of Saint Luke in the Chapel of Saint Luke in the Santissima Annunziata, Florence. Given the lack of individual features in the face, it is likely that the present bust was intended to represent an ideal young warrior of the Roman past rather than a specific personality. In his idealized concept of the human figure, with an emphasis on smooth surfaces, Poggini’s art may be seen as the equivalent in sculpture of Bronzino’s approach in paintings and drawings. But the present bust, although firmly rooted in the Mannerist tradition and indeed representative of it in an exemplary way, also anticipates a key feature of Baroque portraiture. Like Poggini’s Bacchus at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the figure’s sensuous lips are shown slightly parted, as though he were about to speak. Although this may seem a small detail, it changes the bust’s character in a radical way. Together with the slight turn of the head, it enlivens the figure and it captures the beholder’s attention. Art-historically, this element points ahead to Bernini and his circle, for whom the ‘speaking portrait’ would become a main preoccupation about half a century after Poggini carved his Bust of a Youth in Cuirass. e.s. related literature D. Heikamp (ed.), Magnificenza alla corte dei Medici, exh. cat., Florence, 1997, pp. 55‒58, nos. 20‒21 (entries by E.D. Schmidt); E.D. Schmidt, ‘Die Signatur und Datierung von Domenico Pogginis Lex Antiqua’, Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz, vol. xli, 1997, pp. 206‒11; D. Heikamp (ed.), Palazzo Pitti: la reggia rivelata, exh. cat., Florence, 2003, p. 516 (entry by E.D. Schmidt)



antonio susini (1558–1624)

(after a model by giambologna 1525/29–1608)

Hercules carrying the Erymanthian Boar and Hercules and Antaeus Bronze groups, respectively 17½ in. (44 cm) and 15½ in. (39.5 cm) high, covered with a darkened lacquer and a dark green ‘antique’ patina The composition depicting Hercules carrying the Erymanthian Boar is after a model created by Giambologna, the court sculptor to the Medici grand dukes in Florence, for one of a series of the Labours of Hercules to be cast in silver. These were to crown an elaborate ebony cabinet (studiolo) made for the former cardinal Grand Duke Ferdinando I, who had acceded to the throne in 1587. They stood in the newly constructed Tribuna of the Uffizi. They were remarked upon by John Evelyn in 1644: “Over this cabinet is a globe of ivory, excellently carved; the Labours of Hercules in massy silver, and many incomparable pictures in small”. This particular subject was cast by the goldsmith Mazzafirri on 14 May 1589, along with a pair to it showing Hercules bearing Atlas’s Globe. All the silver Labours have, alas, been lost long since – probably having been melted down for their precious metal – their compositions can be reconstructed from a large number of disparate casts in bronze. The earliest documented of these is one in Vienna, regarded as the prime example because it was listed in an inventory of the Imperial Kunstkammer between 1607 and 1611 (no. 1887). It was then the property of the Emperor Rudolph II, an avid admirer of Giambologna, who had indeed tried to tempt the famous sculptor to enter his service. Its quality is superior to that of other versions, which suggests that it was executed or at least closely supervised by Giambologna; it differs also in showing a fillet round Hercules’s head. The depiction of the bristly boar reflects contemporary enthusiasm for the ancient Roman marble statue of a Seated Boar (actually the victim at bay of the huntsman Meleager) in the Medici collection and still one of the favourite exhibits in the Uffizi Gallery. Pietro Tacca produced a life-size cast of this animal in bronze, seated on a naturalistic base, for the Mercato Nuovo in Florence, where it is still a tourist attraction. Thus the depiction of this particular Labour of Hercules became one of the most popular and was reproduced during and soon after the sculptor’s lifetime, both by his linear successors as court sculptor, Pietro and then Ferdinando Tacca, and by their rivals in bronze production, the independent goldsmith-foundrymen Antonio and then Gianfrancesco Susini. In the present cast great pains have been taken to enhance, by the use of different tools and techniques, the pleasing contrast between the various textures of the boar’s bristly hide, the gnarled bark of the club and the smooth skin of the human figure. The result is a sensuously tactile, attractive and glamorous rendering of the victorious aftermath of Hercules’s dramatic struggle with the ferocious wild animal. The subject of Hercules and Antaeus does not form part of the canonical Twelve Labours of Hercules, but a silver version, cast by Giorgio d’Antonio in 1578 from a model by Giambologna, was the second to be cast of the earlier set of six silver Hercules groups in the Tribuna of the Uffizi (Heikamp 1963, p. 260, no. 14). Michelangelo had made a drawing of the subject, but Giambologna seems not to have known it, for his composition is different. The pose of the figure of Hercules derives in reverse from an antique marble group in the courtyard of the Pitti Palace, brought from Rome in 1560 and restored, while that of Antaeus relates to the bronze representations of the subject by Antonio del Pollaiuolo (statuette, c. 1460; Florence, Bargello) and Bartolommeo Ammanati (over life-size, on the Fountain of Hercules, Villa di Castello, 1559–60, probably derived from a model by Tribolo). This early model became one of the most popular of Giambologna’s Hercules groups, and 36

is known in a number of versions and variants of widely different quality, clearly from several different periods and workshops. The version that was in the collection of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II (died 1612) and has been in the Habsburg imperial collection since the lifetime of Giambologna is rightly cited by Dhanens as the best (1956, pp. 193, 194). Another good version is in the Wallace Collection (S120; Mann 1931, pp. 45, 46; Paris 1999, no. 49; Wenley 2002, p. 3, figs. 1–2). It bears the engraved French Crown inventory number 49, and was one of three versions of this subject, of which the others are now lost (nos. 1 and 57), in the collection of King Louis XIV in 1684. A version in the Bargello, Florence (until recently in the Pitti Palace) is assigned by Weihrauch to the Susini workshop of Antonio (1967, p. 217), like the present example. The features that distinguish these casts as products of Antonio Susini are the highly buffed sheen of the smooth surfaces and the articulation of the bent fingers and toes into a series of sharp angles. A comparison with what is arguably the best cast of Giambologna’s Fowler by Antonio Susini, with Tomasso Brothers Fine Art (see Scultura 2008, no. 12), serves to corroborate the attribution to the same hand of this pair of Labours of Hercules. The obsessive neatness and precision of detail of a metalworker who had trained as a goldsmith are the idiosyncratic hallmarks of Antonio’s workmanship. c.a. related examples (Hercules and the Erymanthian Boar): Lord Fauconberg and given to Thomas Worsley, SurveyorGeneral); Liechtenstein, Collection of the Ruling Princes (New York, Liechtenstein: the Princely Collections, exhibition, 1985, no. 39); London, Wallace Collection (S120, ex-French Crown collection, no. 49)

related literature J.G. Mann, Wallace Collection Catalogue. Sculpture …, London, 1931; Elisabeth Dhanens, Jean Boulogne, Brussels, 1956; H.R. Weihrauch, Europäische Bronzestatuetten, Brunswick 1967; C. Avery and A. Radcliffe, Giambologna, Sculptor to the Medici, exh. cat., Arts Council of Great Britain, London, 1978, nos. 78–79, 87; A. Radcliffe, ‘Giambologna’s Twelve Labours of Hercules’, The Connoisseur, September 1978, pp. 12–19; W. Fock, ‘The Original Silver Casts of Giambologna’s Labours of Hercules’, in Studien zum Europäischen Kunsthandwerk, Festschrift Yvonne Hackenbroch, Munich, 1983, pp. 141–45; C. Avery, Giambologna: The Complete Sculpture, Oxford, 1987, pp. 141–42, 150, 262, nos. 76, 81, pls. 141, 152; L.O. Larsson, in Prag um 1600: Kunst und Kultur am Hofe Kaiser Rudolfs II., exh. cat., Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, 1988, no. 49; Les Bronzes de le Couronne, exh. cat., Musée du Louvre, Paris, 1999; R. Wenley, French Bronzes in the Wallace Collection, London, 2002; B. Paolozzi-Strozzi, D. Zikos (eds.), Giambologna – Gli dei, gli Eroi: genesi e fortuna di uno stile europeo nella scultura, exh. cat., Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence, 2006, pp. 180ff., no. 12; W. Seipel (ed.), Giambologna: Triumph des Körpers, exh. cat., Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, 2006, pp. 227–30, no. 14




giovanni francesco susini (active 1592; died 1646), (after antonio susini active 1580, died 1624) The Farnese Bull (The Punishment of Dirce) Bronze, dark olive patina with traces of transculent lacquer 18 x 16 x 15 in. (46 x 40 x 38 cm) Baldinucci wrote in his Notizie on Antonio Susini (ed. Ranalli, 1846, IV, p. 110) that the sculptor was greatly esteemed by Giambologna, who sent him to Rome to make copies of the finest statues in that city. Among these was the Farnese Hercules, of which Susini made five casts. He must therefore also have known the monumental marble group from the same collection referred to as the Farnese Bull, which had been found in 1546 in the Baths of Caracalla and restored by Gian Battista Bianchi in 1579. In fact Antonio Susini made several bronze statuettes of the ancient marble, though Baldinucci described the model at some length as being one of the works of Gianfrancesco Susini (ed. Ranalli, 1846, IV, p. 118). Antonio Susini’s cast in the Galleria Borghese (no. CCXLIX) is inscribed: ANT.II SVSINII FLOR.I OPVS/A.D.MDCXIII (on the base, between the feet of the man with a rope) and it was noted in the Borghese collection as early as 1625 by Crulli (Grandezze di Roma, 1625, p. 50v). Subsequent references of the eighteenth century mention that the bronze was placed on a pedestal of ebony ornamented with hard stones, which has since been lost. This and the virtually identical cast in the Hermitage, St Petersburg (no. 1210), are scrupulously careful reductions of the monumental marble group and the reliefs round its base; the hyper-critical and perfectionist German critic Winckelmann (Monumenti antichi, [1767] 1830, V, p. 23) noted on the Borghese statuette only a few discrepancies from the original. Every tiny detail, each fingernail, for instance, is meticulously executed, while extraordinary variety is achieved in the drapery patterns and rendering of texture. The small work is a tour de force technically and offers a vocabulary of Susini’s bronze finishing methods, which were highly praised by his contemporaries. Lempriere in his Classical Dictionary tells the rather obscure story: “Dirce was a woman whom Lycus king of Thebes married after he had divorced Antiope. When Antiope became pregnant by Jupiter, Dirce suspected her husband of infidelity to her bed, and imprisoned Antiope, whom she tormented with the greatest cruelty. Antiope escaped from her confinement, and brought forth Amphion and Zethus on mount Cithæron. When these children were informed of the cruelties to which their mother had been exposed, they besieged Thebes, put Lycus to death, and tied the cruel Dirce to the tail of a wild bull, which dragged her over rocks and precipices, and exposed her to the most poignant pains, till the gods, pitying her fate, changed her into a fountain, in the neighbourhood of Thebes.” This spectacular bronze group is expertly cast (in several components invisibly joined together) and chased. The nude parts of the human bodies and the hides of the little animals are well polished, while the whole surface of the mound on which the action takes place is treated with a matt punch in neat lines that carefully follow and emphasize its contours, while one or two areas are left smooth, by way of contrast. The group is a massive, hollow cast that conforms inside to the shape of the mound. To this some figures were attached by shaping the ends of their casting sprues into tangs, which were then hammered through holes in the mound, for example beneath the rear legs of the dog, visible from below; or by tapping on a screw thread, to which a nut may be applied, once it has passed down through a hole bored in the mound, for example the complete figure of the attendant at the rear right corner. 42

Beneath the collapsed body of Dirce awaiting her punishment thick iron-wire armatures project down around some refractory material from the core. Some rectangular insertions of metal (for example when seen from below, one more or less in the centre and others lower left and upper right corners) are not fixings for figures above, but patches for holes. These may have been rectangular in the first instance, having been formed in the wax casting model by iron rods passing through by way of armatures to centre and secure the whole heavy casting when invested with its core material and plaster cope. The lower edges of the mound are pleasingly uneven and vary in thickness. At the rear right corner an extra area of thickness is caused by a repair made with a second run of metal. The model is probably taken from the same set of cleverly designed piece moulds that were made by Antonio Susini when he made the several casts that he signed and dated 1613. The design here is virtually identical, save for a few insignificant details. Another variation, perhaps introduced to simplify the laborious process of manually chasing every square centimetre of the surface, is the fact that the rope with which the men are restraining the bull, by winding it round its horns, is here rendered by a continuous length of spiral wire, whereas in the cast signed by Antonio the length bound round and strung between the horns is cast on to the curly crown of hair on the bull’s head. The bony ridge of the beast’s eyebrows and the sharp breaks in the folds of the cloaks slung round the necks of Amphion and Zethus, as well as the dress of the female in attendance, have been smoothed over, again for ease of production. This sort of minor alternation indicates a later date within the span of activity of the firm of the Susini, and points to the workshop of Gianfrancesco. Admittedly, the smoother, rounder feel of the piece may also be a reflection of a change of taste in the early Baroque period away from the stylized, staccato, visual effect of Giambologna’s and – more pronouncedly – Antonio Susini’s idiosyncratic technical handling. Examples of Gianfrancesco Susini’s variant versions mentioned by Baldinucci are thought to be those in the Liechtenstein Collection (recorded in an inventory of 1658) and the Grünes Gewölbe, Dresden (bought by Le Plat in Paris in 1715: see Holzhausen, 1933). c.a. related literature W. Holzhausen and Edmund Kersting, Prachtgefäße, Geschmeide ... Darin: Verzeichnis der Dresdner Goldschmiede, Tübingen, 1933; I. Faldi, Galleria Borghese. Le sculture dal secolo XVI al XIX, Rome, 1954, no. 59; C. Avery and A. Radcliffe, Giambologna, Sculptor to the Medici, exh. cat., Arts Council of Great Britain, London, 1978, nos. 180–81




nicolò roccatagliata (b. c. 1560; active 1593; d. before 1636) Pax of the Pietà, with the Risen Christ Gilt bronze and copper 9½ x 5¾ in. (24 x 14.5 cm) This superb artefact is very rare, perhaps even unique, in its combination of an ornate strapwork frame inhabited by figurines of two baby and two grown-up angels with a miniature one of the Risen Christ on top. The strapwork frame is typical of the ornate frames beloved of Venetian artists from marble sculptors to wood carvers, from bronze founders to gold- or silversmiths. With its figurines in deep relief (their legs and arms are relieved from the surroundings), it was cast in one with the central, round-headed, scene of the Pietà, in which, again, the figure of Christ is in quite deep relief, so that his head and right knee, as well as the Virgin’s head, project strongly outwards. The physical forms, faces and style of drapery all conform perfectly with the repertoire of Niccolò Roccatagliata, who was apprenticed for nine years in his native Genoa to a silversmith, Agostino Groppo, and then his son Cesare (1571–80): indeed, the brilliant, homogeneous design and high quality of finish point to its being a rare autograph work. The quotation engraved round the edge of the shield reads, DIXI TV ES SPES MEA (I have said you are my hope). It is taken from Psalm 141, v. 6 in the Vulgate. This curious and beautiful pax seems not to be connected with any of the major lay confraternities of Venice, but may well have been used by a religious order or individual: today, for instance, it is the motto of two bishops in the world-wide Roman Catholic church. c.a. related literature T. Martin, ‘Roccatagliata’, in J. Turner (ed.), Dictionary of Art, London, 1996, vol. 26, p. 478; C. KryzaGersch, ‘Roccatagliata’, in Antonia Boström (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Sculpture, III, New York and London, 2004, pp. 1436–38



ferdinando tacca (1619–1686) (after giambologna 1525/29–1608)

Venus after the Bath Bronze, rich red lacquer 6 in. (17 cm) high On the death of Pietro Tacca in 1640, his son Ferdinando succeeded him as court sculptor to Ferdinand II de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, becoming director of the grand-ducal sculpture workshop and foundry in Borgo Pinti. This confirmed his position as Florence’s leading sculptor in bronze and, along with Gian Francesco Susini, the last important exponent of Giambologna’s elegant Mannerist style. This statuette shares with a version in the Liechtenstein Collection (acquired in the mid seventeenth century) the fact that it stands directly on the ground, whereas another formerly in the collection of Baron Hollenden has an integrally cast circular plinth. The details in all three of these casts are closely similar, but the patina of the present statuette has the translucent, reddish-gold varnish used for the finest products of the Florentine court bronzemakers, making it highly desirable. This also rules out the suggestion that the author is Francesco Fanelli, for he never used this particular colour and rarely polished the surface of the bronze to such a pitch of perfection. The origin of the model is Giambologna’s beloved, seemingly early, composition of Venus after the Bath. This variation on the theme is likely to be by a direct follower. The open expression on the face, which is ultimately derived from the master, and the proto-Baroque ‘swing’ of the figure with which this composition is normally paired (a variant of the classical Venus Callipygus), are idiosyncrasies of Ferdinando Tacca, and can be found in other autograph works by him. c.a. related literature C. Avery, Giambologna – The Complete Sculpture, London, 1987, pp. 134 and 259, nos. 51–52; Die Bronzen, Der Fürstlichen Sammlung Liechtenstein, exh. cat., Liebieghauses – Museum alter Plastik, Frankfurt, 1986, p. 166, no. 11



francesco di virgilio fanelli (1578–post 1661) Cupid astride a Dolphin Gilt bronze 3¼ x 3 x 2 in. (8.3 x 7.5 x 5 cm) This energetic miniature group of Cupid astride a Dolphin is the most beautifully chased cast yet known of a composition that is thoroughly established as by Fanelli, though it is not one of the models listed in English royal and noble collections in the early seventeenth century. It is stylistically related to the small figure of Cupid on a documented bronze by Fanelli, Cupid on Horseback, an example of which was once in the collection of King Charles I at Whitehall Palace. A good cast of this composition is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, while several others exist. Fanelli was the best of the Caroline court sculptors and specialized in small bronzes, often of equine subjects; he always wrought slight variations of gesture and detail manually in the wax models before casting into bronze, so that each resultant statuette was unique. On the present example, the face and snout of the dolphin are matt-punched and the remainder of its body is scaly, as though it were a fish, with the outlines minutely dotted in. The feathers of Cupid’s wings – and even the tiny flèches of the arrows in his quiver – are painstakingly chased, as is his tousled, wind-swept hair, while his facial features are expertly delineated and his eyes given distinct pupils. A similar, though simpler, variant of the present model in silver, holding under its right arm a shell and stretching out the other arm, was used to crown a silver table-fountain that was manufactured in Paris and bears a hallmark used between 30 December 1661 and 2 July 1663. It must have reached England by 1698, for it was copied then by an English silversmith (now in the J. Paul Getty Museum, acc. no. 82.DG.17). The finial could be part of the original design and therefore made in Paris, for by 1661 Fanelli was in that city, where he published a volume of engravings presumably in the hope of attracting patronage, Varie Architetture di Francesco Fanelli fiorentino scultore del Re della Gran Bretagna. Alternatively, the figurine could have been added after its import into London. In either case it is interesting to note how Fanelli’s vivid little compositions attracted silversmiths and their patrons, too. This masterpiece in miniature is so refined as to be beyond any doubt the work of the master himself. c.a. related literature G. Wilson, ‘The Kedleston Fountain: Its Development from a Seventeenth-century Vase’, The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal, vol. ii, 1983, pp. 1–12; C. Avery, ‘Fanelli’s Cupid on a Dolphin’, in ‘Important European Sculpture and Works of Art’, Christie’s Magazine, Nov.–Dec. 1988, pp. 46–47 ; C. Avery, ‘Fanelli’s Cupid on a Dolphin Mount on a Wanli Porcelain Ewer’, in Studies in Italian Sculpture, London, 2001, pp. 425–30; C. Avery, A School of Dolphins, London, 2009, pp. 40–55



florentine , 17th century giambologna ⁄ antonio susini (Follower of )

A Lion savaging a Bull 9¼ x 9 in. (23.5 x 23 cm)

A Lion savaging a Horse 9 x 11½ in. (25 x 29 cm) Bronze, rich golden red lacquer The models of a Lion attacking a Horse and a Lion attacking a Bull have to be considered together, for they were patently designed as a pair. No known example of either composition bears the signature of Giambologna, though several are signed by Antonio Susini, but they are both listed among his authentic models by Markus Zeh (1611) – “Un gruppo d’un lione ch’ammazo un cavallo”; “Un gruppo d’un lione ch’uccide un toro” – and by Baldinucci (1688) – “Il Cavallo ucciso dal Leone”; “Il Toro ucciso dal Tigre” (Dhanens 1956, pp. 73–74; p. 391). They also feature in Baldinucci’s list of statuettes cast by Gianfrancesco Susini after Giambologna’s models (ed. Ranalli, 1846, IV, p. 118); in this, later, context he should have said ‘a tiger’ with a bull, for two casts with this feline (spotted, not striped) exist, one in the Liechtenstein Collection and the other (discovered by the present writer) now in the Frick Collection, New York. The Lion attacking a Horse is freely derived from a full-scale but fragmentary Graeco-Roman prototype depicting the subject, which is now in the Garden of the Palazzo dei Conservatori in Rome (see London 1978, no. 174): the variations of the present model from this original in its current condition presumably reflect the difference between Giambologna’s ‘restoration’ of the missing heads and that of the sculptor who actually repaired the original in 1594. The Lion attacking a Bull is also derived from Graeco-Roman prototypes (see Sturgeon 1975–76). The two closely integrated compositions bear witness to Giambologna’s continuing fascination with ancient sculpture, as well as his awakening interest in animal subjects, once he had mastered the human form. In the absence of any signed primary examples of these bronzes, it is dangerous to be dogmatic about the various slightly different treatments of pose, detail and surface, as well as bases, which are to be found in different versions. The salient details on both groups, such as the incisions made by the lion’s claws in their victims’ hides, their dilated eyes and mane and the inside of the horse’s and bull’s open mouths, teeth, tongues and palates, are sharply rendered. On the other hand, the flowing hair on the lions’ manes, the tufts on the tips of their tails and the horse’s tail are left freely flowing, as cast, which serves to convey the effect of movement, as the animals thrash about in conflict. The mounds on which the animals are set are rough-cast, or only sporadically filed, so as to render the rough ground more naturally than had been the practice of Ferdinando Tacca or Gianfrancesco Susini, who treated them with lines of matt-punching in rather ornamental – but not at all life-like – patterns resembling more the whorls on a fingerprint. c.a. related literature M. Sturgeon, ‘A Hellenistic Lion-Bull Group in Oberlin’, Allen Memorial Art Museum Bulletin, XXXIII, 1975–76, pp. 28–43; C. Avery and A. Radcliffe, Giambologna, Sculptor to the Medici, exh. cat., Arts Council of Great Britain, London, 1978, nos. 170–73





joseph willems (c. 1715–1766) A Black Man in Ragged Clothes with a Bowl Terracotta 29 in. (74 cm) high Signed: Jph Willems and dated 1736 provenance: Gaston Palewski (1901–1984); inherited by his wife, Violette Palewski (née Talleyrand); Mme la Duchesse de Sagan; thence by descent Joseph Willems, known in England as ‘Williams’, was a talented sculptor in the Flemish tradition. In about 1750 he moved to England, where he became a famous modeller. He exhibited at the Society of Artists between 1760 and 1766 in addition to teaching drawing and modelling. The present unpublished terracotta statuette of an unusual subject is the earliest by Willems that is known: he was really quite young when he made it and had not yet married (1739). It belongs to a long-standing tradition in the Low Countries of terracotta models that were the equivalent of paintings of ‘low life’ genre – figures that were very popular with the bourgeoisie in what are now the Netherlands and Belgium. The terracotta scenarios of individual figures and groups in courtrooms and elsewhere made by Pieter Xavery in the 1670s (such as the Vierschaar in the Museum Het Lakenhaal in Leiden) come to mind, and such figures often show beggars or peasants in tattered clothing. However, Willems seems to be taking a different approach here, for – despite the torn trousers – this impoverished black man with a bowl is given a certain grave nobility by his stance, attitude and finely modelled features. By the mid eighteenth century, of course, black people were not at all uncommon in Europe and were not necessarily slaves. Most were domestic servants, though some were pugilists and others served on ships in the Navy. A distant, though possible, prototype for this kind of representation in monumental sculpture is to be found in the four powerful statues of African slaves who support the pompous monument of Doge Giovanni Pesaro in the Frari church in Venice. These are carved in white marble, using black marble for the skin parts, and function as caryatids, with sacks on their shoulders, instead of having classical basket-capitals on their heads. They were carved by a Flemish artist, Juste le Court (1627–1679), known in Venice as Giusto il Corte. Willems’s eye-catching terracotta is an extremely interesting discovery both for the ethnographic and sociological aspects of its unusual subject and because it adds another dimension to the activity of its author, who is otherwise mainly known for making small models for rendering in porcelain. In 1764 Mrs Mary ‘Williams’, Willems’s wife, died, and it has been suggested in the recent Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain (2009) that he took as a second wife the widowed mother of Joseph Nollekens, Mrs Mary Anne Nollekens. The Biographical Dictionary refers to her second husband as “a person of the name of Williams, an inferior statuary, who modelled for the Chelsea Porcelain Manufactory and who went to Flanders where he died”. The basis of this reference to Flanders could well be Willems’s return to Tournai to work at the porcelain factory there. He remained in Tournai until his death on 1 November 1766. c.a. related literature A. Lane, ‘Chelsea Porcelain Figures and the Modeller Joseph Willems’, Connoisseur, May 1960, pp. 245–51; N. Penny, Catalogue of European Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum, 1540 to the Present Day, Volume III: British, Oxford, 1992, p. 185, nos. 593–94; I. Roscoe, E. Hardy and M.G. Sullivan (eds.), A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660–1851, New Haven and London, 2009, s.v.




joseph claus (1718–1788) Bust of the Emperor Caracalla (reigned A.D. 198–217) of the Farnese type White marble 28 in. (71.5 cm) high Signed and dated: josephus claus fecit 1757 on the central black pilaster, and monogrammed IC on the termination’s back rim Joseph Claus’s Bust of Caracalla is a milestone in the development of early Neoclassicism in Rome, a signature work by one of the most accomplished German sculptors of the eighteenth century, and a highly original and successful interpretation of one of the most venerated and influential ancient portraits. In a rare combination of the sitter’s vigorous movement, brute force, expressive power, emotional rage and mental determination on the one hand, and on the other hand the finely nuanced rendering of the most minute details, the crisp texture of the sitter’s hair, and the smooth surfaces of his cloak with its deep undercuttings, the sculptor pulled out all the stops to play the entire gamut of the different and even opposing qualities of the portrait. Ever since Michelangelo had adapted the vehement gesture of the Farnese Caracalla’s head turning sideways for his Bust of Brutus, time and again the ancient bust served as a model for portraiture from the Renaissance through Neoclassicism. It was on view in the ducal family’s palace in Rome until 1787, when it was shipped together with the rest of the collection to Naples, where it is now displayed in the National Archeological Museum. Joseph Claus not only attempted – very successfully – to copy the ancient model as precisely as possible, but indeed carefully to better it in certain aspects, reconstructing it to its original state. As is to be expected of a sculpture of a certain age, on the original Farnese Caracalla the surfaces are abraded, multiple chips are filled in with plaster, and smaller and larger parts have been visibly restored. Even some of the stains in the marble, which probably resulted from the oil used in the process of taking plaster casts from it, may have been visible already in the eighteenth century. By contrast, the Caracalla by Claus is carved of a single block of marble (“ex una lapide”), the surfaces are pristine and beaming, and no repairs disturb the admiring eye. But it was not only the ancient model with which Claus competed. Interestingly, within a few years two other protagonists of early Neoclassical statuary in Rome carried out copies after the Farnese Caracalla with similar intent. Francis Harwood carved his signed and dated Bust of Caracalla (private collection, England) in 1763. Bartolomeo Cavaceppi signed his Bust of Caracalla ( J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles), but he did not date it; however, on stylistical grounds it is datable into the same years as Claus’s and Cavaceppi’s versions. Far from merely responding to a strong demand for copies of the famous ancient bust from Grand Tourists, the fact that all these artists proudly signed their Caracalla busts demonstrates that they were keen to have their achievements recognized in perpetuity, and worked in tacit competition with one another. Whereas Claus is generally not as well known as Harwood or Cavaceppi, and he has not received the scholarly attention he deserves, there can be little doubt as to his position at the forefront of the earliest generation of Neoclassical sculptors. Among German sculptors, he was the first artist to adopt the Neoclassical ideal and idiom. He was already in Rome when Johann Joachim Winckelmann arrived there in November 1755. But he should also be considered part of English art history, given his several patrons from Albion’s shores, 60

and of Italian art history, for Claus had settled in Rome as a young man and was active there until his death. Since he was born in Bonn, within the archdiocese of Cologne, it is probably no coincidence that Claus’s first certain work is a Bust of Clemens August von Wittelsbach, Archbishop and Elector of Cologne. This bust, which is signed and dated 1754, is now in the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight, south of Liverpool. Claus’s cycle of busts of the reigning pope and his three immediate predecessors – Innocent XIII (reigned 1721–24), Benedict XIII (1724–30), Clement XII (1730–40) and Benedict XIV (1740–58), which are all now at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford – proves the sculptor’s further favour in ecclesiastical circles. Interestingly, according to the dates on the reverses, Claus finished the bust of Benedict XIV first (signed josephus claus fecit anno 1754), whereas the busts of the pope’s three predecessors were completed in the following year (they are signed josephus claus jnven. et fecit 1755). This suggests that the bust of Benedict XIV may have served as a trial piece, which perhaps impressed the unknown patron enough to prompt him to order the three additional busts from Claus. The papal busts at the Ashmolean Museum are excellent examples of the sculptor’s technical skills, and testify to his stylistic vicinity to Cavaceppi. Further busts of his can be found at Madresfield Court, Worcestershire (the house which legendarily served as a model for Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited) and at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. All these works show the same attention to detail and perfection as the Caracalla, for instance in the fine creases of the collars, or in the differentiation of textures. Moreover, these busts all share clean surfaces, even on the architecturally constructed backs, which are finished to a much higher degree than one might expect. Apart from portrait busts, copies after the antique appear to have been Claus’s second speciality, as is demonstrated by his copy of the Tribuna Apollino at Brocklesby Park, Lincolnshire, which is signed and dated Josephus Claus fecit 1766. Being both a bust and an interpretive copy after the antique, the present Bust of Caracalla unites both areas of Claus’s activity and is representative of his art as is no other known work. Even with nine certain sculptures ranging from 1754 to 1766 identified, much further study is needed in order to reconstruct the artist’s career. But the existing oeuvre alone attests to Claus’s stellar rank and to his precocious Neoclassical tendencies. Even with documentation on the sculptor’s later years still almost completely lacking, one scrap of evidence at hand is significant enough. In 1783, Antonio Canova (who had arrived in Rome in December 1780) took over Claus’s workshop in the Vicolo delle Colonnette di San Giacomo degli Incurabili. It may not be too daring to claim that this moment, in which Claus, by then 65 years old, handed over the baton to Canova, marked the vernal equinox of the age of Neoclassicism. e.s. related literature G. Taylor, ‘Uno scultore ignoto: Joseph Claus’, Bollettino d’arte, vol. iii, 1952, pp. 231–33; F. Haskell and N. Penny, Taste and the Antique: The Lure of Classical Sculpture, 1500–1900, New Haven and London, 1981, pp. 172–73, no. 18; N. Penny, Catalogue of European Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum, 1540 to the Present Day, 3 vols., Oxford, 1992, vol. 1, nos. 22–25, pp. 27–28; P. Fogelman, P. Fusco and M. Cambareri, Italian and Spanish Sculpture: Catalogue of the J. Paul Getty Museum Collection, Los Angeles, 2002, pp. 300–05, no. 38 (entry by P. Fogelman)



josse-françois-joseph leriche (1738–1812) An Allegorical Bust of Autumn Painted terracotta 26½ in. (67.3 cm) high Signed: Leriche.fecit.1773 This Allegory of Autumn as an elegant young woman was sculpted by Josse-François-Joseph Leriche (or Le Riche) in 1773. It corresponds to a series of allegorical busts of the Seasons carved by Leriche in marble. The terracotta, however, is the only known bust by Leriche in this medium, and is therefore of marked importance. Leriche was born in Mons, yet established his career at Sèvres – first a royal and then an imperial porcelain factory – as a sculptor. He entered the factory in 1757 as one of two principal modellers under the direction of Etienne-Maurice Falconet. In 1780 he replaced Falconet as director of sculpture. In this role, from 1780 to 1801, Leriche both fashioned hardpaste biscuit porcelain models of his own invention and adjusted the models of other sculptors, such as Louis-Simon Boizot (1743–1809), for reproduction. Leriche was recognized for his portraiture, although his most inspired works were of allegorical and mythological themes in a manner similar to François Boucher (1703–1770). He began executing these ideas after 1767. While he was chef des sculpteurs (head sculptor) at Sèvres, Leriche marked his biscuit sculpture with the initials LR. (Sèvres 2001, p. 25). His large-scale sculptures, however, were always signed with his name and dated in the same manner as the present bust. There are five known marble allegorical busts of the seasons by Leriche – a pair of Summer and Winter, formerly French private collection; a single Summer formerly in the collection of Dr A. Hamilton Rice, New York, by April 1951 (Frick Art Reference Library negative number 39912); and a pair of Summer and Winter on view in the entrance of the Hôtel de Crillon, Paris. There is no known Spring and the present bust is the only known Autumn in terracotta or marble. Each of the busts displays the long neck, almond-shaped eyes and billowing drapery that epitomize Rococo exuberance. In contrast to the marbles, the freshness of the surface of the terracotta lends vibrancy to the present bust. c.m. related literature S. Lami, Dictionnaire des Sculpteurs au XVIIIe siècle, Paris, 1911, p. 74; Falconet à Sèvres ou l’art de plaire, exh. cat., Musée National de céramique, Sèvres, 2001




joseph chinard (1756–1813) Portrait of a Man, 1806 White marble 27½ in. (67.3 cm) high Signed: Chinard de Lyon Joseph Chinard was one of the greatest portraitists of his age. Born in Lyons to a family of silk merchants, he first trained under the painter Donat Nonotte at the Ecole Royale de Dessin in Lyons. He then worked with the local sculptor Barthélemy Blaise (1738–1819) and by 1780 he was working independently. Thanks to a local patron Chinard was able to go to Rome, where he remained until 1787, with a further visit in 1791–92, when he was briefly imprisoned for having upset the papal authorities. Back in Lyons Chinard received numerous public commissions and put his art to the service of the French Revolution. He visited Paris for the first time in 1795 and became part of the circle of the Lyonnais banker Jacques Récamier, whose beautiful wife, Juliette, would be the sitter for some of his most exquisite portrait busts. During the Consulate and the Empire Chinard enjoyed tremendous success. Napoleon’s military campaigns offered him a new heroic iconography and he received a number of public commissions while producing portrait busts of members of the Imperial court. During the last five years of his life Chinard divided his time between Paris and Lyons, exhibiting regularly at the Paris Salon. Most of the works exhibited were portrait busts, forming a remarkable gallery of the personalities of early nineteenth-century France. Chinard’s mastery of marble carving and terracotta modelling enabled him to create distinctive images combining stylization and realism. In these refined portraits, including the present bust, the artist paid great attention to fashion details such as hair and costume arrangements. This superb marble, hitherto unpublished, shows a man with his head slightly tilted to the right gazing off into the distance. His handsome face, full of character, is framed by carefully arranged hair with rich and deep curls. The sitter wears an elegant civil costume with a high collar. Chinard’s attention to detail is obvious in the finely carved lace jabot and the delicately rendered ornament and buttons on the coat. Indeed, it is this extraordinary meticulousness that has allowed the bust to be dated. The sitter bears the prestigious insignia of the Légion d’honneur (the legion of honour; a star with Napoleon’s profile) and of the Ordre de la Couronne de Fer (order of the iron crown; an eagle with a crown). The Légion d’honneur was established by Napoleon in 1802 when he was First Consul and is still the highest decoration in France, while the Couronne de Fer was created in 1805 and did not survive the Empire. The medal of the Légion d’honneur, consisting of a crown surmounting the star, is that of the second type and therefore dates from the year 1806; a third type was issued in 1807. These orders were given as a reward to soldiers and civilians. A large number of individuals received the distinctions but unfortunately the sitter of the present bust has yet to be identified. It is hoped that his identity will be revealed during the course of further research currently taking place. s.r.



john gibson (1790–1866) (Attributed to)

Female Classical Bust White marble 19½ in. (49.2 cm) high John Gibson initiated his studies in Liverpool and his first important individual commission, whilst working for the firm of Samuel and Thomas Franceys, was a monument to the famous Henry Blundell, which was erected in Sefton church, Lancashire, in 1813. At an early age Gibson set his sights on visiting Rome, where he arrived on 20 October 1817, and quickly met the most famous artist of his time – Antonio Canova – who invited him to study in his studio as well as at the Academy of St Luke. His first major patron was the Duke of Devonshire, for whom he carved a Mars and Cupid. Gibson had a lifetime love of Rome, only returning to England for a few years of his life, most notably upon the command of Queen Victoria, to carve a statue of her in 1844. John Gibson was the chief exponent of the British school of sculptors working during and after the lifetime of Canova; this school included Lawrence Macdonald, Joseph Gott and Richard James Wyatt. He established his own studio in the eternal city in 1821, situated just off Via del Babuino. One of Gibson’s most famous ideas was to reintroduce the tinting of white marble statues, of which his best known example is The Tinted Venus that now forms part of the collection at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. Gibson led a happy life and is famously known to have remarked, “I worked on all my days happily and with ever new pleasure, avoiding evil and with a calm soul; making images not for worship but for the love of the beautiful”. Harriet Hosmer, the great American sculptress of the nineteenth century, was his favourite pupil, and is known to have said of him: “He is God in his studio, but God help him out of it”. He is also known to have taught other great sculptors, including William Theed II, Richard Westmacott III and Ireland’s great Neoclassical sculptor John Hogan. The sitter of the present bust has not so far been identified, although this may perhaps be the bust mentioned by Gunnis (1968, p. 173) as “A Greek girl”, formerly at Ilam Hall, Staffordshire, England, which remains untraced. related literature R. Gunnis, Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660–1851, London, 1968; I. Roscoe, E. Hardy and M.G. Sullivan, A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain, New Haven and London, 2009


Copyright Š 2010 Tomasso Brothers Fine Art Bardon Hall, Weetwood Lane, Leeds, ls16 8hj, England All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any storage or retrieval system, without the prior permission in writing from the copyright holders and publisher. isbn 978 1 907372 15 5 British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Produced by Paul Holberton publishing, 89 Borough High Street, London se1 1nl Designed by Peter Campbell Lithography and printing by E-graphic, Verona, Italy front cover: cat. 20. joseph willems, A Black Man in Ragged Clothes with a Bowl back cover: cat. 16. ferdinando tacca after giambologna, Venus after the Bath front flap: cat. 8. guglielmo della porta, Head of a Cherub back flap: cat. 19. joseph chinard, Portrait of a Man frontispiece: cat. 13. antonio susini after a model by giambologna, Hercules and Antaeus page 6: cat. 18. josse-françois-joseph leriche, An Allegorical Bust of Autumn page 8: cat. 20. john gibson, Female Classical Bust