19 March 2009
THE PROPERTY OF A LADY
AN ITALIAN MARBLE GROUP OF VENUS AND CUPID, ON PEDESTAL
BY ALEXANDER MACDONALD, ROME, DATED 1879
Signed and dated ALEX. MACDONALD/FECIT ROMÆ 1879
The group: 48 in. (122 cm.) high; The pedestal: 34½ in. (88 cm.) high; 20¼ in. (51.5 cm.) diameter (2)
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V. Viario, Gli scultori italiani dal Neoclassicismo al Liberty, Lodi, 1994, vol. 2, p.396
A. Panzetta, Dizionario Degli Scultori Italiani Dell'Ottocento, Turin, 1994, vol. 1, p.171
Born in Rome in 1847, Alexander Macdonald was the son of the renowned Scottish sculptor Lawrence Macdonald (1799-1878) and was naturally apprenticed to his father's studio in the piazza Barberini, which had formerly belonged to Bertel Thorvaldsen. The Macdonald workshop was pre-eminent in producing portraiture for the English nobility, and capitalized upon this success by focusing on 'ideal' statuary: adopting neo-classical principles to idealize mythological subjects. In this Alexander excelled, and Vicario lists his principal works as Psyche, Aeneas and Anchises, Achilles being dipped in the Styx, Andocles and the Lion and Venus and Cupid. Panzetta records that his Venus and Cupid was commissioned by the Prince of Wales for the 'Palazzo Reale' in London, although it is not currently recorded in the Royal Collections.
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