5 July 2007
A PAIR OF CARVED MARBLE RELIEFS OF DIANA AND ENDYMION AND ANGELICA AND RUGGIERO
BY GIOVANNI BATTISTA LOCATELLI (CIRCA 1735-1805), LATE 18TH CENTURY
Diana depicted above Endymion who sleeps beneath a tree, attended by his dog; Angelica seated by Ruggiero who carves the former's name in a tree trunk; each with integrally carved frame and signed 'LOCATELLVS. F.'
12¾ and 12 5/8 in. (32.4 and 32.1 cm.) high (2)
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F. Russell ed., The Loyd Collection of Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, revised edition 1991, no. 157, pl. 81.
Giovanni Battista Locatelli was born in Verona but came to London in around 1775 following the success he had had with English patrons on the Grand Tour. He is known to have worked in the workshop of Joseph Nollekens and to have modelled figures for Eleanor Coade in Lambeth. He also had a number of noble patrons for whom he executed work in marble including the Duke of Wellington, and his work is to be found in a number of important English stately homes. He eventually returned to Italy and was granted a pension for life by Napoleon.
The subjects of the two reliefs offered here come from two different sources although they both give the artist the opportunity to depict young lovers in a landscape. Endymion is the handsome shepherd of mythology who is put into an eternal sleep by Jupiter in return for perpetual youth. He is visited in his sleep by Diana, who comes to admire him. The story of Angelica and Ruggiero comes from Ariosto's epic poem Orlando Furioso. In a scene reminiscent of Perseus and Andromeda, Ruggiero arrives on a hippogriff to save Angelica from a seamonster who is about to attack her. The scene here is presumably meant to follow the drama of Angelica's rescue; it provides a more balanced pendant to the tranquility of the scene of Diana and Endymion.
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