This alluring marble is representative of the finest statuary produced in Italy in the late 19th century. Its carefully pronounced details and delicate form attest to the skill of its sculptor, Antonio Rosetti. Born in 1819 in Milan, Antonio Rossetti initially studied in his hometown at the workshop of Francesco Somiani (1795-1855), before moving to Rome where he began his affiliation with Orazio Andreoni, a sculptor who formed a large workshop in Rome where a generation of prominent artists received their training. While Andreoni specialized in historical and biblical subjects such as Cleopatra and Rebecca, Rossetti directed his skill towards the rendering of classical mythological characters, such as the present figure of Physche; however, both teacher and pupil were renowned for portraying finely carved figures often glad diaphanous robes, illustrating their mastery of the medium. This is expertly achieved in this marble and such other works as his Amor secreto, 1869 (sold Christie's, New York, 19 April 2016, lot 84).
Rossetti soon developed a reputation for his statuary work which was greatly admired by both Italians and foreign visitors to the city. Following in his master’s footsteps, Rossetti expanded his presence beyond Rome. His marble statue Ophelia, displayed at the 1867 Paris International Exhibition where received particular commendation critics where it was described as “…a favourable example of modern Italian sculpture, has much tenderness and moving pathos; the drapery is sketched with a playful touch; altogether the execution is exquisite” (The Art Journal, 1867, p. 174)—a description which resonates closely with the present lot.