Ce lot est d'un suiveur des della Robbia et d'une époque postérieure.
This lot is by a follower of the della Robbia's familly and of a later period.
Post Lot Text
A FIRST HALF OF THE 16TH CENTURY ITALIAN MAIOLICA (DELLA ROBBIA WORKSHOP) FIGURE OF JUDITH AND HOLOPHERNE, PROBABLY BY GIOVANNI DELLA ROBBIA
Representing Judith standing, clothed in a long blue tunic trimmed with cold gilding, ochre ribbons and a white blouse; she is brandishing a sword in her right hand and her left hand is holding the head of Holopherne, and her left foot resting on Holopherne's body; the ochre rectangular base moulded with a historic scene on the front; her right arm and the sword restored, small lacks of enamel, small chips and fritting in places
The Della Robbia family
Italian family of florentine sculptors and ceramists, whose artistic origins began with Luca (circa 1400-1482), a sculptor who worked with the greatest sculptors of his time, including Nanni di Banco and Lorenzo Ghiberti. At the beginning of the 15th century, Luca developed the terracotta invetriata process (sculpture in glazed terracotta) combining the use of enamels acquired from maiolica art with the practice of modelled terracotta. As an artist he was recognised and loved by his peers and the public. He joined forces with his nephew Andrea (1435-1525) who guaranteed the continuity of the family studio by surrounding himself with five of his sons, the most famous of which are Giovanni (1469-1529) and Girolamo (circa 1488-1566). The latter settled permanently in France in 1527, thereby marking the gradual decline of the Italian studio. Giovanni is distinguished by the heightened polychromic nature of his work, with a much brighter yellow and a wider range of shades of blue and green. For a detailed examination of the works produced by the Della Robbia workshop, see the exhibition catalogue by Jean-René Gaborit, Les Della Robbia, sculptures en terre cuite émaillée de la Renaissance italienne, Paris, 2002.
Historical and biblical source
General Holopherne, sent by King Nabuchodonosor, laid siege to the town of Bethulie in Judea, during the war against the King of Persia. Judith, a beautiful young widow, decides to save her town and seduces Holopherne during a banquet organised in the latter's military camp. Having plied him with alcohol she decapitates him and returns to Bethulie with her enemy's head. The soldiers who find their assassinated leader flee.
This biblical theme (Old Testament, Jerusalem Bible, Book of Judith, Chapter 13) was widely portrayed during the Renaissance, in particular by Donatello, Botticelli or Mantegna, and this group depicting Judith and Holopherne forms part of a movement towards "small sculptural pieces" designed to decorate the interiors of aristocratic and middle-class residences in Florence and more broadly, throughout Tuscany.
These sculptures are made from several moulds put together, with different variants. We can report four very similar examples, featuring mainly in public collections:
- one in the Porzellansammlung in Dresden (inv. no. 43518), illustrated in the exhibition catalogue for Götter, Helden und Grotesken, das Goldene Zeitalter des Majolika, Italy, 2006, p.86, no.36.
- a second in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (inv. 46.839)
- a third in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge (inv. 48211)
- a fourth appeared recently on the international art market.
We should like to thank Mr. Justin Raccanello for his friendly and precise information on the last two models.
These four examples depict Judith in a similar pose.
This group can also be compared with three other works, which illustrate a completely different subject, these are: - The Abundance in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (inv. 46.839)
- The Charity, in the Louvre Museum (inv. ML. 123.), illustrated in the exhibition catalogue for Les Della Robbia, sculptures en terre cuite émaillée de la Renaissance italienne, Paris, 2002, p.131, n.VI. 2.
- David holding the head of Goliath, in the Musée des Antiquités in Rouen (inv. 932.), illustrated in the exhibition catalogue Op. cit., Paris, 2002, p.132, n.VI.3.
The latter displays a very similar pose to this particular group.