New York - Christie’s is pleased to announce the sale of Antiquities on December 5, which will feature over 200 superb works of art that embrace the cultures of Egypt, Greece, Rome and the Near East. With estimates ranging from $1,500 to $5 million, the sale highlights include a pair of important Roman bronze girls pursuing partridges, a Roman marble portrait bust of Marcus Aurelius, and a Roman marble head of Apollo Lyceus. The sale is expected to realize in excess of $8 million and will be followed by the 14th annual sale of Ancient Jewelry.
A set of two important Roman bronze genre statues, circa late 1st century B.C.- early 1st century A.D., each depict a young girl pursuing a partridge (pictured above; estimate: $3,000,000-5,000,000 – complete release on this lot available here). The exquisitely detailed toddlers are positioned similarly, sitting on the base, leaning forward with open arms and splayed fingers, stretching toward a bird that is just out of reach. The partridges are equally impressive, with the plumage naturalistically represented as they turn their head back to glance at their pursuer. These spectacular bronzes offer a rare glimpse into the opulence of the Roman private sphere and vividly illustrate the pinnacle of bronze casting technology during the early Imperial period. The bronzes come to Christie’s from a private collection, the owner’s family having acquired them from renowned Swiss collector Giovanni Züst in the 1960s, whose collection formed the nucleus of Basel’s famed Antikensammlung.
A Roman marble portrait bust of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, circa 170-180 A.D., is among the works of art from a distinguished private collection that spans the categories of Antiquities and Old Master Paintings (pictured right; estimate: $800,000-1,200,000 – complete release on this collection available here). The artists of the Renaissance looked to the world of Antiquity for inspiration and this beautifully curated collection reflects that important historical connection. A demonstration of veritable connoisseurship, the collector developed an extensive body of works from antiquity that embrace the cultures of Greece, Rome, and Egypt. Marcus Aurelius, the celebrated philosopher-emperor, who was known as the last of the Five Good Emperors, is depicted here in his later years, after having ruled for several years. In addition to his characteristic tousled curls, he is portrayed with the mustache and beard of individual curling locks, denoting his wisdom and age. This magnificent portrait has an impressive provenance, hailing from the renowned collection of classical sculpture from Marbury Hall, Cheshire, England, formed by the Honorable James Hugh Smith Barry during the Grand Tour in Rome circa 1776-1780.
Also featured in the sale is a superbly sculpted Roman marble head of Apollo Lyceus, circa 2nd century A.D. (pictured page 1; estimate: $200,000-300,000). The Apollo Lyceus is a statue type known from numerous literary, sculptural, and numismatic sources, which depicts the god often leaning on a pillar with one arm resting atop his head. While the sculptor of the Greek original remains unknown, the enduring popularity of the subject is confirmed by the presence of the work on Greek and Roman coins over the course of nearly four centuries.
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