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    Sale 7806

    Lord St. Helens and Sir William FitzHerbert The Collections of a Diplomat and a Courtier

    22 January 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 544

    A SET OF THREE CARVED IVORY FIGURES OF THE VENUS DE' MEDICI, THE BELVEDERE ANTINOUS AND THE CALLYPIGIAN VENUS, AFTER THE ANTIQUE

    ITALY, 18TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A SET OF THREE CARVED IVORY FIGURES OF THE VENUS DE' MEDICI, THE BELVEDERE ANTINOUS AND THE CALLYPIGIAN VENUS, AFTER THE ANTIQUE
    ITALY, 18TH CENTURY
    Each depicted standing, on an integrally carved plinth, minor cracks and losses
    6 7/8 in. - 7 1/8 in. (17.5 to 18.1 cm.) high (3)


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    The Antique version of the Belvedere Antinous, currently housed in the Musei Vaticani, Rome, was first recorded in 1543 when the vast sum of 1000 ducats was paid by Pope Paul III for it to be placed in the Belvedere Garden. The Venus de' Medici, now in the Uffizi, Florence, and first documented about 100 years after the Antinous, attracted incredible attention from artists, writers and patrons alike solemnising her form, shape and beauty.

    The Callypigian Venus, contrastingly, literally translated, derives from the stems calli - meaning beauty or good - and pyge - meaning buttocks. The prototype was conceived as a titillating and seductive observation of the female form and was inspired by Athenaeus's 3rd Century tale of two young beautiful girls from Syracuse arguing over who had the finer buttocks. To settle the argument they accosted a young man passing by and asked him to judge. Whilst he deemed that the elder had the finer, his younger brother concluded otherwise and fell in love with the other sister. The double marriage that followed resulted in a temple dedicated to Venus Kallipygnos in Syracuse. The antique marble original now housed in the Museo Nazionale, Naples, is recorded in the Farnese collection, Rome, in 1594. Between 1786 and 1792 it underwent restoration by the sculptor Carlo Albacini before being moved to Naples. Unsurprisingly, the composition was copied extensively for Grand Tourists like the FitzHerberts in the 18th Century.

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