CIRCLE OF NICOLAS CORDIER (D. 1612), ROME, 17TH CENTURY
CIRCLE OF NICOLAS CORDIER (D. 1612), ROME, 17TH CENTURY
CIRCLE OF NICOLAS CORDIER (D. 1612), ROME, 17TH CENTURY
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CIRCLE OF NICOLAS CORDIER (D. 1612), ROME, 17TH CENTURY
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This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal.… Read more
CIRCLE OF NICOLAS CORDIER (D. 1612), ROME, 17TH CENTURY

A PAIR OF MALE AND FEMALE BUSTS OF MOORS

Details
CIRCLE OF NICOLAS CORDIER (D. 1612), ROME, 17TH CENTURY
A PAIR OF MALE AND FEMALE BUSTS OF MOORS
Black marble and alabaster busts; the eyes inlaid with coloured marbles; each set into alabaster shoulders, the shoulders of the male bust probably later; each on a grey marble socle
23 5/8 in. high (60 cm.), the male bust
(2)
Provenance
Old Clock House Antiques, Ascot, where acquired, August 1966.
Literature
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE:
S. Pressouyre, Nicolas Cordier - recherches sur la sculpture à Rome autour de 1600, pp. 413-415, no. 21, figs. 190-198.
E. Giffin, Nicolas Cordier’s Il Moro: The African as “Christian Antiquity” in Early Modern Rome, Thesis, University of Washington, 2012, fig. 9.
Special notice

This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. Our removal and storage of the lot is subject to the terms and conditions of storage which can be found at Christies.com/storage and our fees for storage are set out in the table below - these will apply whether the lot remains with Christie’s or is removed elsewhere. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Christie’s Park Royal. All collections from Christie’s Park Royal will be by pre-booked appointment only. Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060 Email: cscollectionsuk@christies.com. If the lot remains at Christie’s it will be available for collection on any working day 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Lots are not available for collection at weekends.

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Lot Essay

Artistic depictions of moors in antiquity were common, and the renaissance saw a revival of interest in the subject. Nicolas Cordier (1567-1612) was among the first to sculpt a black man; his full length figure of a Moor was one of the jewels of the Borghese collection but was later sold to Napoleon and is today in the château de Versailles (Pressouyre, loc. cit.). In Rome, the little-known sculptor Francesco Caporale was commissioned to carve a portrait of the ambassador from the Congo, Antonio Il Negrita, in 1608.
The head of the male moor was possibly inspired by a head of an African man in the Museo Nazionale Romano, Rome (Giffin, loc. cit.) sometimes dated to the 2nd century B.C. This bust, which first entered the museum's collection in 1907-8, has been the subject of a debate as to whether it is of ancient Hellenistic or sixteenth century origin (Giffin, loc. cit., pp. 6-11). The bust bears a striking resemblance to the work of Cordier's Il Moro, as well as the present male head, and it is possible it formed the basis for both works, or instead that the sculptor responsible for the present heads was looking towards Cordier's instantly influential figure.

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