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Details
A POLYCHROME TERRACOTTA MINIATURE BUST
ATTRIBUTED TO GIAMBOLOGNA, FLORENTINE, LATE 16TH CENTURY

Possibly depicting Francesco I, naturalistically painted and modelled, the heavily bearded face with a high lock of hair over the center of the forehead and with glass eyes, inscribed in ink on the reverse 'Gian Bologna /FRANCESCO I/DE MEDICI 1587' ----- 3¾ in.(9.5cm.) high, mounted on original terracotta base
Provenance
Michael Hall, New York
Literature
C. Avery, Giambologna, The Complete Sculpture, 1987, no. 200,
p. 277
Exhibited
C. Avery and A. Radcliffe, Giambologna: Sculptor to the Medici, Art Council of Great Britain (exhibition catalogue), London, 1978, no. 234, p. 224

Lot Essay

Although undocumented, this miniature bust is stylistically typical of the work of Giambologna. The similarity to two known subjects by this artist is also noteworthy. The locks of hair and the heavy beard are reminiscent of those of the Grand Duke Francesco to whom the inscription refers. In comparison to the two known portraits of him by Giambologna, the marble in the Uffizi (cf. Avery, figure 175) and the bronze bust at the Metropolitan Museum (cf. Avery, figure 176), the present terracotta, with its naturalistic coloring appears to be a brilliant miniature of this same person. Even more striking is the resemblance to Giambologna's figure of Mars (cf. Avery, plate II). The angle of the head and position of the truncated arms, the nude chest and again the heavily bearded face with the distinctive treatment of the hair are shared by this bronze (circa 1587) and the present terracotta.
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