Browse Lots

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
A FRAGMENTARY COLOURED WAX MODELLO OF A CORPUS FIGURE
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VA… Read more THE PROPERTY OF A NOBLEMAN
A FRAGMENTARY COLOURED WAX MODELLO OF A CORPUS FIGURE

ITALIAN, 16TH CENTURY

Details
A FRAGMENTARY COLOURED WAX MODELLO OF A CORPUS FIGURE
Italian, 16th century
The torso modelled with warm brown wax in contrapposto and the perizonium in white; the reverse simply finished and secured with a wooden strutt to an associated architectural wood elevation.
Shrinkage cracks to the uppermost layer of wax; restorations to the frame.
13½ in. (34.2 cm.) high, the torso
39¼ x 27 in. (99.7 x 68.5 cm.) the frame
Literature
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE:
U. Baldini, L'opera completa di Michelangelo scultore, Milan, 1973, pl. XIX.
F. Haskell and N. Penny, Taste and the Antique - The Lure of Classical Sculpture 1500-1900, New Haven and London, 1981, nos. 4 and 80, pp. 141-3, 311-4.
Special Notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis

Lot Essay

This highly enigmatic and fragmentary wax torso is a relatively finished study for a figure of Christ from an unidentified Crucifixion group. It is interesting not only for its sensitive treatment of the musculature or even the very classical nature of the posture, but the method of its production, which gives an insight into the workings of the artist. An examination of the reverse shows the way in which the wax has been built up in layers with a final thin upper layer used to define finer details. The formation of the drapery shows how the artist has used the wax in a very similar way to terracotta by hand rolling strips and modelling each one into a fold for the drapery.

Just as the drapery has a classical form, the treatment of the musculature is equally antique in flavour. It is almost certain that the sculptor would have seen and studied Greek and Roman statuary, which was common practice for apprentice sculptors of the 16th century. Therefore, in comparing the present lot to antique prototypes such as the Belvedere Antinous and the Belvedere Torso (both in the Musei Vaticani, Rome) one can imagine that this artist may have worked from or been influenced by such prototypes. Both the present lot and the Antinous have a similarly exaggerated contrapposto, which creates a very smooth inverted 's-curve'. The muscles of both torsos are also wide and powerful very much like that of the Belvedere torso but slightly less exaggerated. It is said that Michelangelo was a great admirer of the latter and its is possible to see its influence on him not only in the treatment of the musculature but also in the overall aesthetic which is both subtle and romantic. This point is perhaps best illustrated when looking at a work like The Dying Slave in the Louvre, Paris, where the figure is both dream-like and beautiful but equally full of pathos; the present lot inspires a similar feeling. This might be a result of one's association of the figure with the idea of sacrifice, or perhaps a result of the classical and harmonious treatment of the human form, but it might even be a sense of remorse in seeing the fragmentary remains of a once complete work of art.
;

More from IMPORTANT EUROPEAN FURNITURE,SCULPTURE,TAPESTRIES & CARPETS

View All
View All