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Ce bronze date du second quart du 17ème siècle, comme il est précisé dans le texte anglais p.643
This figure is second quarter 17th Century as mentioned only in the English text p.643
F. Perrier, Segmenta nobilium signorum et statuarum que temporis denteminvidium evase, Rome,1638, pl. 90.
Edimbourg, Londres et Vienne, Royal Scottish Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum et Kunsthistorisches Museum, Giambologna 1529-1608 - Sculptor to the Medici, 19 aout 1978 - 28 jan. 1979, C. Avery and A. Radcliffe eds., pp. 196-7, no 189.
F. Haskell and N. Penny, Taste and the Antique - The Lure of Classical Sculpture 1500-1900, New Haven et Londres, 1981, pp. 234-6, no. 48.
Florence, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Giambologna: gli dei, gli eroi, 2 mar. - 15 jun. 2006, B. Paolozzi Strozzi and D. Zikos eds.
Post Lot Text
A BRONZE FIGURE OF THE HERMAPHRODITE
AFTER THE ANTIQUE, ATTRIBUTED TO GIANFRANCESCO SUSINI (1592-1646, SECOND QUARTER 17TH CENTURY
Depicted lying on a draped mattress and cushion engraved with scroll-work and tassels; medium brown patina with traces of a translucent golden brown lacquer; on a modern pink velvet-covered spreading wood base
Since its discovery, the antique prototype of the Hermaphrodite, now housed in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, has both entranced and perplexed onlookers. Unearthed near the Baths of Diocletian after 1613 but no later than 1620, the recumbent figure was bought by Cardinal Scipione Borghese for display at the Villa Borghese, Rome. Its distinguished pedigree was then heightened in 1620 when the master of baroque art, Gianlorenzo Bernini, was commissioned to restore the piece and to carve a mattress for it. It was subsequently purchased, along with much of the Borghese collection, in 1807 by Napoleon Bonaparte - brother-in-law to Prince Camillo Borghese.
No Grand Tourist failed to make some sort of comment on this mesmerising subject. Dupaty made the not-uncommon comment to visitors of the Villa Borghese (Haskell and Penny, op. cit., p. 235) not to look at the marble if they did not wish to blush with pleasure and shame at the same time. Clearly the presence of the male genitalia shocked and enthralled the Grand Tourists, which is presumably why so many reductions were commissioned. Among these, one of the first to be produced was when Gianfrancesco Susini executed a signed version in bronze in 1639, now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (Avery and Radcliffe, loc. cit.). Countless further examples were made in the 18th and 19th centuries.
However, it is to Gianfrancesco's interpretation of this model that one must look when considering the bronze offered here. The Saint Laurent and Bergé Hermaphrodite follows the composition of the Metropolitan Museum bronze with a virtually identical arrangement of drapery, positioning of the body, modelling of the physiognomy and definition of the mattress which also includes the highly distinctive tassels and engraving around the side of the cushion. The present bronze also features another highly distinctive Gianfrancesco trait: traces of the translucent golden brown lacquer which he and his workshop applied to their important commissions. The facial features, hair and drapery of the present lot are also close to another bronze model generally accepted as having been cast by him: the Sleeping Nymph. As with the Hermaphrodite, the Nymph was also inspired by an antique prototype and a bronze version of it attributed to Susini was sold in Sotheby's, London, 8 December 2006, lot 106. All three bronzes share a number of common features: the slightly bulbous eyelids with prominent nose, narrow parted lips and small chin, as well as the long sinuous passages of the drapery and the engraving of the scrolling foliage to the cushion.
Gianfrancesco was in regular competition throughout his career with another sculptor also directly influenced by Giambologna's style, Pietro Tacca. Both men were formed in the same intellectual mould of late 16th-century Florence, but it was the influence of classical prototypes on Gianfrancesco's work that arguably best reflected the tastes of the Florentine academies patronised by the Medici. His work combined both a firm understanding of these prototypes along with a similar appreciation of Giambologna's multiple-viewpoint composition, which ultimately distinguished his work from that of Tacca.