Pasquale Romanelli (d.1887) studied at the Academy in Florence under Luigi Pampaloni and Lorenze Bartolini, swiftly becoming the favoured pupil and protegé of the latter. He worked in Bartolini's studio as his collaborator, and on his master's death, took over his atelier. In 1861 the art critic Theodosia Trollope visited Romanelli's studio in Florence and her contemporary review provides a fascinating account of his successful and prolific workshop (The Art Journal, op. cit). Romanelli worked on several public monuments, of which the most celebrated and most beautiful is his Monument to Vittorio Fossombroni in the Piazza S. Francesco in Arezzo. He also specialised in mythlogical and decorative marble figures, such as his Youthful Bacchus, his La Delusa for the Paris Great Exhibition, his set of The Four Seasons for Lord Portarlington and the present Andromeda. It is evident that Romanelli enjoyed international acclaim and a wide spectrum of patrons.
In choosing Andromeda as his subject matter Romanelli was returning to a theme popular in sculpture during the 17th and 18th centuries, and his treatment of it moves away from the classicism of Bartolini towards a more animated baroque style. In Greek mythology (see Ovid, Metamorphoses 4:665-739), Andromeda, the daughter of an Ethiopian king, had been chained to a rock by the sea as a sacrifice to the Titan sea-monster. Perseus, flying above on the winged horse, Pegasus, saw Andromeda, fell in love with her and rescued her by slaying the monster by turning it into stone with the severed head of Medusa. Here, Andromeda is shown as a neo-baroque figure, one arm raised in anguish to her head, the other with clenched fist, the smooth planes of her body contrasting effectively with the 'embroidered' drapery falling from her and the richly-textured monster, the rock and the sea spume.
Another marble example of this figure, dated 1882 and with 'un-embroidered' drapery, was sold in these rooms, 15 July, 1993, lot 254.