SCULTURA IV TOMASSO BROTHERS FINE ART
SCULTURA IV TOMASSO BROTHERS FINE ART
at Carlton Hobbs LLC 60 East 93rd Street, New York, NY 10128 25 January â€“ 2 February 2019
TOMASSO BROTHERS FINE ART Bardon Hall, Weetwood Lane, Leeds, ls16 8hj tel. + 44 (0) 113 275 5545 Marquis House, 67 Jermyn Street, London, swiy 6ny tel. +44 (0) 20 7839 9394
Photography by Doug Currie Design by Laura Parker Produced by Paul Holberton publishing 89 Borough High Street, London se1 1nl i s b n 978 1 911300 67 0 www. tom a s s ob rot h e r s. co. uk in fo@ tom a s s ob rot h e r s. co. uk
Â© 2019 Tomasso Brothers Fine Art
roman, 1st–2nd century ad
massimiliano soldani-benzi Leda and the Swan, first quarter of the 18th century
Head of Juno
tino di camaino
florentine, 18th century
françois girardon (workshop of )
the ciechanowiecki master, 17th century
Bust of Christ, c. 1322–23 Dancing Faun Equestrian Portrait of King Louis XIV of France (1638–1715) Dying Gaul Castor and Pollux Lectern representing Two Angels
johann spörer (circle of )
Minerva, c. 1578 (after Giambologna) The Borghese Gladiator, c. 1740 (after the Antique)
giovanni battista foggini
florentine, late 17th/early 18th century
joseph wilton ra (attributed to)
cherubini foundry, northern italy, 16th century
gianfrancesco susini (workshop of )
andrea bregno ( attributed to)
Bound Captive Head of an Idealized Woman all’antica Laocoön and His Sons The Wettin Still Life, 1794 Hermes (Belvedere Antinoüs) The Albani Faun Cooking Pot, c. 1530 A Spaniel, 1847 Peasant Resting on His Staff (after Giambologna) St Paul
roman, 1st–2nd century ad
Head of Juno Marble 15 in. (38 cm) high provenance Nane and Christer Wahlgren, Sweden, purchased in the 1960s
The present head is a fine representation of the ancient goddess known as Juno to the Romans and as Hera to the ancient Greeks, wife of Jupiter/Zeus and queen of the Olympian gods. Her cult was particularly well established in Rome, where she was worshipped as protector of the city’s matrons and, more generally, of childbirth. She is thus representative of both sovereignty and fertility. The youthful, idealized features and serene expression of our figure are typical of the portrayal of deities in ancient Greece and Rome. Specifically, the hair centrally parted, tied back in soft waves that partly cover the ears and crowned by a demi-lune diadem is characteristic of Juno, as visible in other famous statues of the goddess from antiquity, such as the Hera Ludovisi (fig. 1) and the Hera Farnese (fig. 2), both Roman marbles that draw on Greek precedents. The former is considered to be a portrait of Antonia Minor, one of the most influential women
fig. 1 Roman, 1st century ad Hera Ludovisi Marble Museo Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Altemps, Rome fig. 2 Roman, 1st century ad Hera Farnese Marble Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples
of ancient Rome, reflecting a custom of portraying members of the imperial household in the guise of deities. The choice of Juno for Antonia Minor – who was the niece of Emperor Augustus, sister-in-law of Emperor Tiberius, mother of Emperor Claudius, paternal grandmother of Emperor Caligula and Empress Agrippina the Younger, and both maternal great-grandmother and paternal greataunt of Emperor Nero – reflects the deeply rooted connection between the image of Roman matriarchs and that of Juno, and the ensuing widespread cult of the goddess. The high quality of the present carving – visible in the subtle rendering of the curls, in the crisp outline of the eyes, in the elegantly parted lips and in the regular arch of the brows – indicates that our head was executed by a skilled artist trained in the heart of the Empire, most likely Rome, between the first and second centuries AD, at the height of the city’s power. The head was purchased in the 1960s by Nane and Christer Wahlgren, who treasured it for decades. Christer Wahlgren (1900–1987) was editor in chief and owner of Sweden’s renowned daily newspaper Sydsvenskan. He and his wife Nane acquired the present Juno while travelling with the artist Henning Malmström (1890–1968), whose collection of ancient portraits is now part of the Malmö Museum.
massimiliano soldani-benzi (1656–1740)
Leda and the Swan, first quarter of the 18th century Bronze 12⅝ in. (32 cm) high provenance Private collection, Denmark
The present statuette depicts an ancient Roman marble, formerly interpreted as representing Leda and the Swan, now in the Uffizi Gallery, about which the curator Mansuelli, writing in the early 1960s, was scathing: ‘The statue is not of high quality: the nude parts are flat and insignificant (partly due to rubbing down), while the drapery is rendered without finesse. The stance itself appears hard and wooden in the bust … [while] it is hard to recognise the swan in the little figure of the bird.’1 The body of the statue is in Pentelic marble, but the head in Parian, while the right arm with the torque, the base, the feet and the upper part of the drapery are restorations. The surface has been re-polished on the nude parts and the face, while the drapery, especially round the back, is severely weathered. Once optimistically attributed to the Greek sculptor Skopas, the identity of the antiquity as Leda cannot be retained, for the bird is actually a duck or a goose. The present model is documented as having been among the bronzes after the Antique listed in the 1730 inventory of the Düsseldorf collection: ‘Leda with a swan in her hand, of bronze’.2 It is also included in the inventory of the Doccia porcelain manufactory, which had acquired Soldani’s original moulds from his heir: ‘A statue representing Leda with a swan in her [left] right hand. With its moulds’.
Bronze statuettes after Antique and Old Master sculptures in the Uffizi and elsewhere in Florence This series was first studied and published by Klaus Lankheit (Lankheit 1958). Some of them – and their general implications – have also been discussed by the late Hans Weihrauch (Weihrauch 1956). The present author summarized their research for an exhibition in Toronto in 1975 and later published some revisions and discoveries (Avery 1976). The subjects were not confined to ancient sculpture, but included works by Michelangelo, Jacopo Sansovino, Cellini and Giambologna, as additions to Soldani’s commercially successful series after the Antique. The bronze statuettes are intimately connected with a set of twelve wax figurines that Soldani sent from Florence on 21 February 1702 to Johann Adam,
Prince of Liechtenstein, to serve as models for full-scale garden statuary for his newly erected palace in Vienna. The wax statuettes were cast in sections from piece-moulds taken from a number of small models made by one of Soldani’s assistants after the most celebrated Antique statues in the collection of the Medici Grand Dukes in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The same piece-moulds may have been used in Soldani’s workshop for casting the bronze versions. As none of the waxes or garden sculptures has survived and there is no descriptive inventory of them, we can reconstruct the lost series only by a process of deduction from various inter-related strands of evidence. In December 1706 Soldani wrote and offered Prince Johann Adam first refusal on a set of twelve bronzes which he had produced: ‘I find that I have made twelve bronze statuettes for a Cabinet, half a braccio [30 cm] high, some of which are nude and some partly draped. They are copied exactly from the most famous statues in this city. It occurs to me that they might be something for Your Highness, so I am offering them to you to see if you are interested, before I propose them to any other clients. The final price will be 30 piastres apiece. Wishing that you be well served, if you would graciously deign to let me know your decision, then I can resolve the matter. I am letting you know my reasons as an assurance of my deepest obligation.’ The lapse of nearly five years between the production of the wax figurines from the existing piece-moulds and the appearance of the bronzes on the market is hard to account for, and one wonders whether Soldani, when he suggested that the series was being offered to the Prince before any other client, was writing in good faith, or merely indulging in some judicious salesmanship. In any case, it is a foregone conclusion that he would already have supplied any that might have been required by his permanent employers in Florence, the Medici, who owned the original statuary that he was copying. The eight examples now in the Bargello Museum have an implicit Medicean provenance, while the statuettes that were inventoried in Düsseldorf in 1730 would probably have been given to the Elector by his father-in-law, Grand Duke Cosimo III, soon after Soldani made them available, for the Elector’s wife, Anna Maria Luisa, was a favourite of her father. A further example, now lost, belonged to the collection of Anna Maria Luisa, who acquired it, with at least eleven other statuettes, directly from Soldani, on 3 November 1727. However that may be, we do not know the composition of the set in question, although it is generally assumed to have been identical with that of the waxes
sent earlier. Furthermore, it is not known whether – in the face of the Prince’s negative reply of 4 January 1707 – Soldani succeeded in selling him a set, even though he wrote again in more pressing terms on 7 February. There is some reason to suppose that Soldani was successful, at least perhaps in part, for two bronze statuettes after Florentine antiquities and of the right dimensions (about 30 cm high), a Venus de’ Medici and a Dancing Faun, feature in the catalogue of the Liechtenstein Gallery made in 1767 by Vincenzo Fanti (nos. 119–120). We also know that by 31 July 1716 a set of a dozen statuettes of ‘the best statues in the Gallery here’ had been purchased by Lord Burlington for £100 (presumably one of the sets – partially dispersed – which are now in Chatsworth House, Derbyshire). Thereafter, documentation in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, indicates that Soldani began in earnest to cast further sets of statuettes from the models for Liechtenstein (Avery 2005, pp. 8–29). Among his lengthy correspondence with Zamboni, an Italian agent living in London, the first letter referring to such a series is dated 16 March 1719; Soldani writes, ‘If you decide to have the 12 statuettes copied from the Antique made in bronze, you have already heard my thoughts, and I shall await your orders’.3 Seemingly he was instructed to cast the statuettes, for some five months later, on 8 August 1719, having received in the interim some substantial bills of exchange, he writes: ‘Please advise me again whether I am to send you the twelve bronze figures referred to in my other letter to you [missing], for Baron Dagen has not sent any response and I am still making them for you, in accordance with what Mr Berenstadt tells me’.4 A page or two later, Soldani states, ‘In the big crate, you will find the 12 bronze figures … [together with various other items]’.5 So it seems that he did decide to forward them to London without awaiting further specific instructions, and so this series may be still in England: possibly it is to be identified with one of the otherwise undocumented, partial, sets with different, rocky plinths, in Chatsworth House, the others of which could have come into the Devonshire family from the estate of Lord Burlington, with whom Soldani had previously been in touch (Avery 1998, pp. 27–49). Four years later, on 29 July 1723, Soldani wrote to Zamboni again about some similar statuettes, including two new subjects, not after the Antique: ‘I [wonder] if you might have the chance of helping me to dispose of a little group of two figures copied from Giambologna, that represent Virtue treading down Vice [the original marble group, now in the Bargello Museum, is known commonly today as Florence triumphant over Pisa]; a little Bacchus in the act of walking which comes
from Sansovino, the famous sculptor [Jacopo Sansovino’s original marble group is now in the Bargello Museum]; a soldier with a vase in his hands, copied from the Antique; and the little Faun playing the foot-clappers, also copied from the Antique – and the four pieces are each half a braccio high including their bronze bases and are highly polished and would cost nine doubloons each if you could elicit any interest – they are beautiful and finished’.6 A further four years later, on 24 April 1727, Soldani again alluded to such statuettes, this time to the standard series, which he was desperate to dispose of: ‘I have also got twelve statuettes, all the same size, copied from the most beautiful marble statues of this Gallery [the Uffizi] all worked tastefully and cast in the most beautiful metal. If you had a chance to help me to dispose of them all together and if the money were paid to me here, it would induce me to do you the favour of letting you have them for 20 scudi each in our currency, even though all are worth far more. They are very suitable for mounting on cabinets and would make a fine effect, if that suited you.’7 Copies of two of his statuettes – though not of the present type – were indeed used to decorate an important English cabinet by John Channon (Avery 1995, pp. 1–16). The ageing sculptor referred again to this set in a letter of 28 August: ‘I find myself with twelve finished figurines all of the same size which are after the Antique, and I think that I sent you some on a previous occasion, but these ones are easy to dispose of because they are completely finished, and, as I would like to raise some money for a particular investment, it would give me great pleasure to let you have them all for two hundred scudi, though I believe that on other occasions I have sold them for nearly three hundred: they are all diligently fashioned, and when you have a chance – as I hear – to compare my works in bronze with that of others whom I hear are in touch with you [Soldani means his rival Foggini, the Medici court sculptor], I believe that you will see the difference of work and finesse and gracefulness, because a direct comparison clarifies everything. These ones are particularly well worked and the expressions of the faces and the taste in finishing them to perfection [are evident]. I do not set out to make something that is not the case appear to be true to you, but I genuinely believe that by making a [direct] comparison you cannot fail to see the difference.’8 Exactly three months later, on 28 November 1727, Soldani was able – with a note of ill-concealed triumph – to tell his dilatory correspondent: ‘I would willingly have agreed to the deal of taking the clocks in exchange for the twelve bronze statuettes, had I not on the third of this month given them to His Electoral
Highness of Cologne who was passing by on his way to Rome, so that I could not do anything else, for I was at a standstill with the job’.9 Reading back through Soldani’s last three letters, one can deduce that this set was ready for the market by 24 April 1727, if not before. The purchaser was Clemens August of Bavaria, a member of the Wittelsbach dynasty and Archbishop-Elector of Cologne (1700– 1761), and so it is likely that this fine set of Soldani statuettes was sent back to Germany and may be the source of several fine examples now in museums there. Certainly, the clear golden bronze and the high degree of finish on the present Leda and the Swan bear out Soldani’s claims about this later set that the metal alloy was of a particularly beautiful colour and that the expressions of the faces and the degree of finish were extraordinary. Even by Soldani’s own high standards, these characteristics are especially manifest in the present, glamorous statuette, which he cast probably quite early in his career. It is also arguably the finest of these statuettes in existence, in view of the plain, rectangular plinth, and the careful wax-to-wax joint between it and the figure above (visible from below), which is typical of his earlier casts. Soldani had the imagination and sleight of hand to improve radically on the heterogeneous ‘original’ antiquity that he was copying, refurbishing its weathered drapery into the semblance of cloth, with taut folds caused by its being drawn against the body, as ‘Leda’ claims the ‘swan’ for herself, and thus conveying a sense of movement and urgency to the pose. It is sad that the ‘Leda’ still in Florence, in the Bargello Museum (inv. 351 B), which one might fondly have imagined would be descended from the Medici Grand-ducal collection and therefore of top quality, is in fact a very poor, probably later, example, in which these very traits have been lost again, while its irregular, roughly oval plinth also debases the crisp original design of Soldani. d r c h arl es avery
related literature Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, Bodl. MS. Rawl, letters 132 H. Weihrauch, Die Bildwerke in Bronze und in anderen Metallen: mit einem Anhang, Die Bronzebildwerke des Resideznmuseums, Munich, 1956 K. Lankheit, ‘Eine Serie barocker Antiken-Nachbildungen aus der Werkstatt des Massimiliano Soldani’, Mitteilungen des deutschen archäologischen Instituts Römische Abteilung, 65, 1958, pp. 186–97 G.A. Mansuelli, Galleria degli Uffizi, Le Sculture, Rome, 1961, no. 85 C. Avery, ‘Soldani’s small bronze statuettes after Old Master sculptures in Florence’, in Kunst des Barock in der Toskana, Munich, 1976, pp. 165–172 (reprinted in C. Avery, Studies in European Sculpture, London, 1981, pp. 122–32) C. Avery, ‘Bronze statuettes by Soldani after Old Master sculptures in the Uffizi Gallery and elsewhere in Florence’, in The Ian and Margaret Ross Collection: Baroque Sculpture and Medals, Art Gallery of Ontaio, Toronto, 1988, pp. 41–45, 63–64, no. 18 C. Avery, ‘The Pedestals, Frames, Mounts and Presentation of Massimiliano Soldani-Benzi’s Bronze Statuettes and Reliefs’, Furniture History, XXXI, 1995, pp. 1–16 C. Avery, ‘Lord Burlington and the Florentine Baroque bronze sculptor Soldani: New Documentation on the Anglo-Florentine Art Trade in the Age of the Grand Tour’ in E. Corp, ed., Lord Burlington – the Man and his Politics: Questions of Loyalty (Studies in British History vol. 48), 1998, pp. 27–49, figs. 2–15 C. Avery, ‘Soldani’s mythological bronzes and his British clientèle’, Sculpture Journal, XIV, 2005, pp. 8–29
notes 1 G.A. Mansuelli, Galleria degli Uffizi, Le Sculture, Rome, 1961, no. 85: ‘La statua non è di elevata qualità: piatto ed insignificante il nudo (anche a causa della ripulitura), reso senza finezza il panneggio, l’impostazione stessa appare dura e legnosa nel busto…la piccola figura dell’uccello, in cui veramente non è facile riconoscere un cigno’. 2 GLA Karlsruhe Pfalz Generalia Fasz. 3894: ‘Inventarium … 10ten 7bris 1730: 224: ‘Läda mit einem Schwan in der Handt von Bronso’. 3 Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, Bodl. MS. Rawl, letters 132, fol. 103v: ‘Se Vs: si risolvera di far fare le 12 statuette di bronzo, copiate dall’antico, ella ha sentito il mio pensiero, et attendero i suoi ordini’ 4 Ibid., fol. 124r: ‘Mi avvisi ancora, se io deva mandarli le dodici figure di bronzo accenateli con altra mia, gia che il Sig.re Baron Dagen non risponde cosa alcuna, e queste ancora fanno per Lei, che tanto mi dice il Sig.re Pernestot’. 5 Ibid., fol. 126v: ‘Nella Cassa grande, trovera Vs le 12 figure di bronzo.’ 6 Ibid., fol. 191: ‘Se Vs. avessi riscontro di farmi dar via un gruppetto che sono due figure copiate da Gio: Bologna, che rappresentano La Gioventù che calca il Vizio, Un Bacchetto in atto di camminare che viene dal Sansovino scultore pure Famoso, Un Soldato con un vaso in mano, copiato dall’antico, et il faunetto, che suona i crotali, copiato pure dall’antico, e questi 4 pezzi sono ciascheduno alti mezzo braccio con la sua base di bronzo assai puliti e costeranno nove Doppie l’uno per se sentisse qualche riscontro, sono belli e terminate’. 7 Ibid, fol. 264: ‘Ho bensi dodici statuette, tutte di una grandezza, copiate dalle più belle statue di marmo di questa Galleria, e di un bellissimo metallo. Se avesse riscontro di farmele dar via tutte assieme, e che mi fusse pagato qui il danaro, m’indurrei a far piacere, con darle per 20 scudi l’una di nostra moneta, con tutto che vaglino assai più, e queste son proprissime per adattarsi in Gabinetti che farebbano una nobile comparsa tutto per suo avviso’. 8 Ibid., fol. 266: ‘Mi ritrovo fatto dodici figurette, tutte di una grandezza le quali vengono dall’Antico, e mi pare d’avergline mandate un’altra volta, ma queste son facili ad esitarsi perche io me le trovo fatte, farei ogni sorte di piacere, perche ho caro di far danaro per un mio particolare interesse, le darei tutte e dodici per scudi dugento, e Io credo, che altre volte le ho venduto vicino a scudi trecento: queste son fatte con tutta diligenza, e quando Lei avera occasione come sento di paragonare I miei lavori di bronzo con altri che sento si contrattano per Vs. Ill;ma, credo che vedra la diferenza del travaglio e della finitezza, e grazia perche il paragonare e quello che chiarisce tutti, e costi particolarmente sone bene operate e le arie di testa et Il gusto nel ridurle finite, io non pretendo conciarle fare comparire quello che non e, ma mi persuado che paragonando si debba vedere la diferenza’. 9 Ibid., fols. 268-9: ‘Volentieri averei accordato il partito di pigliare gl’orologi per conguaglio delle dodici statuette di bronzo, non fino sotto di 3 del corrente le diedi a sua Altezza Elettorale di Colonia che passo di qui per andare a Roma, onde non potei far di meno, perche restai all’impegno’.
Mortar Bronze, with a rich red-brown patina 5½ in. (14 cm) high 6 in. (15.5 cm) diameter (top) 4¾ in. (12 cm) diameter (base) 6¾ in. (17 cm) wide across handles inscribed and dated ANNA DOEMINI M V 1546
fig. 1 Netherlandish Mortar, bronze, 1582 Museum Martena, Franeker
This richly coloured sixteenth-century mortar, dated 1546, is certainly of Netherlandish origin. Its shape, characterized by strong horizontal banding, a wide flared lip and unadorned, pointy handles, is typical of Northern European mortars, and its foliate decoration and warm, red-brown patina find direct parallels in other known examples of Netherlandish facture. The top of the vessel is inscribed with the words ANNA DOEMINI M V 1546, a misspelling of the traditional Latin expression ‘Anno Domini’, used to indicate the year of execution. This further points to a Northern European origin, where lack of familiarity with Latin would have been more common than in Italy. The beautifully executed floral frieze just above the handles is reminiscent of Renaissance architectural decorative motifs, of the type that would have been circulated through prints and regularly appear on Netherlandish mortars. A closely comparable pattern adorns one such bronze vessel, of identical shape to ours, dated 1582 and today preserved in the Museum Martena in Franeker, in the Northern Netherlands (fig. 1). The decoration on the lowest band of the present mortar is after a composition by the German artist Barthel Beham (1502–1540), a gifted engraver and painter who flourished at the court of the Bavarian dukes William IV and Ludwig X in Munich. Entitled Raptus Helenae (The Abduction of Helen), the scene features Helen, the mythical queen whose beauty sparked the Trojan war, being carried away by two men, while around them other figures engage in a ruthless fight (fig. 2; F.W.H. Hollstein, German engravings, etchings and woodcuts c. 1400–1700, Amsterdam, 1954, 73.III). Laid out like a frieze, the composition echoes the battle scenes carved on ancient Greek and Roman sarcophagi that Beham would have been familiar with thanks to his life-long interest in classical antiquity. The author of the present mortar must have had a mould of Beham’s Raptus Helenae, made in sections, which he used to fashion the decorative band for this vessel. Having made a wax version of the Raptus Helenae from the mould, he would have applied it to the wax core of the mortar, alongside the wax version of the floral frieze at the top and the wax letters and numbers of the date, for the final casting in bronze.
fig. 2 After Barthel Beham (1502–1540) The Abduction of Helen Engraving British Museum, London
Throughout the Renaissance, mortars and their pestles were the principal utensils employed for the grinding of substances in a variety of contexts, such as cooking, medicine, drugs, cosmetics and alchemy. As Peta Motture explains in her catalogue of the bells and mortars in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s collection, the term ‘mortar’ derives from the Latin ‘mortarium’, which originates in turn from the verb ‘mordeo’, meaning ‘to bite’, a clear reference to these vessels’ function (Motture 2001, p. 37). The production of bronze mortars in Europe, although rooted in antiquity, grew significantly from the medieval period onwards, and continued until the end of the seventeenth century, when the development of grinding machinery, paired with an increased awareness of the dangers of using copper-based alloys in the preparation of foods and medicines, caused a gradual decline in the popularity of these objects (Motture 2001, pp. 37–38).
related literature D.A. Wittop Koning, Nederlandse vijzels, Utrecht, 1989 P. Motture, Catalogue of Italian Bronzes in the Victoria and Albert Museum: Bells and Mortars and related utensils, London, 2001
tino di camaino (c. 1285–c. 1337)
Bust of Christ, c. 1322–23 Marble 13¾ in. (35 cm) high 15¼ in. (39 cm) wide provenance Possibly the Baptistry, Florence, or the Funerary Monument to Emperor Henry VII of Luxembourg, Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Pisa; Carl von Weinberg (1861–1943), Frankfurt; His son in law, Richard von Szilvinyi (1899–1966), Frankfurt
This newly discovered bust of Christ is a masterpiece by one of the most important Italian sculptors from the early fourteenth century, Tino Di Camaino (c. 1285–c. 1337). He belonged to a pioneering generation of Italian artists from the later Gothic period that included Nicola and Giovanni Pisano, Cimabue, Giotto, Duccio, Simone Martini and Pietro Lorenzetti, who laid the essential foundations for the flowering of the Renaissance art of the early Quattrocento. The present work likely dates from Tino di Camaino’s Tuscan period, before he began to work for the court of King Robert of Anjou in Naples. This attribution is fully accepted by research into the bust by leading Tino di Camaino scholars Dr Damian Dombrowski and Professor Dr Gert Kreytenberg. Both have produced fascinating, but slightly differing, theories with regards to the bust’s original context and location. Both their original essays in German and English translations of them are available upon request, but their main arguments and points of comparison are summarized below. Professor Kreytenberg argues that, in terms of style, the work bears the closest resemblance to Tino di Camaino’s Florentine sculptures and suggests it was likely his last before he moved to Naples. Importantly, he is convinced that this bust was originally located above the north portal of the great Florentine Baptistery, given the similarities between our sculpture and a fragmentary group of statues from c. 1322–23 which at one time resided there. These include the Head of a Prophet now at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (fig. 1), the St John the Baptist (fig. 2) and the Erythraean Sibyl, also known as Caritas, now in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in Florence (fig. 3) – all of which have been generally attributed to Tino di Camaino. With regards to the size of the Bust of Christ and the nature of its triangular composition, Kreytenberg suggests that they indicate it was once mounted atop the gable of the tabernacle where the statue of John the Baptist stood. He writes: ‘The artistic signature in the formation of the head, matching that of the Head of the Prophet, the Head of John the Baptist and the Bust of the Sibyl, are all strong
fig. 1 Tino di Camaino Head of a Prophet c. 1322–23 Marble Museum of Fine Arts, Boston fig. 2 Tino di Camaino Head of St John the Baptist, c. 1322–23 Marble Museo dell’Opera del Duomo di Santa Maria del Fiore fig. 3 Tino di Camaino The Erythraean Sibyl or Caritas, c. 1322–23 Marble Museo dell’Opera del Duomo di Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence
evidence that the bust originally belonged in the context of Tino di Camaino’s groups of statues over the north portal of the Baptistery’. More specifically, he cites as common traits the particular way the beards are drilled and the style of the furrows of the forehead head in both our Bust of Christ and Boston’s Head of a Prophet. Dr Dombrowski also acknowledges the rarity of the present work and therefore the opportunity a sculpture of this quality presents to collectors today. After first outlining his belief that the work formed part of a larger and more complex sculptural programme, he notes the finely calculated modelling of every detail of the bust, which, in his words, was intended to ‘grasp the beholder’s attention’ – the slightly asymmetrical composition, the different sizes of the eyes, the purposefully off-balanced shoulders or the faintly off-centred parting of the hair, the dynamic expression of the sculpture. He also mentions that not only does the bust draw upon antique sculptural precedents, but also more contemporary Gothic forms, creating something of a stylistic synthesis that is comparable to that of Tino’s presumed master Giovanni Pisano. Dombrowski dates the Christ earlier than Kreytenberg, to Tino’s time in Pisa, c. 1315. Dombrowski’s main reason for attributing this bust to the hand of Tino di Camaino is stylistic. He discusses the precise technique of carving and drilling the hair and beard in free-flowing streaks, and mentions the familial similarities with these and a second head of St John the Baptist in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in Florence (c. 1322–23; fig. 4). He notices the way these waves of hair are drawn back over the head and the particular shape of the eyelids, also strongly reminiscent of this work, and indeed other busts by Tino, in the Opera del Duomo. The horizontal mouth opening is also strongly redolent of Tino’s
hand and Dombrowski cites a Head of an Apostle in the Cripta delle Statue under Siena Cathedral (1317–18) as highly comparable. Christ’s coiffed hair, drawn back in tufts, also appears to have been employed by Tino c. 1313–15 for an Angel of the Annunciation created for the Tomb of Emperor Henry VII of Luxembourg in Pisa; an angel in the Liebieghaus, Frankfurt, from c. 1317–18; and his Erythraean Sibyl (also known as a Caritas) from c. 1322–23 in Florence (fig. 3). He recognizes a strong similarity between the modelling of the mastoids about Christ’s ears and those which appear on the figures of Henry VII (fig. 5) and an accompanying councillor, which were originally conceived for the Emperor’s tomb in Pisa Cathedral. The slender face and high cheekbones of these works appear to exhibit stylistic traits of the ‘French-inspired’ sculptures of Giovanni Pisano from around 1300. This has led Dombrowski to conclude that our Bust of Christ was perhaps finished in Pisa, where Tino succeeded Giovanni as master builder of the Cathedral, after he followed his teacher there in 1297, but before he arrived in Siena and came under the influence of artistic developments in the region. It was in Pisa Cathedral that Tino designed and executed the tomb of Emperor Henry VII of Luxembourg – an early masterpiece of sepulchral sculpture (figs. 5–7). Given the stylistic closeness of this Bust of Christ with effigies of the Emperor and his councillor from this group, and the fact that in Italy during the Trecento busts often formed part of tombs and were generally placed directly under the pinnacle of the funereal monument, Dombrowski suggests that it is possible that our bust once crowned the tomb of Henry VII that was built for the apse of Pisa Cathedral between 1313 and 1315, fragments of which survive in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo in Pisa.
fig. 4 Tino di Camaino Head of St John the Baptist, c. 1322–23 Marble Museo dell’Opera del Duomo di Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence fig.5 Tino di Camaino Effigy of Henry VII, c. 1313–15 Marble, from the funerary monument of Henry VII of Luxembourg formerly in Pisa Cathedral
Tino di Camaino was born in Siena around 1280–85 and during the extraordinary artistic development of this great city in the first thirty years of the fourteenth century became its leading sculptor. His first fully authenticated work is the baptismal font for the Cathedral at Pisa, which he made in 1312. This was largely destroyed by fire in 1595, but remnants of it survive in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. The earliest work ascribed to Tino to have survived intact is believed to be the Altar of San Ranieri, begun 1306 or before, now also in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Pisa. In 1311, Tino became capomastro of the Cathedral at Pisa, and subsequently received the commission for the monument of Emperor Henry VII, who had died in 1313. He was then given charge of the works in Siena Cathedral and here executed his famous monumental tomb of Cardinal Petroni c. 1318. For John Pope-Hennessy, the great art historian and former director of the Victoria and Albert Museum: ‘Not only is the figure sculpture of the Petroni tomb inspired by a poetic imagination that is highly individual, but it is realised
fig. 6 Tino di Camaino Henry VII, c. 1313–15 Marble, from the funerary monument of Henry VII of Luxembourg formerly in Pisa Cathedral fig. 7a–b Tino da Camaino Councillors, c. 1313–15 Marble, from the funerary monument of Emperor Henry VII of Luxembourg, formerly in Pisa Cathedral
with a consistency of style that makes this one of the greatest Italian monuments’. Tino di Camaino’s main contribution to Italian sculpture lies in the field of such funerary monuments and his style remained an active influence for many years after his death. After 1318, Tino is recorded as working in Florence, executing another marvellous monument in Santa Croce, dedicated to the Della Torre, and the Orso monument in the Duomo. By 1323–24, he had come to the attention of the Angevin king Robert ‘the Wise’ in Naples. He remained in the sovereign’s service in the capacity of architect and sculptor until his death, undertaking the monuments of King Robert’s daughter-in-law Catherine of Austria and of his mother Mary of Hungary, along with the tombs of Charles of Calabria and Mary of Valois in Santa Chiara. Whilst he was engaged with these commissions, Tino met Giotto, who, from 1329 to 1333 held the position of court painter at Naples, and even assumed temporary control of Giotto’s studio after his death, between 1334 and 1336. While at the Neapolitan court of Robert of Anjou, Tino met the other great artists the king had summoned. These included Pietro Cavallini, Simone Martini and Pietro Lorenzetti. For Pope-Hennessey, ‘His work has a smoothness and fluency of handling that is reminiscent of their paintings. Reflective and lyrical, his style, as it developed, relied increasingly on line for its appeal’. However, it is also true that Tino’s work exhibits the influence of both French Gothic art and antique sources – a trend which was prevalent during the ‘Tuscan Renaissance’ of the early fourteenth century. This came about as a result of the significant cultural cross-currents between the Italian city-states and France during this period. There was anyway a culture of itinerancy among European stonemasons, sculptors, master-builders, architects and artists. Many became aware of other schools and styles whilst on their European travels to work or study and, in turn, reciprocally influenced the native craftsmen they encountered. For example, according to Antonie and Le Pogam, there is evidence of French sculptors working at Sienese sites during the thirteenth century: Tino could have therefore come into contact with French sculptors directly and was perhaps influenced by their style during the formative period of his artistic education. The presence of French popes in Rome, until the break after the death of Benedict XI in 1304, had a substantial impact on the major Italian centres of artistic patronage and visual culture. The whole array of possible sources of French influence on di Camaino is too plentifull to outline here, but Antoine and Le Pogam conclude that this French-inspired Gothic trend in
Tuscan and central Italian art ‘seems to have become stronger in the years 1320–1340 … as can be seen in the two tombs created by Tino di Camaino’. Yet, despite the Italian assimilation of French forms and stylistic influences since the thirteenth century, what emerged in Tuscany from the circles of Pisano and di Camaino was completely revolutionary and is described by Antonie and Le Pogam as ‘completely and uncompromisingly Italian’. For Anita Moskowitz, this period of Italian sculpture should be considered as hugely important on its own terms, rather than seen as transitory to the accomplishments of the Renaissance or as a backward-looking revival of the Gothic age. The present Bust of Christ is extant testimony of this. Tino di Camaino’s rejects the growing penchant for sculptural ‘naturalism’ evident in other works of the late Gothic period in Tuscany, but rather reduces his depiction of Christ to its raw essentials and so imbues it with a striking power and a combination of sincerity and gravity that has rarely been matched in the history of European sculpture. The bone structure of the face is pronounced, the head is angular and the skull bony, which confers upon it a marked severity. The hair is thick, stylized and pulled back over his forehead to reveal his almond-shaped eyes casting judgment with a probing intensity. The aura and presence of this work is simply astonishing. A reason for this may lie in a combination of the nature of the subject-matter, its intended placement and the context of its production. As suggested by Professor Kreytenberg, this Bust of Christ may have been made for a portal of the Florentine Baptistery. Worshippers seeking salvation would have viewed the work from below and he would have represented primarily the Son of God, who sits in judgment as the Divine Inquisitor, unequivocally supreme and magisterial. The intention would have been for this image of Christ to appear otherworldly, impervious, panoptic and immortal, which effect Tino surely conveys, primarily in his masterful configuration of Christ’s facial physiognomy.
related literature E. Carli, Tino di Camaino scultore, Florence, 1934 W. R. Valentiner, Tino di Camaino: Sienese sculptor of the fourteenth century, Paris, 1935 L. Becherucci and G.Brunetti, Il Museo dell’Opera del Duomo a Firenze, I, Florence, 1969, pp. 228–30 M. Masciotta, Tino di Camaino a Napoli, Naples, 1945 W. R. Valentiner, ‘Tino di Camaino in Florence’, Art Quarterly, xvii, 1954, pp. 117–32 F. Aceto, ‘Per l’attività di Tino di Camaino a Napoli: le tombe di Giovanni di Capua e di Oraso Minutolo’, Prospettiva, nos. 53–56, 1988, pp. 134–42 G. Kreytenberg, ‘Zum gotischen Grabmal des heiligen Bartolus von Tino di Camaino in der Augustinerkirche von San Gimignano’, Pantheon, xlvi, 1988, pp. 13–25 G. Kreytenberg, ‘Drei gotische Grabmonumente von Heiligen in Volterra’, in Mitteilungen des Kuntshistorischen Institutes in Florenz, xxxiv, 1990, p. 69–100 R. Bartalini, ‘Tino do Camaino e il gruppo scultoreo del portale nord del Battistero di Firenze’, in V. Herzner, ‘Herrscherbild oder Grabfigure? Die Statue eines thronenden Kaisers und das Grabmal Heinrichs VII von Tino di Camaino in Pisa’, Festschrift Donat de Chapeaurouge, Munich, 1990, pp. 27–78 G. Passavant, ‘Una testa a Marlia’, Mitteilungen des Kuntshistorischen Institutes in Florenz, XXXV, nos.2–3, 1991, pp. 287–97 G. Kreytenberg, ‘Tino di Camainos Statuengruppen von den drei Portalen des Florentiner Baptisteriums’, in Pantheon, LV, 1996, pp. 4–12 J. Pope-Hennessy, Italian Gothic Sculpture, edn Virginia, 1996 A.F. Moskowitz, Italian Gothic Sculpture, c. 1250 – c. 1400, Cambridge, 2001 C.T. Little, ‘Introduction: Facing the Middle Ages’, in Set in Stone: The Face in Medieval Sculpture, New York, 2006 F. Baldelli, Tino di Camaino, Morbio Inferiore, 2007 G. Kreytenberg, ‘Zur Rekonstruktion des Grabmals für den Bischof Antonio D’Orso von Tino di Camaino im Dom von Florenz’, in Studi di Storia dell’Arte, 20, 2009, pp. 31–44 E. Antoine and P. Le Pogam, ‘Opus Francidenum? Sic et non. The influence of French Art in Tuscany and Central Italy during the Gothic Period’, in B. Paolozzi Strozzi and M. Bormand (eds.), The Springtime of the Renaissance: Sculpture and the Arts in Florence 1400–1460, Florence, 2013, pp. 45–52
florentine, 18th century
Dancing Faun Bronze 10⅝ in. (27 cm) high provenance Private collection, France
fig. 1 Roman, 1st century ad Dancing Faun Marble Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi (Tribuna) fig. 2 Adriaen de Vries Juggling Man, c. 1615 Bronze Los Angeles, The J. Paul Getty Museum
This statuette is a beautifully modelled reduction of the antique marble Dancing Faun (fig. 1) that has been in the Tribuna of the Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, since at least 1688. Although it is not certain when the ancient sculpture became known, it was first recorded in an engraving by Rubens’s son, Albert, published in 1665. However, the bronze Juggling Man ( J. Paul Getty Museum, inv. 90.SB.44; fig. 2,) by Adriaen de Vries (1556–1626), modelled and cast around 1615, bears a striking resemblance to the Dancing Faun, both in pose and in the almost identical attributes, suggesting that the ancient statue had already been excavated by about 1615. Indeed the antiquity could be identified with the ‘nude, standing Faun,
who looks as if he is dancing, but the arms and head are modern’, described by Aldrovandi in 1556 (Aldrovandi 1556, p. 278). The Dancing Faun belonged to Eurialo Silvestri, a papal official whose collection passed to a branch of the Medici family. In 1684, it is documented in the ‘Cabinet de Son Altesse’, i.e. Grand Duke Cosimo III (1642–1723), and by 1688 it was certainly in the Tribuna, as recorded in Filippo Baldinucci’s biography of Buontalenti (Baldinucci 1846–47, II, pp. 497–498). Along with other treasures, in September 1800 it was sent to Palermo to avoid French seizure; however, it returned to the Tribuna in February 1803. The sixteenthcentury restorations – which include the head, neck and both arms – of the antique marble were regarded as the most accomplished of any sculpture in the Medici collection (Fogelman and Fusco, with M. Cambareri eds. 2002, p. 268). They were traditionally attributed, without proof, to Michelangelo, a rumour that further increased the allure and fascination exerted by the statue. A Roman replica of a Hellenistic original, the Dancing Faun is now more precisely identified as a satyr. Depicted in an ecstatic dance, the satyr holds two cymbals in his hands, while beating the rhythm on the scabellum attached to his right foot. Absorbed in the music, he is looking down, whilst the dance highlights his well-defined musculature. Based on numismatic evidence, Wilhelm Klein’s theory that the Faun was conceived as part of a group, and that he is neither dancing, nor playing, but clicking his fingers whilst inviting a nymph to dance, has been generally accepted (Haskell and Penny 1981, p. 206). Ever since its discovery, the captivating Dancing Faun enjoyed significant popularity among artists and collectors; the painter and art theorist Jonathan Richardson praised it highly in 1722, describing it as ‘the best in the Tribunal’, while the ultra-critical John Bell wrote in 1817 that it ‘is perhaps the most exquisite piece of art of all that remains of the ancients’ (Haskell and Penny 1981, pp. 205–06). Models of the Dancing Faun have frequently been cast in bronze throughout its history. Notable examples include the expressive late seventeenth-century model by Giovanni Battista Foggini (1652–1725) and the life-size cast by Pietro Cipriani (c. 1680–before 1745), both conserved in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles (inv. 2000.8 and inv. 2008.41.2). A cast, now in the Quentin collection, was also made by the Florentine sculptor Massimiliano Soldani-Benzi (1656–1740), for whom it represented ‘the most beautiful statue to be seen’, as documented in his 1695 letter to Prince Johann Adam Andreas von Liechtenstein (Haskell and Penny 1981, p. 205). Like his assistant, Pietro Cipriani, Soldani also cast a life-size version for the Duke of Marlborough in 1710, which remains at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire.
By the eighteenth century, the voracious desire for reduced bronze versions of the most important antique statues reached its peak, and they were enthusiastically commissioned and purchased by wealthy visitors to Rome and Florence whilst undertaking their Grand Tour. These bronzes were then usually displayed on their writing desks, atop fine marble chimneypieces or integrated into the decorative schemes of their prestigious country houses or metropolitan addresses.
related literature U. Aldrovandi, ‘Delle statue antiche, che per tutta Roma, in diversi luoghi, et case si veggono’ in L. Mauro, Le Antichità della Città di Roma, Venice, 1556, pp. 115–316 F. Baldinucci, Notizie dei Professori del Disegno da Cimabue in qua, edited by F. Ranalli, 5 vols., Florence, 1846–47 F. Haskell and N. Penny, Taste and the Antique: The Lure of Classical Sculpture 1500–1900, New Haven and London, 1981, pp. 205–08 P. Fogelman and P. Fusco, with M. Cambareri, Italian and Spanish Sculpture. Catalogue of the J. Paul Getty Museum Collection, Los Angeles, 2002
françois girardon (1628–1715)
Equestrian Portrait of King Louis XIV of France (1638–1715) Bronze 25¼ in. (64 cm) high 20¾ in. (53 cm) wide 9 in. (23 cm) deep provenance Acquired in the 1950s by a private collector, and thence by descent until 2016
Skilfully modelled and cast, this richly patinated bronze equestrian portrait of King Louis XIV of France originates in a large-scale monument by François Girardon that once stood in front of the Hôtel de Ville in Beauvais, in northern France. Its exquisite colour, powerful presence and accomplished rendering of detail – from the musculature of the horse to the texture of its tail, and from the king’s proud expression to the definition of the lappets of his cuirass – point in the direction of a sculptor in Girardon’s own workshop. The greatest French sculptor of his day, Girardon was crucial to the birth of the classical style of academic sculpture that took centre stage during the reign of the Sun King, Louis XIV, and would influence generations of artists to come in France and beyond. Having completed his training in both Paris and Rome, in 1657 Girardon was formally accepted into the Académie Royale, where his morceau de réception was a marble oval medallion of The Virgin of Sorrows (Musée du Louvre, Paris). His importance as France’s leading sculptor is evident in two highly prestigious commissions, one for the funerary monument of Cardinal de Richelieu in the Chapel of the Sorbonne, Paris (begun 1675), the other for the monumental bronze equestrian statue of the king in Roman armour (1684–92) made for the Place Louis-le-Grand in Paris (now Place Vendôme), destroyed during the French Revolution. Highly successful throughout his career, under royal patronage Girardon executed important sculptural groups for both the Louvre and Versailles residences, and rapidly rose through the ranks of the Académie, where he was made Chancellor in 1695. In 1700, following the unveiling of his equestrian monument of the King on Place Louis-le-Grand in Paris, Girardon was praised for being ‘in the art of Phidias, much more illustrious than him’ (Abbé François Boutard in Maral 2016, p. 12). His death, on 1 September 1715, preceded by only three hours that of his most eminent patron, Louis XIV. As official sculptor to the King, Girardon was central to the fashioning of the monarch’s both private and public image. He chiselled Louis’s effigy in marble
busts and medallions, portrayed the members of his court and adorned his residences with statues of triumphal gods and goddesses, but nothing would be as powerful in the nation’s collective imagination as his equestrian portrait of the sovereign. Following in the long-established tradition that had its roots in the ancient Roman bronze Marcus Aurelius on Horseback on the Capitoline Hill in Rome, Girardon created an image of remarkable grandeur and magnificence. A testament to its significance is the fact that the two monumental bronze versions of this subject Girardon created in his lifetime were both taken down and melted during the French Revolution. The first project for a monument representing Louis XIV on horseback was entrusted to Girardon in 1679 by the Surintendance des Bâtiments du Roi, but it was abandoned after the death of its principal commissioner, the statesman Jean-Baptiste Colbert, in 1683. His successor, François Michel Le Tellier, Marquis de Louvois, lost no time and in 1684 acquired for the Crown the site of the Hôtel de Vendôme, where he ordered the creation of a new square dedicated to the monarch, Place Louis-le-Grand, at the centre of which a celebratory monument was to be erected. On 13 August 1699, the triumphal Louis XIV on Horseback, standing on its pedestal at over fifteen metres high, was inaugurated. It had been cast on 31 December 1692 in a single pour by Balthasar Keller, Girardon’s most trusted founder. Louvois, undoubtedly impressed by Girardon’s mastery, decided to commission personally from the artist a second bronze monument of the king on horseback, to be cast again by Keller, the contract for which was signed in November 1690 (Maral 2016, p. 220). Louvois died the following year, and it appears the statue was completed, three years later, at Girardon’s and Keller’s own expense (Maral 2016, pp. 221–22). Eventually, by 1700 the Equestrian Portrait of King Louis XIV originally intended for the gardens of Louvois’s residence at Meudon had been acquired by the Maréchal Louis François de Boufflers (1644–1711) for his castle in Picardie, as announced by the Mercure galant of October that year (Maral 2016, p. 222). The bronze was about three metres high, excluding its pedestal, and was installed in the court of Boufflers’s country residence on 4 September 1701, in homage to the king’s birthday. In 1756, the Maréchal’s heirs decided to sell the castle and its contents, so the authorities of the nearby town of Beauvais made an appeal to the Crown to purchase the statue on their behalf (Maral 2016, p. 222). The monument was transported to Beauvais in 1784 and inaugurated on the town’s main square four years later, as testified by two contemporary drawings by the Abbé Daniel (Maral 2016, p. 223, figs. 216–217). Abbé Daniel’s two drawings of the Louis XIV on Horseback’s entrance into Beauvais’s Place du Franc-Marché, and a third one, also by him, of the statue in situ (Maral 2016, p. 222, fig. 215), represent key testimonies of the appearance of Girardon’s monument, destroyed in 1792. The illustrations are done in bird’s eye view, and as such do not go into great detail, but they highlight one conspicuous difference between the equestrian monument of Louis XIV in Beauvais and the
fig. 1 Nicolas Chevalier after René Charpentier, La Galerie de Girardon, plate VI (detail), etching and engraving
one on the Place Louis-le-Grand in Paris. In the former, the king’s right arm rests on a baton, whereas in the latter it is raised and the hand points towards the distance in a gesture of command, like Marcus Aurelius’s in Rome. The presence of the baton is repeated in a statue of the same subject illustrated in the Galerie de Girardon (plate VI, no. 10; fig. 1), a series of engravings published in 1709 depicting the sculptor’s own collection, which included several works by his own hand. The correspondence between the Beauvais bronze and the one depicted in the Galerie suggests that the two are the same composition, and this is confirmed by an annotation in one copy of the Galerie, which states that the bronze in Girardon’s collection ‘served as the model for the big statue erected on 4 September 1701 at the Château de Boufflers’ (Maral 2016, p. 224). The cast in the Galerie has been recently identified by Françoise de la Moureyre with a bronze now in a private collection, published in the monograph on Girardon she co-authored with Alexandre Maral (ill. pp. 444–45 and p. 509, Sb. 19). The present bronze, which also features the king in the act of resting his right hand on a baton, certainly shares the same model as the Beauvais monument, albeit with variations. These include the shape of the horse’s tail, plaited in the present instance and tied with a band in the Beauvais type; the presence of a laurel wreath on the sovereign’s head in the former and its absence in the latter; the fashion of the King’s sandals; the decoration on his cuirass; and the position of his sword’s scabbard. A bronze Equestrian Monument of King Louis XIV by the studio of Girardon that matches the present composition in every detail is today in the former residence of Louis XIV’s financier, Paul Poisson de Bourvallais, at Château de Champs-sur-Marne (Martin 1986, p. 213, figs. 128–29). This type of smallerscale version of the monumental bronze commissioned by Louvois and acquired by Boufflers would have been requested by members of the French aristocracy as a sign of allegiance to the King, and entrusted to the master’s assistants. As mentioned above, the contract for the bronze that was eventually installed in Beauvais was signed in 1690. In addition, in February 1692 Girardon was recorded as having produced ‘several studies, drawings and models’ for it, and the final casting took place in 1694 (Maral 2016, pp. 221–22). This, together with the fact that Girardon kept for a time the model of the Boufflers bronze in his collection, indicates that his studio would have been closely familiar with the composition, as a limited number of highly finished versions attest (Martin 1986, pp. 214–16, and de la Moureyre in Maral 2016, pp. 443–44).
related literature M. Martin, Les Monuments équestres de Louis XIV: une grande enterprise de propagande monarchique, Paris, 1986 A. Maral, Girardon, le sculpteur de Louis XIV, Paris, 2016
the ciechanowiecki master, 17th century
Dying Gaul Gilt bronze 4 in. (10 cm) high 7⅛ in. (18 cm) wide 3½ in. (9 cm) deep provenance Private collection, France
With its meticulous attention to detail, and the finely worked surface, the present bronze displays strong formal similarities with an extensive group of bronzes, mostly gilded, attributed to the anonymous sculptor referred to as the ‘Ciechanowiecki Master’, after Count Andrew Ciechanowiecki (1924– 2015). Ciechanowiecki, who was the first to identify this artist’s distinctive style, associated the master with the Augsburg goldsmith and sculptor David Schwestermüller (1596–1678), who certainly may have seen such small-scale sculptures during his apprenticeship in Italy. Over the years, the many attempts that have been made to identify the master range broadly, from Adriaen de Vries, Camelio and Franco-Flemish, third quarter of the seventeenth century, to the most recent identification of the master as an artist active in late sixteenth-century Rome (Leither-Jasper and Wengraf 2004, p. 250).
fig. 1 Roman, 1st/2nd century ad Dying Gaul Marble Capitoline Museum, Rome, inv. MC0747
This finely cast gilt bronze is closely based on the antique marble Dying Gaul, in the collection of the Capitoline Museum, Rome (fig. 1). The ancient Roman statue was first recorded in the 1623 inventory of the Ludovisi collection in Rome, in which it was described as a dying gladiator; in 1633 the sculpture was in the Palazzo Grande on the Ludovisi estate on the Pincio (Haskell and Penny 1981, p. 224). Apart from a short period of time, when it was seized by Don Livio Odescalchi in payment of a debt, the Dying Gaul remained with the Ludovisi family until some time before 1737. It was then acquired by Pope Clement XII (1652–1740) for the Capitoline Museum, where it remained until 1797. It was handed over to the French under the terms of the Treaty of Tolentino; following the defeat of Napoleon, it was returned to Rome in 1816 and re-installed in the Capitoline Museum. A touching celebration of the potential of the human spirit, the Dying Gaul portrays a fallen warrior in his final moments, before he dies from the wound on his chest. For a long time, the sculpture was thought to represent a gladiator at the point of death. Furthermore, the presence of the broken horn led the German art historian J.J. Winckelmann to reconsider the true subject of the statue, proposing that it represented instead a Greek herald (Haskell and Penny 1981, p. 226). It was E.Q. Visconti (1751–1818) who sensibly argued that the ethnic qualities of the figure suggested he was a barbarian warrior, either a Gaul or a German, who had heroically died on the battlefield (Haskell and Penny 1981, p. 226). By mid nineteenth century, scholars agreed that it depicted a Gallic warrior; his moustache, the matted, thick locks of hair, and the torque around his neck indicated that he belonged to one of the Celtic tribes which the Greeks and Romans considered barbarians. Since the late nineteenth century, the statue has been considered to be a copy of a Greek bronze original created in the first half of the third century bc to commemorate the victories of Attalus I (269–197 bc), King of Pergamon, over the Gauls (Haskell and Penny 1981, p. 227). Ever since its discovery, the sculpture enjoyed great popularity among artists and collectors as its fame spread quickly, thanks to the etching by François Perrier (1590–1650), published in Rome in 1638. Plaster casts were made for King Philip IV of Spain (1605–1665) and the French Academy in Rome, followed by a marble copy carved by Michel Monnier for Louis XIV (1638–1715). Various large-scale copies were also realised in England – Peter Scheemakers carved one in stone for the garden at Rousham in Oxfordshire, Simon Vierpyl also carved one in marble for Lord Pembroke’s Wilton estate in Wiltshire, whilst Luigi Valadier cast it in bronze for the great hall of Duke of Northumberland’s mansion of Syon. Numerous
fig. 2 Giovanni Paolo Panini Ancient Rome, 1757 Oil on canvas The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Gwynne Andrews Fund, 1952
other casts in bronze were realised by Gianfrancesco Susini (1585–1653) in the seventeenth century, followed by Giovanni Zoffoli (c. 1745–1805) in the eighteenth century. Given greatest prominence in Giovanni Paolo Panini’s gallery of ancient art (Fig. 2), the Dying Gaul inspired numerous works, such as Diego Velàzquez’s Mercury and Argus (Museo del Prado, Madrid, inv. P001175) and Jean Louis David’s Male Nude Study, called Patroclus (Musée Thomas Henry, Cherbourg). Copying the sculpture not only became de rigueur for art students, but the Dying Gaul also represented an unmissable stop on the Grand Tour of the educated European elite. Lord Byron, who toured Italy between 1816 and 1823, beautifully immortalized it in his poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage: I see before me the Gladiator lie: He leans upon his hand – his manly brow Consents to death, but conquers agony, And his droop’d head sinks gradually low – And through his side the last drops, ebbing slow From the red gash, fall heavy, one by one, Like the first of a thunder-shower; and now The arena swims around him – he is gone, Ere ceased the inhuman shout which hail’d the wretch who won.
related literature F. Haskell and N. Penny, Taste and the Antique: The Lure of Classical Sculpture 1500–1900, New Haven and London, 1981, pp. 224–27 M. Leither-Jasper and P. Wengraf, European Bronzes from the Quentin Collection, exh. cat., The Frick Collection, New York, 2004
massimiliano soldani-benzi (1656–1740)
Castor and Pollux After the Antique Bronze 19¾ in. (50 cm) high 12½ in. (32 cm) wide 7 in. (18 cm) deep provenance Private collection, United States of America
Born to an aristocratic cavalry captain from Tuscany, Massimiliano Soldani-Benzi became one of the finest bronze casters in late seventeenth- and early eighteenthcentury Europe and, along with his contemporary Giovanni Battista Foggini, is considered the most significant proponent of the Florentine late Baroque style in sculpture. He first trained in Florence under the painter Volterrano, who encouraged him to attend the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno, and subsequently enrolled at the Medicean Academy in Rome in 1678. There he studied under the medallist Pietro Travani, the painter and sculptor Ciro Ferri, who had been a pupil of Pietro da Cortona, and the sculptor Ercole Ferrata, who had trained under both Alessandro Algardi and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Soldani-Benzi excelled in the field of medal- and coin-making and soon received commissions from Pope Innocent XI, Queen Christina of Sweden and prominent members of the papal court. Whilst perfecting his art in Paris, Soldani-Benzi attracted the attention of King Louis XIV and his entourage, but, at the behest of Cosimo III de’ Medici, he returned to Florence in 1682 and was named Director of the Grand-Ducal Mint. Two years later he was appointed Professor at the Accademia del Disegno where he had once studied. His workshop was located in the heart of Florence, on the ground floor of the Galleria degli Uffizi. In his capacity as Director of the Mint, he oversaw the process of striking coins, but more importantly concentrated on the casting of large bronze medals, in which his skill gained him substantial recognition. Towards the end of the 1690s, Soldani-Benzi also began to dedicate himself to the production of reduced-scale bronzes, such as the present work. Statuettes after the ancient and modern masters represent an important part of his production, one that he cultivated steadily from the turn of the eighteenth century until his death in 1740, and upon which his international renown rests to this day. By the end of his career, his patrons had included, in addition to those already mentioned, Gran Principe Ferdinando de’ Medici, Prince Johann Adam of Liechtenstein, the Elector Palatine, the Duke of Marlborough and the Earl of
fig. 1 Roman (1st century BC) Castor and Pollux Marble Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, inv. no. E000028
Burlington. Especially during the artist’s maturity, the British ‘milordi’ formed a substantial part of Soldani-Benzi’s patrons, as confirmed by the discovery of four hundred folios of correspondence between him and the intermediary Giovanni Giacomo Zamboni in London. Unfortunately, Zamboni’s replies have been lost at the Florentine end, though a few of his draft letters from the 1720s do survive in the Bodleian Library. The correspondence begins on 15 October 1716, just after the visit to Florence of the twenty-year-old Earl of Burlington, and covers the latter half of Soldani’s career. The present composition is drawn from an ancient Roman marble group, of near life-size proportions, now in the Prado Museum in Madrid (fig. 1). The statue – probably excavated on the site of the ancient Gardens of Sallust in Rome – was first recorded in a 1623 inventory of the Ludovisi collection, in whose palace on the Pincian Hill it resided until it was acquired by Cardinal Camillo Massimi
fig. 1 ‘Decy sese pro patria devoventes in Hortis Ludovisianis’, engraving from the 1660 Dutch edition of François Perrier, Segmenta nobilium signorum e statuaru (Rome, 1638), pl. XXXVII fig. 2 David Beck Queen Christina of Sweden, c. 1650 Oil on copper Livrustkammaren (Royal Armoury), Stockholm
(1620–1677). Upon Massimi’s death, the painter Carlo Maratta entreated Queen Christina of Sweden (1626–1689; fig. 3), who had by then settled in Rome after having abdicated in 1654, to acquire the marble, hoping that the prized antiquity would thus remain in Rome. She heeded Maratta’s advice, but, as a result of a series of hereditary successions, this did not save the Castor and Pollux from being sold, in 1724, to King Philip V of Spain. The monarch chose to display it in his country palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, where it remained until 1839, when it was moved to the Prado (for a detailed account see Haskell and Penny 1981, p. 173). In 1638 the French painter François Perrier included the Castor and Pollux in his anthology of the most admired statues in Rome (Segmenta nobilium signorum et statuarum …, Rome, pl. XXXVII; fig. 2). He captioned the illustration ‘Decii sese pro patria devoventes’, believing the statue to represent the Roman Consul Publius Decius and his son, who swore an oath to protect Rome and sacrificed their lives in battle against the enemy, as recounted by the Augustan historian Livy.
A 1633 inventory, however, describes the marble as depicting Castor and Pollux, the identification that has traditionally remained the most widely accepted. The two were the twin sons of Leda from different fathers, Tyndareus, King of Sparta, and Zeus, King of Olympus. Together, they came to be known as the Dioscuri. Later in the eighteenth century, because the two figures are portrayed in the act of sacrificing at an altar with a libation dish, the archaeologist Johann Joachim Winckelmann understood them to be Orestes and Pylades at the tomb of the former’s father Agamemnon (Haskell and Penny 1981, p. 174). Several proposals have been made for the identity of the two figures, which remains the subject of debate, complicated by the fact that the head of the youth holding the libation dish is actually from a statue of Antinoüs, the deified lover of Emperor Hadrian, and was attached to the group some time before 1638. Soldani-Benzi arrived in Rome in 1678, the same year the ancient marble group was acquired by his soon-to-be patron Christina of Sweden, for whose portrait medallion he cut dies in 1681. It is therefore highly likely that the young artist saw the statue and was aware of its fame. Only one other cast of this subject by Soldani-Benzi is known, now preserved in the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Canada, and formerly owned by the heirs of the 1st Duke of Marlborough, an important patron of the sculptor (52.5 cm high; inv. no. 82/66). It is interesting to note that both the latter and the present bronze are larger than the format usually adopted by Soldani-Benzi for his models after the Antique (traditionally around 30 cm high), likely a decision dictated by the patrons. The fine workmanship of our bronze’s surface, together with its characteristically Florentine, translucent, reddish-brown patina distinguish it as an autograph work by Soldani-Benzi. The definition of details such as the toe and finger-nails, the different tooling used for the altar’s surface, the expert modelling of the youths’ anatomies and the accurately drawn curls of their hair further point in the direction of the Florentine master bronzier, whose finesse of technique was seldom matched. related literature F. Haskell and N. Penny, Taste and the Antique: the Lure of Classical Sculpture 1500–1900, New Haven and London, 1981 C. Avery, ‘Soldani’s mythological bronzes and his British clientèle’, Sculpture Journal, xiv, 2005, pp. 8–29
maestro guglielmo (active c. 1159–62)
Lectern representing Two Angels Marble 22¾ in. (58 cm) long 17 in. (43 cm) wide provenance Possibly from the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Pisa Prince Johan II of Liechtenstein (1840–1929), Veste Liechtenstein, Mödling, before 1924; Rossau Palace, Vienna, by 1924; thence by descent, Schloss Vaduz, Liechtenstein, by 1944; until sold by the Princely House of Liechtenstein, 2008
Between 1159 and 1162, Maestro Guglielmo carved the first monumental marble pulpit for the great Cathedral of Pisa. This work introduced an unprecedentedly extensive and immediately recognizable narrative programme which directly related to the sermons being preached from the pulpit. The cycle included a total of fourteen reliefs illustrating scenes from the Life of Christ including the
fig. 1 Guido Bigarelli (Guido da Como), Pulpit, c. 1239 and 1250 San Bartolomeo in Pantano, Pistoia
fig. 2 Fra Guglielmo Pulpit, 1270 San Giovanni Fuoricivitas, Pistoia
Annunciation and Visitation and the Three Marys at the Tomb, the Last Supper, the Transfiguration and the Ascension. His design was enormously influential in the region of Tuscany during the mid twelfth century and first half of the thirteenth century; for example, its classicizing, rectangular, two-tier form with groups of protruding full-length figures crowned by an overhanging eagle and angel lecterns, clearly inspired the later pulpit designed by Guido Bigarelli (known as Guido da Como) for the church of San Bartolomeo in Pantano, Pistoia, which was installed between 1239 and 1250 (fig. 1). Another sculptor, Fra Guglielmo, carved a pulpit for San Giovanni Fuorcivitas in Pistoia in 1270 which also drew upon the rectangular, double-tiered design of Maestro Guglielmo (fig. 2). Around 1312 Maestro Guglielmo’s pulpit in Pisa Cathedral was replaced by Nicola Pisano’s polygonal design from 1260 and Guglielmo’s original was dismantled and sent to Cagliari in Sardinia, to adorn the Cathedral of Santa Maria. Here it was split up to form two pulpits with two lecterns, one representing an eagle and the other a trinity of angels (figs. 3a–b). The angels that appear on one of the pulpits in Sardinia, formerly of Pisa Cathedral, are identical to the present pair, making it highly likely that the these also came from the original pulpit at Pisa, but were separated and removed in the process of its dismantling and transportation to Sardinia around 1312. The primary function of the pulpit in the twelfth-century cathedral was as a platform from which to preach, and the chief role of the present pair of angels upon such a structure would have been to support the heavily bound Gospels
fig. 3a Maestro Guglielmo Pulpit, formerly in Pisa Cathedral, 1159–62 Cattedrale di Santa Maria, Cagliari, Sardinia
fig. 3b Maestro Guglielmo Pulpit, with angels lectern, formerly in Pisa Cathedral, 1159–62 Cattedrale di Santa Maria, Cagliari, Sardinia
and Epistles being read. The style of the present pulpit emerged during the rise of Scholasticism, which was developed in twelfth-century cathedral schools and attempted to synthesize the achievements of Christian and classical learning. The pulpits represented some of the earliest visual manifestations of the movement, and created a synergy between the verbal and the visual forms of the teaching and devotion practised at the time. For example, whilst Scholastic teaching emphasized preaching in the vernacular tongue, as opposed to Latin, the visual imagery carved on the pulpits from which the sermons were delivered appears markedly more naturalistic, and represents a departure from the abstract forms and symbols of the previous age. In purely artistic terms, the beautifully designed pulpits and lecterns, originating from the mid twelfth and early thirteenth centuries, by the likes of Maestro Guglielmo, Nicola Pisano, Guido Bigarelli (Guido da Como), Fra Guglielmo and their respective circles, represent some of the finest and most important sculptural achievements in pre-Gothic Western art, and they laid the groundwork for the later classicizing developments of the Renaissance.
related literature C. Maltese, Arte in Sardegna dal V al XVIII secolo, Roma, 1962 M. Salmi, ‘Toscana e Sardegna nel periodo romanico’, in Atti del XIII Congresso di Storia dell’Architettura, Roma, 1966 P. Sanpaolesi, Il Duomo di Pisa e l’architettura romanica in Toscana dalle origini, Pisa, 1975 C. Maltese, R. Serra, ‘Episodi di una civiltà anticlassica’, in Arte in Sardegna, Milano, 1986 R. Serra, La Sardegna: Italia romanica, X, Milano, 1989 R. Serra, Pittura e scultura dall’età romanica alla fine del ’500: Storia dell’arte in Sardegna, Nuoro, 1990 R. Coroneo, Architettura romanica dalla metà del Mille al primo ’300: Storia dell’Arte in Sardegna, Nuoro, 1993 R. Coroneo, ‘Fra il pergamo di Guglielmo e la bottega di Jaume Cascalls: Arte in Sardegna nella prima metà del XIV secolo’, in Medioevo, saggi e rassegne, XX, Cagliari, 1995 R. Coroneo, ‘Recensione a Anna Rosa Calderoni Masetti, Il pergamo di Guglielmo per il Duomo di Pisa oggi a Cagliari’, in Bollettino d’Arte, n. 109/110, Roma, 1999 R. Calderoni Masetti, Il pergamo di Guglielmo per il duomo di Pisa oggi a Cagliari: Opera della Primaziale Pisana, Pisa, 2000 A.F. Moskowitz, Nicola and Giovanni Pisano pulpits, London, 2005
antonio susini (active 1574–1624)
Minerva, c. 1578
After a model by Giambologna (1529–1608) for a silver figurine cast by Cencio della Nera Bronze 6¼ in. (16 cm) high, excluding base 8¼ in. (21 cm) high, including base provenance Probably with David Peel, London
Characterized by the helmet on her head, shield to her side and position of her right hand, which would originally have held a spear, the present figure certainly represents the pagan goddess of wisdom known as Athena to the Greeks and Minerva to the Romans. The composition originates in a model by the Medicean court sculptor Giambologna, only two contemporary examples of which are know today, in the Bargello museum in Florence (inv. Bro 420) and in the Museo Civico Amedeo Lia in La Spezia, Italy (inv. B 277). These are perhaps to be linked with a documentary reference to some figurines in silver made by Cencio della Nera for the Medici in the 1570s, to designs by Giambologna (see Dhanens, 1956, p. 186, no. XXXIII – ‘De Silveren Vrouwenbeeldjes’ [The silver statuettes of women]): 1. Duck-girl with six ducks, 23 May 1574 Una figura d’arg[en]to che una donna con no. sei anitre che quatra a pie et uno in sulla spalla e una lucierna in mano e per manico una oca con suo coperchio et luminuello (a figure in silver that is a woman with six ducks – four at her feet, one on her shoulder and a lantern in her hand which has a goose for its handle, a cover and a night-light) 2. Nude woman with a staff in her hand 3. Clothed woman, 12 August 1577 Giovanni Bologna riceve come sopra [una quanitita di argento] per gettare due figurine, rappresentanti due donne, una nuda con bastone in mano e l’altra vestita (Giambologna receives a sum of money to cast two figurines representing two women, one of whom is nude and with a staff in her hand and the other clothed) 4. Figurine with a shield in its hand – failed casting, 3 July 1578 … un altra figurina stacata dispersa con uno squdo in mano et uno bastone (… another figurine detached and flawed with a shield in one hand and a staff in the other)
As is universally the case when discussing items in contemporary documents the fact that the Italian noun, ‘figurina’, happens to be feminine has to be borne in mind, for it does not refer to the sex of the subject. This applies to the last of these three descriptions, for while in the others una donna is specified this figure might equally have been male. Charles Avery further identified a later cast of the composition, datable to c. 1600 (Cologne, with Messrs A. & E. Offerman, c. 1994), and a statuette of the same subject treated in a more ornamental way, with daintily incised rinceaux, and then gilded to enhance it still further. This treatment of Minerva’s shield can in fact be paralleled in one held up by a Roman soldier at the left end of Giambologna’s relief of the Via Crucis in the series of Passion scenes that he invented in 1579 for Luca Grimaldi for his chapel in San Francesco in Castelletto in Genoa. Its partially gilt, tapering pedestal, with ajouré, counter-curving, buttresses at the corners, is of the period and the star of eight points applied in silver compares well with that on the niche on Orsanmichele in Florence of the Confraternity of Judges and Notaries, which in 1583 commissioned from Giambologna the huge bronze statue of their patron St Luke. Further parallels for the style and facture of the present statuette are also offered in the six statuettes of Angels alighting that Giambologna produced, probably with the help of Susini, in 1596 for a ciborium in the church of the Certosa di Galluzzo, just south of Florence (National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 21 cm high; see C. Avery, Giambologna: An Angel Alighting, Altomani & Sons, Milan, 2012, cover, frontispiece and pp. 15 and 19). The drapery of the crowning figure of the unique Risen Christ (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, inv. no. 63.39; 30.5 cm high) and of the four Evangelists (some known in more than the one cast in the Certosa di Galluzzo) is also of course similar, being a particular stylization invented by Giambologna and then taken up and exaggerated towards the end of the century by Antonio Susini. Giambologna may have had in mind Cellini’s much taller statuette (89 cm high) of the same goddess, Minerva, which is, however, nude, that stands in one of the niches in the pedestal of his group of Perseus and Medusa under the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence (original now in the Bargello for the sake of preservation). Dating from June 1553, it would have been unveiled just after Giambologna had arrived in Florence from Rome (see C. Avery and S. Barbaglia, L’opera completa del Cellini, Milan, 1981, p. 97, no. 60, pls. XLV, XLVII; and J. Pope-Hennessy, Cellini, London, 1985, pp. 177, 181, pls. 91–94, 119). Giambologna’s elegant, clothed
miniature shares the radical elongation of the woman’s body, the way in which her right arm is raised up high, with its forearm and hand wrapped round the missing spear (in that case now missing) and the left one lowered nearly against her thigh (but in this case to support a shield: both have rather fixed expressions and high plumed, Grecian helmets well pushed back to reveal the curly hair parted on their foreheads). Their connection is corroborated by the fact that both their helmets are animated on the sides by a swirl in relief, meant to have been hammered into the metal by the armourer. It is conceivable that no. 2 above, of 12 August 1577, a silver Nude woman with a staff in her hand, was a direct critique of Cellini’s and that no. 3 – presumably matching it – was the present type of Minerva in her normal uniform. But it is more probable that the latter is no. 4, the silver figurine described as ‘with a shield in its hand and a staff in the other’ – a failed casting of 3 July 1578. In any case, as all date within a year of one another, it is reasonable to suppose they had cognate subjects, and were ‘souvenirs’ and variations of Cellini’s big statuettes of 1552 and 1553. This composition of a classical female figure with one hand raised was reused at the end of the sculptor’s career for a colossal marble statue of the Grand Duchess Joanna of Austria as Abundance that crowns the axial series of steps, paths and fountains that lead up from the rear courtyard of the Pitti Palace to the top of the Boboli Gardens. This was carved about 1600–09 by Pietro Tacca and B. Salvini (Avery 1987, p. 255, no. 24, pl. 294). We are grateful to Dr Charles Avery for his contribution in cataloguing this bronze.
related literature E. Dhanens, Jean Boulogne, Giovanni Bologna Fiammingo, Brussels, 1956 C. Avery and A. Radcliffe eds., Giambologna, Sculptor to the Medici, exh. cat., Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh and Victoria and Albert Museum, London, London, 1978, p. 81, no. 30 C. Avery, Giambologna: The Complete Sculpture, Oxford, 1987 C. Brockhaus & G. Leinz, Die Beschwörung der Kosmos: Europäische Bronzen der Renaissance, Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum Duisburg, Europäische Zentrum moderner Skulptur, Duisburg 1994, p. 105, no. 34 C. Avery, La Spezia, Museo Civico Amedeo Lia: 4: Sculture – bronzetti, placchette, medaglie, Milan, 1998, pp. 132–33, no. 79
johann spörer (1720–1759)
The Borghese Gladiator, c. 1740 After the Antique Limewood 18½ in. (47 cm) high 18 in. (46 cm) wide
The famed ancient marble prototype for this figure, known as the Borghese Gladiator, was discovered a short time before 11 June 1611, in Anzio, on the west coast of Italy. It was removed to the estate of Cardinal Borghese by 1613 and on 27 September 1807 was purchased by Napoleon and sent to Paris in 1808. The ancient model has been particularly admired for the veracious rendering of the gladiator’s anatomy. Within twenty years of its discovery, a bronze version of the work had been cast by Hubert Le Sueur for Charles I. Other famous casts of the Borghese Gladiator were made for the 4th Earl of Pembroke at Wilton (which was later moved to the iconic stairwell at Houghton Hall in Norfolk), the Duke of Bedford at Woburn Abbey and the Duke of Dorset at Knole, in Kent. Although the maker of the present model is unknown, it is highly likely that he came from Germany or the surrounding region, where there existed, by the late eighteenth century, a long and established tradition of wooden sculpture of this type. Notably, a set of twelve boxwood models after the antique – including the Laocoön, the Farnese Hercules and the Belvedere Antinoüs – by the German Johan Spörer appears in the inventory of the famous collector Domenico Martelli (1672– 1753), and is housed to this day in the Museo di Palazzo Martelli, Florence. Spörer was active in Rome and also carved compositions after the antique in fruitwood, such as his models of the Furietti Centaurs, signed IONES SPORER. Reduced versions inspired by the most revered antique prototypes both satisfied and perpetuated a quasi-devotional attitude towards the limited number of marbles which survived from ancient times, reaching its zenith in the second half of the eighteenth century. Sculptures in fruitwood were highly prized by artists and collectors for their warm brown, patinated, bronze-like surface, and often appealed to the same collectors who prized bronze statuettes. One imagines they may have enjoyed the idea that the virtuoso carver would ‘release’ a figure from the trunks of these trees. related literature F. Haskell and N. Penny, Taste and the Antique: The Lure of Classical Sculpture 1500 – 1900, New Haven and London, 1981, pp. 221–24 Bronze and Boxwood: Renaissance Masterpieces from the Robert H. Smith Collection, Washington, 2008
giovanni battista foggini (1652–1725)
Bound Captive Inspired by the Monument to Grand Duke Ferdinando I de’ Medici at Livorno, Italy, by Pietro Tacca (1577–1640) Bronze 17¾ in. (45 cm) high, excluding base
Described by his contemporary, the biographer Francesco Saverio Baldinucci, as a precocious talent, Giovanni Battista Foggini began his apprenticeship at the age of ten, in his native Florence, in the workshop of the painter Iacopo Giorgi. By the age of fifteen, thanks to the introduction of mathematician Vincenzo Viviani, Giovanni Battista was employed by Grand Duke Ferdinando II de’ Medici, for whom he executed ‘heads and bas-reliefs in marble’, with a salary of four scudi a month (Baldinucci [c. 1725–30] 1975, p. 373). In 1673 Cosimo III de’ Medici, who had succeeded his father Ferdinando as Grand Duke three years earlier, sent Foggini to study in Rome, at the Accademia for Florentine artists instituted that same year under his auspices. There, Foggini trained under Ciro Ferri and Ercole Ferrata, former pupils of the celebrated Baroque masters Pietro da Cortona and Alessandro Algardi respectively, and established artists in their own right. A highrelief Adoration of the Shepherds in marble from c. 1675, now in the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (inv. no. 9Н.ск-532), beautifully illustrates the influence of Algardi’s pictorial rendering of compositions and narrative lyricism on Foggini. The lesson of these formative years – the fluid, painterly quality and elegant, elaborate compositions of the late Roman Baroque, alongside the study of Roman antiquities – was to inform Foggini’s production throughout his long and successful career. In the fourth year of his Roman sojourn Giovanni Battista was summoned back to Florence and, in 1677, established his own workshop in the Loggia Rucellai. Commissions varied from portrait busts, including those of the explorer Amerigo Vespucci and the scientist Galileo Galilei, to more complex projects, such as the Corsini chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine, begun in 1677 and completed in 1701, famous to this day for its three majestic altarpieces in marble. Working across a wide range of media and executing designs for projects as diverse as palatial architectures (notably for Palazzo Medici Riccardi) and silver church furnishings, Foggini rapidly established himself as one of the most prominent Florentine artists of his generation. Given his interest in classical antiquity, cultivated since the stay in Rome, Foggini was also called upon to restore ancient statuary, or to execute replicas, such as those commissioned from him by the King of France Louis XIV, after the marbles in the Tribuna of the Uffizi (c. 1685).
The turning point of Foggini’s career was arguably in 1687, when he was named primo scultore and granted the workshop at Borgo Pinti that had housed grandducal sculptors since the days of Giambologna, including Pietro Tacca (1577–1640) and his son Ferdinando (1619–1686). In 1694 Foggini also succeeded Pier Maria Baldi as primo architetto at court, and as such became responsible for the direction of the works in the Medici chapel at San Lorenzo and, more widely, for all the sacred and secular objects and furnishings produced for the grand ducal family, such as the exquisite pietre dure inlays for which Florence was renowned. A night clock presented by Grand Duke Cosimo III to his daughter, the Electress Palatine, now in the J.Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles (inv. no. 97.DB.37), exemplifies the level of quality of Foggini’s designs and hardstone inlays. Another important gift – of high diplomatic significance – that the Medicean court entrusted to Foggini was the gilt-bronze Equestrian Portrait of King Charles II of Spain (65 cm high; Museo del Prado, Madrid). Executed in 1698, its model was then adapted by Foggini for an analogous effigy, dated 1706, of the Hapsburg Emperor Joseph I (65.5 cm high; Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich), donated by Grand Duke Cosimo III to his son-in-law Johann Wilhelm, a close ally of Joseph I. The Charles II was damaged in a fire at the Alcazar in Madrid in 1734, but the eminent scholar of the Florentine Baroque Klaus Lankheit established that its base ‘had originally been adorned with four bronze angle-statuettes of bound captives’, one of which is recorded in a photograph from the 1930s but remains untraced (Brook 2012, p. 168, notes 13–14). The base of the equestrian portrait gift for Joseph I has not survived in its entirety either, but the two figures originally attached to it visible today in the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum in Munich also represent bound captives (both 41 cm high). These bear a close resemblance to the four bronze Moors executed by Foggini’s predecessor Pietro Tacca for the base of the monument to Ferdinando I de’ Medici in Livorno (c. 1617–25; fig. 1), a commanding marble statue of the ruler that was erected as part of a group of four portraits commissioned to be placed as symbols of Medici authority in the conquered cities of Pisa, Livorno and Arezzo, completed under Ferdinando’s son Cosimo II (Brook 2012, p. 166). Tacca’s Moors, with their descriptive rendering of facial features, also served as a reminder of the Medicean role in the ongoing battle against Ottoman corsairs along Mediterranean coasts. As Filippo Baldinucci writes, ‘some clay models and gesso casts’ from the Livorno Moors were in the Borgo Pinti workshop at the time of Foggini’s residence there (Brook 2012, p. 167, note 11), and certainly served the latter as inspiration for
fig. 1 Pietro Tacca Moors from the base of the Monument to Ferdinando I de’ Medici, 1617–25 Bronze Livorno
the bases of his statuettes of Charles II and Joseph I. However, Foggini eschewed mere repetition, creating instead figures that responded to the refined aesthetic sensibility of the dawn of the eighteenth century, having devised his own clay models. As comparison between the figure on the south-west angle of the Livorno monument and the corresponding one from the pedestal of Emperor Joseph I’s portrait reveals, Foggini updated Tacca’s figure in both composition and style. For example, Foggini added a cloth that both covers the Moor’s genitalia and, more importantly, creates a subtle surface contrast between the drapery folds and the tense muscles of the otherwise naked figure. The feet in Tacca’s version are crossed and starkly perpendicular to each other, while in Foggini’s bronze they touch the support with only the heels, to remain theatrically suspended in mid-air. Two sketches of bound captives – which appear on the right section of a sheet by Foggini now in the Metropolitan Museum (inv. no. 52.570.243) – further show how our sculptor focused on departing from Tacca’s prototypes, as both display tousled hair, neither corresponds exactly to a pose by Tacca, and one experiments with the idea of having one captive with an arm tied across the front of his torso, a compositional solution lacking in Livorno. In the present figure, the pose broadly follows that of the Moor on the northeast angle of the Livorno monument (fig. 2), but its head is endowed with a windswept mane of hair and a beard absent in Tacca, and details in the posture and drapery are also altered. Notably, the composition of the present bronze matches that of a wax cast preserved in the Museo Richard-Ginori della Manifattura di Doccia in Sesto Fiorentino, Tuscany (fig. 3), which was photographed in 1935
fig. 2 Pietro Tacca Moor from the north-east corner of the Monument to Ferdinando I de’Medici, 1624–25 Bronze Livorno fig. 3 Photograph dated 1935 of three wax casts by Vincenzio Foggini, after models by his father Giovanni Battista Foggini
alongside two other wax casts that correspond to Foggini’s bronze figures for the pedestal of the bronze Emperor Joseph I on Horseback now in Munich (these two waxes were published in 1982 by Lankheit, who saw one in the Doccia Museum and the other in the Gondi Collection, Florence; see Brook 2012, p. 171, notes 22–23, and p. 186, fig. 12). The presence of wax replicas of three of Foggini’s Moors in Doccia is no coincidence, as the porcelain manufactory’s founder, Marchese Carlo Ginori (1702–1757), had made a point of acquiring moulds of the works of the great Tuscan sculptors from the Renaissance to his day, to have them cast in porcelain and thus preserve their images for posterity. The Doccia ‘Inventory of Models’ duly lists ‘4 schiavi di Livorno di Gio.Batta.Foggini’ (four slaves of Livorno by Giovanni Battista Foggini; Brook 2012, p. 169), and a 1752 document records that Ginori employed Vincezio Foggini, Giovanni Battista’s eldest son, to create wax models of his father’s compositions, listed as ‘4 figure rappresentanti li schiavi di Livorno’ (four figures representing the Livorno slaves; Brook 2012, p. 170, note 21). This proves beyond doubt Foggini’s paternity of our composition, and indicates that its model is the same as that of one of the two figures missing in Munich (and by association as that of one of the four figures missing from the gilt-bronze Equestrian Portrait of Charles II in Madrid). The fact that our figure belonged to Foggini’s group of models after Tacca’s Moors is further confirmed by the existence of a set of four gesso casts in the Museo Civico in Livorno (Brook 2012, pp. 188–89, figs. 14–17), which are identical to the three wax casts by Vincenzo Foggini photographed in 1935, to the two bronzes in Munich, and the present one. The fourth gesso cast in Livorno shows us the appearance of Foggini’s fourth ‘captive’,
fig. 4 Giovanni Battista Foggini Boreas and Orithyia Bronze Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica di Palazzo Corsini, Rome fig. 5 Giovanni Battista Foggini The Suicide of Ajax, c. 1690 Bronze The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
one bronze version of which was discovered in a Parisian private collection in 1974 (Brook 2012, p. 183, fig. 6). Like the present composition, this derives its posture from one of Tacca’s Moors in Livorno, but differs considerably for what concerns the design of the head. When Anthea Brook’s article on the ‘afterlife’ of Pietro Tacca’s Moors was published in 2012, the only visual records of the present model by Foggini were the wax by his son Vincenzio in the Doccia Museum and the gesso cast in Livorno. Our bronze thus represents a fundamental testimony of Foggini’s work on the theme of the four Moors, the attribution of which is substantiated not only by documentary sources but also by stylistic evidence. First is the highly polished quality of the bronze’s surface, arguably only paralleled by Foggini’s contemporary Massimiliano Soldani-Benzi, which is characteristic of late Baroque Florentine bronzes. More specifically, the soft modelling and accurate tooling of the figure’s tousled hair, together with the definition of his facial features, are particular to Foggini’s hand, as typified, for example, by the bronze Boreas from the Boreas and Orithyia in the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica di Palazzo Corsini in Rome (fig. 4), and by the bronze Suicide of Ajax in the Metropolitan Museum in New York (fig. 5). In both, Foggini portrayed a male bearded figure of similar
countenance to the present one, with equally furrowed brows, strong lines on the forehead, and heavy-lidded eyes. The muscles of Boreas’s naked torso are also modelled similarly to the present Captive’s, and find further parallels in those of the two bronze Captives in Munich. Equal emphasis is placed on the lines of each Captive’s bowed midriff, which recall the rippling patterns in their drapery. This drapery, which folds theatrically across our figure’s legs and appears at once lithe yet sculptural, is also highly characteristic of Foggini’s modelling. It is interesting to note that Foggini’s versions of the Moors were described as ‘the Slaves of the four parts of the World’ in a 1780 inventory record of the then integral statue of Emperor Joseph I and its base (Brook 2012, p. 168), a notion that gradually took hold. Within the frame of the Moors being personifications of the continents, the present bronze has been identified by scholars to represent America (Brook 2012, p. 171).
related literature F. Baldinucci, Notizie dei Professori del Disegno da Cimabue in qua, A. Matteoli, ed., 1725–30, reprinted Rome, 1975 K. Lankheit, Florentinische Barockplastik. Die Kunst am Hofe der Letzten Medici: 1670–1743, Munich, 1962, pp. 78–80 and 375, figs. 108–15 and 117 S. Rossen, ed., Gli Ultimi Medici: Il tardo barocco a Firenze 1670–1743, exh.cat., The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit and Palazzo Pitti, Florence, 1974, pp. 76–78, nos. 39, 40a–c R. Coppel Aréizaga, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de la Escultura de Epoca Moderna, Madrid, 1998, pp. 132–33, no. 41 A. Brook, ‘From Borgo Pinti to Doccia: the Afterlife of Pietro Tacca’s Moors for Livorno’ in E. McGrath and J.M. Massing eds., The Slave in European Art. From Renaissance Trophy to Abolitionist Emblem (Warburg Institute Colloquia, vol. 20), London, 2012, pp. 165–91
simone bianco (before 1512–after 1553)
Head of an Idealized Woman all’antica Set on to an ancient Roman bust White marble 17 in. (44.5 cm) high provenance By 1726, Francesco Trevisan (1658–1732), Bishop of Verona; by descent, through the Marquis de’ Suarez of Convincento, to Angelo I Giacomo Giustinian-Recanati (1757–1813), Venice literature Franciscus Trevisanus Patritius Venetus … [Museo di Francesco Trevisan], 1726, pl. XVI
fig. 1 Plate XVI, Franciscus Trevisanus Patritius Venetus … [Museo di Francesco Trevisan], 1726
This idealized bust of a woman exhibits typical characteristics – wavy hair restrained by a ribbon, head turned and tilted to the right, and a wistful and reflective expression – as well as the exquisite modelling of Simone Bianco’s greatest works. It illustrates the type of all’antica composition for which Bianco, inspired by the example of the older master Tullio Lombardo (1460–1532), was renowned in sixteenth-century Venice. The present bust was recorded in 1726 in the collection of Francesco Trevisan (1658–1732), Bishop of Verona (fig. 1), whose estate was inherited by the Counts Giustinian-Recanati. Writing in 1847, the historian Emmanuele Antonio Cicogna stated that the ‘museo’ of Francesco Trevisan could still be admired in the Giustinian-Recanati palace at the Zattere, in Venice (vol. I, p. 702). Notably, many of the sculptures owned by Francesco Trevisan and his brother Bernardo, a philosopher, had been acquired in the 1708 sale of the collection of Ferdinando Carlo Gonzaga di Nevers, the last Duke of Mantua, who had in turn enriched his palace in Venice, now the Ca’ Michiel dalle Colonne, thanks to the Ruzzini family’s sale of the ‘museo’ of Federico Contarini (1538–1613), a Venetian patrician celebrated for his collection of antiquities, medals, and paintings and statues by the modern masters, whose daughter Bianca had married Carlo Ruzzini. It is therefore highly likely that the present bust once formed part of the Contarini and Gonzaga di Nevers collections. Simone Bianco’s marble effigies are praised in a 1538 letter addressed to the sculptor by Pietro Aretino (1492–1556), discussing three busts Bianco had sent to King François I of France (Aretino 1609, p. 74). The letter demonstrates that the superlative quality and pathos with which the sculptor modelled his works was also recognized beyond the city of Venice. 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 work is stylistically similar to Bianco’s portrait bust in Berlin, once thought to have portrayed the wife of Nicolò Molino, but follows a more classical formula. As his career progressed, Simone became increasingly influenced by Sansovino and began to produce heads inspired more directly by antique prototypes. As such, the date of our all’antica head can be placed between the Berlin bust and the more rigorously classical effigies that 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 sixteenthcentury 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 2009, 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. We are grateful to Dr Anne Schulz for her contribution in researching the present work and confirming the authorship of Simone Bianco.
related literature M. Michiel, Notizia d’opere di disegno nella prima metà del secolo XVI, 1521–48, ed. J. Morelli, Bassano, 1800 L. Planiscig, ‘Simone Bianco’, Belvedere, v, 1924, pp. 157–63 P. Aretino, Lettere sull’arte di Pietro Aretino, 1609, ed. F. Pertile and E. Camesasca, Milan, 1957–59, vol. I, p. 120, no. 76 T. Martin, ‘Michelangelo’s ‘Brutus’ and the Classicizing Portrait Bust in Sixteenth-Century Italy’, Artibus et Historiae, XIV, no. 27, 1993, pp. 67–83 A. Luchs, Tullio Lombardo and Ideal Portrait Sculpture in Renaissance Venice, Cambridge, 1995 A. Markham Schulz, ‘Simone Bianco’, Saur Kunstlerlexikon, X, 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
florentine, late 17th/early 18th century
Laocoön and His Sons After the Antique Bronze 20½ in. (52 cm) high 15⅜ in. (39 cm) wide 7⅞ in. (20 cm) deep provenance Private collection, Cologne, Germany
Laocoön was a Trojan priest who warned his people against accepting the gift of a wooden horse from the Greeks. The gods, led by Athena, sent sea serpents to strangle Laocoön and his two sons, Antiphantes and Thymbraeus. The death of Laocoön, famously described in Book II of Virgil’s Aeneid, was immortalized with unrivalled skill in the original depiction in marble. The sensational discovery of the monumental marble group of Laocoön and his Sons was made on 14 January 1506 on the Esquiline Hill, near the Roman church of Santa Maria Maggiore. An eyewitness, Francesco, the son of Pope Julius II’s architect Giuliano da Sangallo, wrote an account of his childhood visit to see the Laocoön. He recalled how his father, who was asked to inspect the newly discovered find, invited Michelangelo to join them, and how his father instantly recognized the group as that described by Pliny as one of the chief ornaments of the Palace of Titus, and attributed to three Rhodian sculptors – Hagesander, Polidorus and Athenodorus. The sculpture was bought by Pope Julius II and, by June, it was being installed in a niche in the Belvedere courtyard in the Vatican. Together with the Apollo Belvedere, unearthed a few years earlier, the Laocoön group became the core of the papal collection of ancient statues. Around 1510, Donato Bramante planned a contest, inviting a group of sculptors in Rome to create a wax replica of the Laocoön. Raphael judged this contest and declared the winner the Florentine Jacopo Sansovino, whose model was subsequently cast in bronze and presented to Cardinal Domenico Grimani. Greatly admired both for its anatomical realism and for its expressive power, the Laocoön was widely reproduced from a very early stage. Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, bronze replicas such as the present one were in high demand amongst Grand Tourists. Indeed, the interest in antiquity extended beyond antiquarian circles into the cultured, educated elite, who amassed great collections of antiquities in their villas and houses. related literature F. Haskell and N. Penny, Taste and the Antique, New Haven and London, 1981, pp. 243–47
fig. 1 Roman, 40–30 bc (?) Laocoön and His Sons Marble Museo Pio Clementino, Vatican
aubert-henri-joseph parent (1753–1835)
The Wettin Still Life, 1794 Carved panel relief still life with a bird and a vase containing roses, lilacs, daisies and ranunculi, resting on a ledge bearing the arms of the House of Wettin Limewood 10¾ in. (27.5 cm) high, excluding frame 10¾ in. (27.5 cm) wide, excluding frame signed and dated A.T PARENT. F. 1794. (lower edge) provenance with Mallett at Bourdon House Ltd, London, until 1965; when purchased by Geoffrey MacLeod Hallowes (1918–2006), Surrey, until 2006; private collection, United Kingdom
Aubert-Henri-Joseph Parent was born in Cambrai, in northern France, at the end of 1753. Having initially worked for the local aristocracy, he caught the attention of the King of France, Louis XVI, thanks to a panel relief that was presented to the sovereign during a 1777 celebration commemorating the centennial of the return of the city of Valenciennes to the French crown. The carving featured a basket of flowers, propped on to a plinth emblazoned with a portrait medallion of the king on a background of fleur-de-lis, and two birds looking after their nest of hatchlings. Visible today in Valenciennes’s Musée des Beaux-Arts, it was placed by the king in his apartments at Versailles, specifically in the salle à manger intérieure. Louis XVI’s enthusiasm towards Parent secured the artist a number of prominent commissions at court, which ranged from carved reliefs to architectural designs, and he regularly exhibited at the Salon de la Correspondence from 1779 to 1783. One of his most famous submissions there was a 1783 relief with a portrait medallion of Catherine II, Empress of Russia, circled by a wreath of flowers and surmounting a bird protecting her nest, an allegory of the sovereign’s benevolence towards her subjects. The following year, supported by a royal stipend, Parent travelled to Italy, where he remained until 1788. This sojourn greatly enriched the artist’s repertoire of classical motifs, and, whilst little evidence survives of his studies in situ (two sheets of drawings made in Rome and Florence, now in the Kunstbibliothek, Berlin, and a chalk drawing of a bas-relief now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, being notable exceptions), his production following 1788 certainly bears the mark of his Italian Grand Tour. His vessels evolved from the wicker basket of 1777
to more elaborate, all’antica vases such as the present one, and elements drawn directly from ancient Roman ruins and reliefs began to feature prominently in his designs. Another key influence on Parent – absent in his earliest work, but entirely discernible in his production from the 1780s onwards – were the floral still-life paintings of Dutch and Flemish Baroque artists. The carefully observed blossoms, towering floral compositions and taste for decorative urns of masters such as JeanMichel Picart (c. 1600–1682) – who was born in Antwerp but was court painter of King Louis XIV at Versailles and also acted as an art dealer, helping introduce the taste for Netherlandish floral painting in France – Jan Davidsz. de Heem, Willem van Aelst and Jan van Huysum visibly inspired our artist, and would have been readily available for him to study in Paris and at court, where they were avidly collected. In 1788 Parent returned to Paris brimming with ideas. The king’s patronage, his success at court and the wealth of inspiration that he had encountered in Italy certainly spurred his talent, and – parallel to his carved wood panels – he began creating decorative designs to be published in sets of engravings, which he described as being ‘dans le goût le plus nouveau’ (in the latest fashion). These included artefacts to be executed in bronze and marble, a sign of his versatility and self-confidence as an artist. This phase was cut short by the onset of the French Revolution in 1789, and in the space of two years, as the unrest took an increasingly dramatic turn, Parent decided to move to Switzerland, where he arrived in 1792. He first settled in Basel, taking up a post as lecturer at the University and dedicating his energies to conducting archaeological excavations, the results of which he published in the volume Antiquités de la Suisse (Berlin, 1804). From 1797 to 1804 he was in Berlin, where he was patronized by the King of Prussia and admitted as an associate member to the Academy of Arts. He returned again to Switzerland, to Neuchâtel, the year Antiquités de la Suisse came out, and remained there until 1813, when he made his way back to France, settling in Valenciennes, the city that had been so auspicious to his career decades earlier. There he established a chair of Architecture at the local Academy, holding the post until his death in 1835. To the end of his career he continued to carve exquisite relief panels, which he exhibited in Valenciennes in 1817, 1818, 1833 and 1835, and at the Louvre Salon in 1833. The present panel is a wonderful example of Parent’s famed technical brilliance. Carved in limewood, which was highly prized for its softness and subtle
grain, it is a tour de force of bold undercutting and accuracy of detail. The roses, lilacs, foliage and bird are executed in high relief, a daring approach that heightens their realistic quality and creates vibrant chiaroscuro gradations, to the point that the rose in the centre almost appears to blossom before the viewer. The shape and decoration of the vase bespeak the classical tradition that Parent had mastered in Italy, while the meticulous representation of each leaf ’s vein, of the bird’s feathers and of the scaly texture of the lizard-shaped handles on either side of the vessel beguile the eye of the beholder. This last detail in particular straddles the realms of naturalism and trompe-l’oeil, as the small reptiles’ legs claw realistically on to the urn’s polished surface and their eyes appear to dart in every direction. As a critic had observed of Parent’s work during the Salon of 1783, ‘One hardly expects to see such delicacy united with elegance in such a small place’ (see Streeter 1985, p. 53).
Closely comparable examples within Parent’s oeuvre include two reliefs now in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and a third one in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. It is interesting to note that the same type of lizard handles – a motif Parent had borrowed from a Sevrès porcelain vase – appear, attached to a different urn, in one of the two Getty panels, signed by Parent and dated 1789, whilst the second relief in Los Angeles, executed in 1791, features a lifeless bird analogous to the present one. The composition in New York, signed and dated 1784, when the artist was still in Rome, is arranged according to the same layout as the other three, with the vase standing on a raised plinth underneath which the artist signed his name, and with flowers of the same type as ours, including lilacs, ranunculi and roses. Together, these four panels beautifully illustrate Parent’s ability in translating ‘the colour values of painting into gradations of relief ’ to create incredibly vivid yet elegantly composed images, that reflect on the contrast between the enduring quality of man-made artefacts and the fleeting splendour of nature (see Streeter 1985, p. 57). Arguably, it is this aspect, alongside Parent’s technical accomplishment, that constitutes his compositions’ enduring appeal, and the reason behind their success across the courts of eighteenth-century Europe. In the present case, the coat of arms of the German House of Wettin on the plinth indicates our panel was executed for a member of that dynasty, whose branches at the time ruled the Electorate of Saxony and the Saxon duchies of Thuringia, all states within the Holy Roman Empire. More recently, the relief belonged to Geoffrey MacLeod Hallowes (1918–2006), an officer in the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) during World War II. The organization’s role was to support resistance movements against Nazi fascism in occupied Europe and to conduct espionage and reconnaissance missions. Hallowes’s wife, whom he married in 1956, was the fellow SOE officer Odette Brailly (1912–1995), the first woman to be both awarded the George Cross and appointed Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur, the latter for her work with the French resistance.
related literature Journal des Artistes, 6 December 1835, vol. 2, no. 23, pp. 364–366 S. Lami, Dictionnaire des Sculpteurs de l’École Française au Dix-Huitième Siècle, II, Paris, 1911, p. 224–26 C. Streeter, ‘Two Carved Reliefs by Aubert Parent’, The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal, vol. 13, 1985, pp. 53–66 ‘Recent Acquisitions (2000–2006) of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the Detroit Institute of Arts: Supplement’, The Burlington Magazine, 149, no. 1251, June 2007, p. 453, no. XV D. Kisluk-Grosheide and J. Munger, The Wrightsman Galleries for French Decorative Arts: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Haven and London, 2010, p. 104, no. 42
barthélemy prieur (c. 1536–1611)
Hermes (also known as The Belvedere Antinoüs) Bronze 9 in. (23 cm) high 4 in. (10 cm) wide provenance Private collection, United Kingdom
As a promising young sculptor with a prodigious talent, Barthélemy Prieur was drawn to the Italian peninsula to further his studies, where it is known that he was in Rome as early as the 1550s, presumably after having finished his initial training in France (Seelig-Teuwen 2008, pp. 102–03). Prieur has been identified with the sculptor ‘Bartolomeo’ who was working alongside Ponce Jacquio (active 1527–72) on the decorations of the Ricci-Sacchetti palace in via Giulia (Radcliffe 1993, pp. 275–76). Whilst his Roman activities remain poorly documented, it has been suggested that in the 1550s he took part in the large stucco projects organized under the direction of Daniele da Volterra and Giulio Mazzoni; in the later works, his remarkable skill in the use of soft materials such as wax and clay for the models for his bronzes may indeed reflect his activity as a stuccoist (Seelig-Teuwen 2008, p. 102). After several years in Rome, he moved to Turin, capital of the flourishing duchy of Savoy, where his presence is attested in October 1564. There, he became court sculptor to Duke Emmanuel-Philibert of Savoy (1528–1580), specializing in monumental bronze projects (Seelig-Teuwen 1993, pp. 365–85). Drawing on his time spent in Rome with Jacquio, Prieur initiated and influenced the development of the small bronze statuette genre in France during the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (Warren 2010, p. 22). Prieur had returned to Paris by the time of his marriage to Marguerite Dalencourt on 27 September 1571 and was recorded to have made some small-scale bronzes by 1583 (Grodecki 1986, pp. 129–133). When King Henri IV of France (1553– 1610) came to the throne in 1589, he clearly took a liking to Prieur’s small bronze statuettes. Realising the enormous monarchical propaganda potential that these works would have had, he appointed Prieur to the coveted post of Sculpteur du Roi five years later. In this capacity, he is known to have made reliefs for the Petite Galerie of the Louvre around 1594, alongside restoring certain antique statues for the King. The scale, sculpting, facture and colour of the present bronze all point towards the full authorship of Barthélemy Prieur. What is interesting to note is the idiosyncratic manner in which Prieur models the facial features, especially the
fig. 1 Roman, 2nd century ad Hermes, long known as the Belvedere Antinoüs Marble Vatican Museums, Museo Pio Clementino
eyes, so as to try and represent ancient ideals and proportions; yet, inevitably, in the finished image, it seems that the Renaissance always forces itself into the final gaze. Another pointer to the sculptor is in the beautiful modelling and almost feminine-like rendering of the elongated fingers and nails, which recall so many of Prieur’s other small-scale bronzes. This beautifully modelled bronze statuette is a fine version of the famous antique marble Hermes in the Museo Pio Clementino (fig. 1). The idealized youth was identified for a long time as Antinoüs, the favourite of Emperor Hadrian. By April 1545, the Hermes was certainly in the Cortile Belvedere; however, there are two main theories regarding the precise location of its initial discovery. Aldrovandi thought that it had been found on the Esquiline Hill near San Martino ai Monti, while Mercati disagreed, insisting that it had come from a garden near the Castel Sant’Angelo (Haskell and Penny 1981, p. 141). Upon its discovery, it was immediately acquired by Pope Paul III and stood resplendent in the great Belvedere courtyard of the Vatican until 1797, when it was handed over to the
fig. 2 Charles Le Brun Portrait of the Sculptor Nicolas Le Brun, c. 1635 Oil on canvas Residenzgalerie, Salzburg
French under the terms of the Treaty of Tolentino. However, the removal of the sculpture to the Louvre was to be but a brief sojourn, for, not long after the statue had been triumphantly processed through the streets of Paris in July 1798, it was returned to Rome, following the defeat of Napoleon, in January 1816 (Haskell and Penny 1981, p. 142). The elegant antique marble Hermes has been regarded with the utmost reverence ever since it was discovered in the mid sixteenth century. This is demonstrated by the trend for artists and connoisseurs to have themselves depicted in the vicinity of the model. For example, Nicolas de Largillière’s portraits of both Charles Le Brun (Musée du Louvre, inv. 5661) and Nicolas Coustou (Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen, Berlin, inv. 80.1) feature a version of the model. Similarly, in Charles Le Brun’s portrait of c. 1635 (fig. 2), his father, the sculptor Nicolas Le Brun, is presented with a plaster cast of it. The reasons for this appear to have been as much pedagogic as they were aesthetic and socio-cultural, for Bernini had made the remarkable statement to the Paris Academy in 1666 that ‘when I was in difficulties with my first statue, I turned to the Antinous [Hermes] as to the oracle’ (Wittkower  1999, p. 21).
related literature R. Wittkower, ‘Gianlorenzo Bernini 1598–1680’, in Art and Architecture in Italy 1600–1750, II, ‘The High Baroque 1625–1675’ , New Haven, 1999 R. Seelig-Teuwen, Barthélemy Prieur (1536–1611), Phd diss., Munich, 1973 F. Haskell and N. Penny, Taste and the Antique: The Lure of Classical Sculpture 1500–1900, New Haven and London, 1981, pp. 141–43 C. Grodecki, ‘Inventaire après decès de Marguerite Dalencourt, femme de Barthélemy Prieur, 8th November 1583’, in Documents du Minutier Central des Notaires de Paris: histoire de l’artaux XVIe siècle (1540–1600), vol. II, Paris, 1986, pp. 129–33 A. Radcliffe, ‘Ponce et Pilon’, in Germain Pilon et les sculpteurs français de la Renaissance. Actes du colloque organisé au musée du Louvre les 26 et 27 octobre 1990, ed. Geneviève Bresc-Bautier, Paris, 1993, pp. 275–96 R. Seelig-Teuwen, ‘Barthélemy Prieur, contemporain de Germain Pilon’, in Germain Pilon … 1993, pp. 282–83, 365–85 R. Seelig-Teuwen, ‘Barthélemy Prieur’, in Cast in Bronze: French Sculpture from Renaissance to Revolution, exh. cat., Paris: Musée du Louvre / New York: Metropolitan Museum / Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2008–09, pp. 102–03 J. Warren, ‘Florence, Paris, Rome: Cultural Crossing Points’, in Beauty & Power: Renaissance and Baroque Bronzes from the Peter Marino Collection, exh. cat., Wallace Collection, London, 2010
joseph wilton ra (1722–1803)
The Albani Faun After the Antique Marble 19 in. (48 cm) high 24½ in. (62 cm) high, including the socle provenance Private collection, Rome, Italy
Joseph Wilton was born in 1722 in London. His father was a plasterer, with premises near Cavendish Square and Charing Cross (Roscoe et al. 2009, p. 1385). To complete his training, in 1739 the young Joseph moved to Belgium, where he worked as an assistant to the sculptor Laurent Delvaux (1696–1778) in Nivelles, on the oak pulpit for the local Carmelite church. This was followed by a period in Paris, in the studio of Jean-Baptiste Pigalle (1714–1785), where Joseph remained for a few years. By January 1749 he was in Rome, where he was recommended by the English politician George Bubb Doddington to Cardinal Alessandro Albani (1692–1779), ‘the most enthusiastic and spendthrift of eighteenth-century Roman art patrons’ (Haskell and Penny, p. 63), and the owner of the ancient Roman Faun the present marble is modelled after. In the Eternal City, Wilton initially lived in Palazzo Zuccari on the Strada Felice, where Matthew Brettingham the Younger (1725–1803) also resided (Roscoe et al. 2009, p. 1386). The latter was the son of an English architect, and acted as intermediary between British patrons and Italian collectors, art dealers and sculptors. Both Brettingham and Wilton were active in commissioning plaster casts of antique statues in Roman collections of the period (Roscoe et al. 2009, p. 1386), as testified by Brettingham’s scrupulous account book for the years 1747–1754. One entry on page 28 records that in August 1752 he shipped to London ‘Eight cases of Marble Busto’s and Moulds of Busto’s’, including a ‘Mould of Cardinal Albani’s Faun’, an important terminus ante quem for the presence of this model in England (Kenworthy-Browne 1983, p. 64). In 1750 Wilton became the first Englishman to win a gold medal from the Academy of St Luke, awarded by Pope Benedict XIV in his jubilee year, but his most important patrons were the English and Irish Grand Tourists who sought all’antica statues, such as the avid collector Lord Malton, later 2nd Marquess of Rockingham, and William Locke of Norbury Park, one of the most noted English connoisseurs and theorists of the antique of the period (Roscoe et al. 2009, p. 1386).
Between 1751 and 1755 Wilton lived in Florence, but continued to visit Rome frequently (Roscoe et al. 2009, p. 1386). On 9 January 1752 he was elected to the Florentine Accademia del Disegno, and by June 1753 he was living in a house on the via de’ Bardi belonging to the British envoy Sir Horace Mann, who that September wrote proudly to Horace Walpole of this ‘ingenious modest sculptor’ whose work ‘is admired by all the professors as well as connoisseurs’ (Lewis 1937–83, vol. 20, pp. 391–92, in Roscoe et al. 2009, p. 1386). In Florence as in Rome, Wilton’s activity as a sculptor primarily focused on models after the antique, and it is thanks to these that he gained considerable fame in England, a notoriety that helped him pave the way for a promising return to London in 1755. There, Wilton gradually expanded his practice into portrait sculpture and monuments, for which he received great praise, though he never abandoned all’antica subjects. Parallel to his activity as a sculptor, in London Wilton developed an excellent network of patrons and fellow artists, within which he came to play a central role in the development of artistic institutions in England. Towards the end of the 1750s he joined the committee of the Society of Artists, became the director, alongside the painter Giovanni Battista Cipriani, of the 3rd Duke of Richmond’s academy of drawing, known as the Gallery, and was one of the first artist members of the Society of Arts, Commerce and Manufactures. In 1761 he was appointed statuary to the king, and in the same year a flattering poem appeared in the London Magazine calling Wilton and Roubiliac ‘names as high as Phidias of antiquity’ (Roscoe et al. 2009, p. 1387). In 1768, alongside the architect Sir William Chambers and the painter Sir Joshua Reynolds, Wilton was the driving force behind the establishment of the Royal Academy of Arts, and, when Somerset House was built to Chambers’s design to house the institution, Wilton’s workshop undertook a large share of the sculptural decoration. Parallel to this, Wilton executed a series of highly important church monuments, which continued to cement his reputation as a major sculptor. In 1790 he was appointed Keeper of the Royal Academy and, although over seventy years old, he appears to have carried out effectively duties such as vetting students. He died aged eighty-one in 1803. The Albani Faun – also known as the Laughing Faun or, in Italian, Il fauno colla macchia on account of a rust speckle in its surface – is a Roman marble bust of a young satyr, perhaps after a Hellenistic prototype from the first century BC. It is said to have been excavated in Rome nearby the Tomb of Caecilia Metella and it is today preserved in the Glyptothek in Munich, Germany (Furtwängler 1910,
pp. 223–26, no. 222). As its title suggests, the Faun formerly belonged to the prominent Albani family in Rome, who acquired it from Cardinal Marsigli. Cardinal Alessandro Albani is believed to have been so fond of the bust that he kept it in his bedroom (Guattani 1806, IV, p. 9). The noted historian and archaeologist Johann Joachim Winckelmann, who was the cardinal’s librarian, did not fail to express his own admiration for the young Faun in his seminal History of the Art of Antiquity, describing it as ‘one of the most beautiful ancient heads’ amongst those endowed with a characterful expression (Winckelmann 1764, p. 158). In 1797, as a result of the Treaty of Tolentino (the peace signed between Revolutionary France and the Papal State), the Faun was amongst the one hundred works of art seized by Napoleon’s armies that remained in France. Nearly two decades later, after the defeat of Napoleon and parallel to the Congress of Vienna, Antonio Canova was entrusted by Cardinal Ettore Consalvi, the Papal Secretary of State, with obtaining the restitution of these works. He succeeded, yet the Albani family were perhaps unwilling, or unable, to pay for the transportation costs of returning their statues to Rome, so the Faun was sold in Paris to Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria (1786–1868), and thus made its way to Munich (Haskell and Penny 1981, pp. 115–16). In the eighteenth century, at a time when Cardinal Albani ‘dominated the international world of collectors and scholars who flocked to Rome’ (Haskell and Penny 1981, p. 65), the Faun enjoyed significant popularity amongst artists and connoisseurs. In his account book, Brettingham records paying on 10 December 1752 for a ‘Head of Card° Albani Faun by ye Fleman with Pedestal’ on behalf of Thomas Coke (1697–1759), the Earl of Leicester (Kenworthy-Brown 1983, p. 57). Around the same period, the celebrated silversmith Luigi Valadier executed a model of the Albani Faun in bronze, a cast of which is held by Tomasso Brothers, while another is in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. In 1813 the Neoclassical sculptor Camillo Pacetti carved an Albani Faun for Villa Sommariva at Tremezzo, while the Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, who spent most of his career in Rome, owned a plaster cast of the composition (Thorvaldsen Museum, Copenhagen, inv. no. L115). In 1806 the scholar Giuseppe Antonio Guattani saw ‘the bust of a young Faun, of the best style, in Greek marble’ in the casino of the palace of Luigi Marconi in Frascati, but added that Pacetti, to whom the bust had formerly belonged, considered it an ancient specimen of the model in the Albani collection (Guattani, IV, p. 9).
fig. 1 Joseph Wilton Bust of (Pseudo-)Seneca, 1755–65 Marble, 61 cm high J. Paul Getty Museum, LA fig. 2 Joseph Wilton Bust of a Man (Lysimachus), 1758 Marble, 59.7 cm high J. Paul Getty Museum, LA
As mentioned above, Alessandro Albani was amongst the first collectors Wilton met upon his arrival in Rome, and there is no doubt the Cardinal granted the young sculptor access to his collection at Villa Albani, as he is also recorded doing for Brettingham. Because Wilton never kept accounts of his production, as he himself later came to lament (Farington’s Diary, vol. 2, p. 415), no comprehensive list of the all’antica models he executed exists, and not all have been identified to date, but the Albani Faun could certainly have been amongst them. Two marble busts now in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, that Wilton carved after antique models, offer important points of reference for the present work. They are the ‘Bust of Pseudo-Seneca’ dated to 1755–65 (61 cm high) and the Bust of a Man signed and dated 1758 (59.7 cm high). The former derives from a bronze that was excavated at Herculaneum in 1754 and the latter from a marble that was part of the Farnese collection, where it was believed to be a portrait of the Macedonian general Lysimachus. Both demonstrate that Wilton had an interest in ancient models that did not necessarily conform to the classical canon, a category to which the Albani Faun, with his acerbic youth, untamed features and laugh, undoubtedly belongs.
The anatomical rendering and style of the Getty busts closely compare to the present Faun’s. The hair is carved with the same remarkable level of definition and naturalism, the eyelids are pronounced, the eyes are carefully described down to their inner corners, and the upper lips are fleshy and delineated (with the exception of the ‘Pseudo-Seneca’s’, which sports a moustache). In the Bust of a Man especially, the marble is carved and polished to a soft finish, which imitates the suppleness of flesh, a skilful treatment of the surface paralleled in the present work. Finally, all three busts are mounted on socles that eschew the more traditional circular shape in favour of a sharper one, a recurring trait in Wilton’s oeuvre. Beautifully observed, the present Albani Faun reflects both Wilton’s technical skill and his ambitious approach to sculpture, exemplified here by the meticulous yet bold rendering of the subject, that pushes the confines of all’antica representation.
related literature J.J. Winckelmann, Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums, Dresden, 1764 G.A. Guattani, Memorie enciclophediche romane, Rome, 1806, vol. IV A. Furtwängler, Beschreibung der Glyptothek König Ludwig›s I. zu München, Munich, 1910 K. Garlick, A. Mackintyre (1-6), and K. Cave (7–16), eds., The Diary of Joseph Farington, 16 vols., New Haven, 1978–84 F. Haskell and N. Penny, Taste and the Antique: the Lure of Classical Sculpture 1500–1900, New Haven and London, 1981 J. Kenworthy-Browne, ‘Matthew Brettingham’s Rome Account Book 1747–1754’, The Volume of the Walpole Society, vol. 49, 1983, pp. 37–132 E. Noe, ‘Camillo Pacetti e il Fauno colla macchia’, in Itinerari d’arte in Lombardia dal XIII al XX secolo, M. Ceriana and F. Mazzocca eds., Milan, 1998, pp. 283–93 M. Baker, Figured in Marble: the Making and Viewing of Eighteenth-century Sculpture, London, 2000 I. Roscoe, E. Hardy and M.G. Sullivan, A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain, 1660–1851, London and New York, 2009
cherubini foundry, northern italy, 16th century
Cooking Pot, c. 1530 Bronze 11¾ in. (30 cm) high 11½ in. (29.3 cm) wide across handles 6 in. (15.3 cm) diameter base
In shape, size and facture, the present bronze vessel corresponds to a group of cauldrons for domestic use cast by the Cherubini foundry dated on grounds of style to the sixteenth century. In the medieval and Renaissance periods, prosperous households owned metal cooking pots of varying shapes and sizes. The absence of legs in the present specimen suggests that it would have been suspended over a fireplace by means of a trammel, as illustrated in Bartolomeo Scappi’s Dell’arte del cucinare (On the art of cooking, 1570; fig. 1), arguably the Renaissance’s most successful culinary compendium. Two bronze cauldrons bearing the name CHERVBINI are today in public collections, one in the Musée des Arts Decoratifs in Paris (Metman 1910, pl. XVIII, no. 148), inscribed CHERVBINI FECIT, and another in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond (inv. no. 48.2.6), on which traces of the signature CH[ERVBINI] [FECERU]NT are still legible. A third signed example is recorded in the former collection of the art dealer Jan Dirven, a founding member of the TEFAF fair (we are grateful to Dr Charles Avery for sharing with us his photographic record of this bronze). A fourth example inscribed Cherubini appeared on the Paris art market in 2002, while a fifth one was presented in London in 2011. An unsigned cauldron, of the same style and facture as the Paris and London ones and therefore attributed to the Cherubini foundry, was offered in Christie’s London rooms on 24 April 1986 (lot 30). In each signed specimen, the name ‘Cherubini’ appears on a cartouche located in the top part of the cauldron. A similar plaquette can be observed in the present vessel, which suggests a signature was originally present, but gradually worn out by time and frequent use. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts also owns a bronze mortar signed CHERVBINI FECIT (inv. no. 85.1518). Each documented bronze cauldron by the Cherubini foundry displays a different decorative motif, yet their shape and layout are identical, and correspond closely to those of the present bronze. The neck of the cauldron is ornamented with a geometric or floral pattern, below which the signature is framed by garlands and heads in high relief. In the present case, the head of a satyr, characterized by pointed ears and goat horns, is festooned with two garlands of fruits and flowers, suspended with ribbons from underneath each handle. The style of these decorative features certainly belongs in the sixteenth century, and
fig. 1 Illustration of a 16th-century kitchen, with cooking pot over a fireplace, from Bartolomeo Scappi, Dell’Arte del Cucinare, 1570
the attention to detail and expressive quality they display point in the direction of an Italian workshop from the Veneto, where the casting of small bronze statuettes and utensils had been an established tradition since the turn of the fifteenth century. The satyr’s mask in particular – with its expertly described curly hair and beard, corrugated brow, caricatural nose and mouth, and large, animated eyes – is reminiscent of those in the bronzetti by Andrea Riccio or Severo da Ravenna. As often with bronze founders, little is known about the Cherubini family, but the homogeneous corpus of their works that has survived speaks of skilled craftsmanship and of an ingenious ability to integrate the taste of high art into everyday objects. related literature L. Metman and J.L. Vaudoyer, Le bronze, le cuivre, l'etain, le plomb: premier album, Paris, 1910, pl. XVIII, no. 148
joseph gott (1785–1860)
A Spaniel, 1847 Terracotta 5⅛ in. (13 cm) high signed and dated 1847 J. Gott. ft provenance Private collection, United Kingdom
A remarkably gifted artist, celebrated for his capabilities in portraying diverse subjects, from ancient themes to contemporary portraits, from biblical representations to exquisite carvings of animals, Joseph Gott (1785–1860) is considered to be amongst the finest British artists working in the first half of the nineteenth century. From 1798 to 1802, he studied in London under the leading British sculptor John Flaxman (1755–1826), and later, in 1805, entered the Royal Academy Schools. A year later, he was awarded the silver medal, and in 1819 he won the Gold Medal for his group Jacob wrestling with the Angel. At the Academy, Gott forged links with its enigmatic president, Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769–1830), who awarded him a pension for his travels to Rome in 1822, complete with a letter of introduction to the leading Italian sculptor, Antonio Canova (1757–1822). Gott remained in the Eternal City for the rest of his life and built a studio that became a central attraction to British grandees, as his obituary in The Athenaeum made clear: ‘Every visitor to Rome, this half century past, has looked in at the studio of M. Gott’ (Friedman and Stevens 1972, p. 56). Gott achieved international renown and continued to have strong links with Britain. From Rome, he regularly sent works to the Royal Academy, and frequently returned to England to meet patrons, seek new commissions and oversee the installation of his sculptures (Wilson 2016, p. 45). Gott’s success was partly secured by his most important patron, his second-cousin Benjamin Gott (1762–1840), a Leeds-based industrialist who had made his fortune in the wool-trade and became mayor of the city in 1799. Whilst in Rome, Gott became part of a vibrant British artistic community working in the city, which included eminent names such as John Gibson (1790–1866), Richard James Wyatt (1795–1850), and Charles Eastlake (1793–1865). Gott’s artistic practices rested on classical foundations; this took the form of a deep reverence for the finest examples of sculpture surviving from antiquity and the dedicated academic study of the male and female nude. These activities were in accordance with the pedagogical Zeitgeist of the European academies, but what
set Joseph Gott apart from his peers was the particular strain of classicism that he developed. Gott’s classicism was infused with a sensitivity, a sensuality and a romanticism that were not seen in the work of his compatriots in Rome, such as Wyatt or Gibson, who, like many others, had fallen under the spell of Canova and Thorvaldsen’s comparably austere, ‘neo-Greek’ iteration of the Neoclassical idiom (Friedman and Stevens 1972, p. 41). Gott’s works portrayed more heart-warming subjects; they were often depictions of playful or loving children and animals, moulded by hand, and made on a decidedly unheroic scale, which encouraged these delicate objects to be cradled and enjoyed at close quarters. Signed and dated 1847, this charming, finely modelled terracotta portrays a spaniel, whose name, Bentham(?), is inscribed under the base. The small dog attentively looks up, awaiting perhaps a touch or word from his master. Beloved companions, spaniels were amongst the most prestigious breeds to be celebrated in endearing portraits such as the present one. Not only an attempt to preserve the form of one’s favourite animal, these portrayals, which also communicated social status, symbolized the unbreakable emotional bond between the owners and their pets (Wood and Feeke 2000, p. 42).
related literature T. Friedman and T. Stevens, Joseph Gott, 1786–1860, Sculptor, exh. cat., Leeds and Liverpoool, 1972 J. Wood and S. Feeke (eds.), Hounds in Leash: The Dog in 18th and 19th Century Sculpture, exh. cat., Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, 2000 D. Wilson, ‘Joseph Gott’s Blemished Portrait Bust of Benjamin Gott: Reinterpretation of the Archive’, Sculpture Journal, 25, no. 1, 2016, pp. 45–64
gianfrancesco susini (1585–c. 1653)
Peasant Resting on His Staff After Giambologna (1529–1608) Bronze 4¾ in. (12 cm) high 6¾ in. (17 cm) high overall provenance David Peel & Co., 1973 exhibited From Classic to Neo-Classic, David Peel & Co., 9–25 May 1973, no. 6
This bronze cast of a peasant resting on his staff has the stylistic hallmarks of a work that derives from the seventeenth-century Florentine workshop of Gianfrancesco Susini. Born in Florence towards the end of the sixteenth century, Giovanni Francesco, or Gianfrancesco, learned the art of bronze casting from his uncle Antonio Susini, one of the most talented disciples of the undisputed master bronzier of the period, the great Giambologna (1529–1608). After Antonio’s death in 1624, Gianfrancesco took over the workshop on the via dei Pilastri in Florence, where he continued producing casts of models invented by Giambologna. This is indeed one of those models originally conceived by Giambologna, and was first recorded in a document of 1601 as: ‘Una figuretta d’arg[en]to di un villano co[n] capello co[n] bastoncino che sappoggia il sui l [sic] bastone pesa onc. 11.23’ (a silver figurine of a peasant with a hat, resting on a staff: see Avery and Radcliffe 1978, no. 137). An example of the same composition is mentioned in the collection of King Charles I, which had been passed down from his brother Prince Henry, after being sent from Florence in 1611 (see Watson and Avery 1973, pp. 493–507). This genre figure of a peasant is not a typically Italian subject and betrays Gimabologna’s Flemish origins. Yet, after his introduction of them, such subjects did become popular in Italy and were considered particularly appropriate for garden statuary. A number were carved in stone for Duke Francesco de’ Medici’s villa at Pratolino, near Florence, with which Giambologna was much involved in the 1580s (see F. Baldinucci, Notizie, II, 566: ‘alcune statue di villani in pietra’ [some stone statues of peasants]).
related literature C. Avery and A. Radcliffe, Giambologna: sculptor to the Medici; 1529–1608, exh. cat., London, 1978, p. 165 K. Watson and C. Avery, ‘Medici and Stuart: a Grand ducal Gift of ‘Giovanni Bologna’ Bronzes for Henry Prince of Wales’, The Burlington Magazine, CXV, 1973, pp. 493–507
andrea bregno (1418–1503)
St Paul Marble 23½ in. (60 cm) high 7 in. (17.5 cm) wide, the base 6 in. (15 cm) deep, the base provenance Private collection, United Kingdom
In 1473 the Lombard sculptor Andrea Bregno inscribed his name on the monumental marble high altar for the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome (fig. 1). He had arrived in the Eternal City around twenty years earlier from Northern Italy, drawn no doubt by the architectural and artistic renaissance of the city that had begun under the papacy of Nicholas V (r. 1447–55), and continued under his successors. Little is known about Bregno’s activity before his appearance in the papal city, but his works there certainly speak of his Lombard origins, of his transformative encounter with classical antiquity, and of his engagement with the work of his contemporary Central Italian sculptors. Amongst these were Paolo Romano (fl. 1451–70) and Isaia da Pisa (fl. 1447–74), under both of whom Bregno is believed to have trained, possibly assisting them in Naples on the triumphal arch for King Alfonso at Castel Nuovo, and then Giovanni Dalmata (c. 1440–c. 1514) and Mino da Fiesole (1429–1484), with both of whom Bregno collaborated and by whose naturalistic yet idealizing modelling of the human form and soft treatment of surfaces he was certainly influenced. In addition, Rome at the time was witnessing an unprecedented interest in the rediscovery of ancient remains, which had drawn Brunelleschi and Donatello to the city at the beginning of the fifteenth century, inspired Filarete for his celebrated bronze doors in St Peter’s and occupied the thoughts of the eminent scholar and architect Leon Battista Alberti. The execution of the altar for Santa Maria del Popolo, now located in that church’s sacristy, had been entrusted to Bregno by Cardinal Alessandro Borgia (1431–1503), the future pope Alexander VI, and represents a key chapter in the development of early Renaissance religious sculpture in Rome. Its majestic composition, inspired by the shape of ancient Roman triumphal arches, represents an ambitious synthesis of ancient models and Quattrocento vocabulary, as exemplified by the four figures of saints on either side of the central tabernacle, set into niches surmounted by conch-shaped half-domes and framed by delicately ornate classicizing half pilasters. In modelling the standing figures of Peter, Paul, Jerome and Augustine, Bregno combined the traditional attributes of these saints with the solemnity of ancient
fig. 1 Andrea Bregno High Altar, 1473 Marble Santa Maria del Popolo (Sacristy), Rome fig. 2 Andrea Bregno St Paul (detail) from High Altar, 1473 Marble Santa Maria del Popolo (Sacristy), Rome
sculpture, their bodies clad in deeply folded drapery and their facial features carved with an attention to realistic detail evocative of Roman pre-imperial portraiture. The figure of St Paul is of particular relevance to the present marble statue, as the two present important similarities (fig. 2). The first are iconographic, and concern the presence of the sword and the book and the elongated, bearded face of the saint, all characteristics associated with the depiction of St Paul already in the Middle Ages. The details, however, such as the positioning of the sword and the shape of its hilt, the binding of the book and the way the apostle’s hair and beard curl – down to the tuft in the middle of his forehead – speak of a deeper correlation. The second are stylistic, and appear most evident in the way the fabric creases on the sleeve of the saint’s outstretched right arm, in wide, crisp, almost zigzagging pleats. These are also clearly recognizable in another work attributed to Andrea Bregno, dated to c. 1464, the votive relief of Cardinal Nicola Cusano in the Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome (fig. 3), where the overall treatment of the draperies recalls the rich and compact quality of the present figure’s dress. This parallel with the relief in San Pietro in Vincoli – which extends to the neat, unadorned definition of facial features, the legacy of Bregno’s Lombard origins – alongside the more elaborate solution adopted by Bregno for St Paul’s hand that holds the book in the Santa Maria del Popolo altarpiece, suggest that the present sculpture was executed before the latter, probably in the first half of the 1460s. Shortly afterwards, Bregno would be commissioned to execute the funerary
fig. 3 Andrea Bregno Funerary relief of Cardinal Nicola Cusano, c. 1464 Polychromed marble San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome
monument of Cardinal Louis d’Albret (1422–1465) in Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Rome, where he again showed his highly accomplished and very individual combination of antiquarian inspiration and awareness of the work of his contemporaries. In 1466 he worked with Giovanni Dalmata on the Tebaldi monument in Santa Maria sopra Minerva, a collaboration that would repeat itself ten years later for the Tomb of Cardinal Rovellara in San Clemente. Other important funerary monuments, for Cardinal Diego de Coca in the Minerva church (1477), and for Cardinals Cristoforo della Rovere and Domenico della Rovere (died 1478 and 1501, respectively) in Santa Maria del Popolo, followed. Bregno, Dalmata and Mino worked alongside each other in the now lost Cantoria of the old Sistine Chapel. In 1485, by then an established artist, Bregno completed the marble altar for the Cappella Piccolomini in Siena Cathedral, commissioned by Cardinal Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini, who would become pope as Pius III in 1503. Between 1490 and 1495 Bregno received various commissions from Cardinal Guillaume des Perriers, the influential Uditore della Sacra Rota, whilst at the turn of the sixteenth century he is recorded working on a now lost tabernacle dedicated by Vannozza Cattanei in the Borgia chapel in Santa Maria del Popolo. His last documented commission, before his death in Rome 1503, was the funerary monument for Pope Pius II, destined for the Basilica of St Peter but later transferred to San Pietro in Vincoli. Today it frames Michelangelo’s celebrated statue of Moses. related literature E. Lavagnino, ‘Andrea Bregno e la sua bottega’, L’arte, 27, 1924, pp. 247–63 G.C. Sciolla, ‘Profilo di Andrea Bregno’, Arte lombarda, 15, no. 1, 1970, pp. 52–58 C. Crescentini and C. Strinati eds., Andrea Bregno. Il senso della forma nella cultura artistica del Rinascimento, Florence, 2008