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A BRONZE GROUP OF TWO WRESTLING WOMEN
A BRONZE GROUP OF TWO WRESTLING WOMEN

AFTER A MODEL ATTRIBUTED TO FERDINANDO TACCA (1619-1686), LATE 17TH OR EARLY 18TH CENTURY

Details
A BRONZE GROUP OF TWO WRESTLING WOMEN
AFTER A MODEL ATTRIBUTED TO FERDINANDO TACCA (1619-1686), LATE 17TH OR EARLY 18TH CENTURY
On an integral square naturalistic bronze plinth and associated ormolu base; chocolate brown patina with medium brown highpoints
14 1/8 in. (35.9 cm.) high; 16 3/8 in. (41.6 cm.) overall
Literature
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE:
J. G. Mann, Wallace Collection Catalogues - Sculpture, London, 1931, p. 49, no. S130, pl. 35.
E. Grünenwald, Leonhard Kern - Ein Bildhauer des Barock, Oberlenningen, 1969, pl. 25.
A. Radcliffe, 'Ferdinando Tacca, the missing link in Florentine Baroque bronzes', in Kunst des Barock in der Toskana, Munich, 1976, p. 14f. G. Pratesi, Repertorio della Scultura Fiorentina del Seicento e Settecento, Turin, 1993, III.

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Lot Essay

At least three variant models of the present lot are known depicting wrestling women; either totally nude (Christie's, London, 5 November 2009, lot 337), with fig leaves (Sotheby's, London, 10 June 1969, lot 78) or, as in the present lot, draped around the loins. Although a relatively rare and unresearched model, at least two possible prototypes for it are known: a bronze group thought to have been conceived by Barthélemy Prieur from circa 1600 in the Wallace Collection, London (Mann, loc. cit.) and a group in ivory by Leohnard Kern dating to circa 1635 in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (Grünenwald, loc. cit.).

In the case of the present lot, the style and facture appear to be Florentine and, at the earliest, second half 17th century in date. One prominent artist working there at this time was Ferdinando Tacca, who succeeded the legacy of his father, Pietro, and his collaborator Gianfrancesco Susini. From his father and Susini, Ferdinando adopted the mannerist sense of proportions, the interest for complex, original compositions, and technical elements such as casting and after-working. To this he added, as in the case of the present lot, a heightened sense of drama - perhaps demonstrative of his interest in theatre stage design and an indication of the general artistic trend towards Baroque art. A secure attribution to Tacca has not yet been confirmed, however stylistic comparison to the female figures in a number of documented groups does assist in this analysis. In looking at the groups of Diana e Satiro, the Venere e Adone and Ruggero e Angelica (Pratesi, op. cit., pls. 649, 650 and 652 respectively), one sees various immediately obvious recurring elements such as the overall drama of the composition and the interaction of the two figures. At closer inspection, what also becomes obvious is that the anatomies of the women are Amazonian in proportion, yet still retain a sense of femininity, as in the present lot. Further, smaller similarities lie in, for example, the treatment of the hair, the angular paper-like drapery of the loincloths and the pupils chased with circles.

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