• 500 Years: Decorative Arts Eur auction at Christies

    Sale 7784

    500 Years: Decorative Arts Europe

    10 December 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 846

    A BRONZE FIGURE OF A BAGPIPER

    WORKSHOP OF ANTONIO SUSINI (FL. 1580-1624), CAST FROM A MODEL BY GIAMBOLOGNA, EARLY 17TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A BRONZE FIGURE OF A BAGPIPER
    WORKSHOP OF ANTONIO SUSINI (FL. 1580-1624), CAST FROM A MODEL BY GIAMBOLOGNA, EARLY 17TH CENTURY
    Depicted sitting on a wooden stump, with his head turned to sinister and blowing into the pipes held between his arms; on an integrally cast circular plinth and later circular ebonised wood socle; dark brown patina with lighter high points
    4 1/8 in. (10.3 cm.) high; 6½ in. (16.5 cm.) overall


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    The earliest specific reference to the model of a seated Bagpiper is in a bill of lading of March 1611 recording bronze statuettes sent by the Grand Duke Cosimo II de' Medici to Prince Henry of Wales: 'uno Pastore che suona la piva' (a shepherd who plays the pipes, see Avery and Watson, op. cit., no. 13, p. 94). Further down the list of the 1611 bill was another bronze of 'uno Pastore che s'appoggia a uno bastone' (a shepherd who leans on a crook) with which the latter bronze was almost certainly paired (ibid, nos. 135 and 138 respectively). A similar pair of silver figures, presumably made by Giambologna, were loaned in 1601 to Antonio Susini by the Grand Duke who may have wanted further casts made.

    A number of high quality examples of the Bagpiper, cast by Susini and his workshop, still survive, with the prime version almost certainly being the gilt-bronze model in the Bargello, Florence (ibid., no. 135). Other virtually identical, high quality, casts to the present bronze can also be found in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (V. Avery, loc. cit.), the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and as sold in these Rooms 5 July 2005, lot 437.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Literature

    COMPARATIVE LITERATURE:
    C. Avery and K. Watson, 'Medici and Stuart: a Grand Ducal gift of 'Giovanni Bologna' bronzes for Henry Prince of Wales (1612)', in The Burlington Magazine, CXV, 1973, pp. 493-507.
    London, Victoria and Albert Museum, Giambologna - Sculptor to the Medici, C. Avery and A. Radcliffe eds., 5 October - 16 November 1978, nos. 135-8.
    N. Penny, Catalogue of European Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum 1540 to the Present Day, Oxford, 1992, I, no. 44.
    C. Avery, Giambologna - Sculpture by the Master and his Followers, New York, 1998, no. 52.
    London and Cambridge, Daniel Katz Gallery and Fitzwilliam Museum, Renaissance and Baroque Bronzes from the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 11 June - 19 July 2002, Victoria Avery ed., p. 307, no. 4.