• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7587

    19th Century European Art including Orientalist and Spanish Art

    2 July 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 97

    Enrico Braga (Italian, 1841-1919)

    Cleopatra and Apollodorus

    Price Realised  


    Enrico Braga (Italian, 1841-1919)
    Cleopatra and Apollodorus
    signed 'E. Braga' and with foundry inscription 'Fonderia Artis CA Battaglia S C-Milano'
    bronze, rich dark-brown patina, on verde antico marble pedestal
    the bronze: 42 in. (107 cm.) high
    the pedestal: 37¼ in. (95 cm.) high (2)

    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

    Enrico Braga was born in Ticino in 1841 and studied at the Milan Academy of Fine Arts before an eight-year sojourn in St. Petersburg where members of the Imperial family numbered among his clientèle. Admired for his verve and realism of style he submitted numerous works to the Promotrice di Belle Arti di Torino between 1868 and 1879, exhibited in Rome and London and his bronze monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi still stands in Novara.

    The present lot is a bronze reduction of Braga's celebrated marble of Cleopatra which was exhibited at the Philadelphia Centennial International Exhibition of 1876, and in Paris in 1878 (fig. 1). The pose of the Queen and her servant is drawn from the painting Cleopatra before Caesar by Jean-Leon Gérôme (fig. 2), to which the sculpture is compared in the 1876 Exhibition catalogue:

    'The incident is that where Cleopatra, being at war with her brother Ptolemy Dionysius, had herself conveyed to Julius Caesar, then in Alexandria; she was brought safely to the dictator through the armies of her foes, concealed in a roll of tapestry which was offered as a tribute to Caesar, and which Apollodorus carried in and opened at his feet. [The sculpture] preserves the posture of Gérôme's group - the slave, who parts the drapery, so supple and submissive; the girl, standing, and leaning on his shoulder as on a piece of furniture, already so queenly, confident and regal.' (E. Strahan, The Masterpieces of the Centennial International Exhibition, Philadelphia, 1876, Vol. I, pp. 143-144)

    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.