Born in Florence in 1861, Vittorio Caradossi studied sculpture under Augusto Rivalta at the Accademia di Belle Arti. He was commissioned to execute a number of public monuments and is most remembered for his celebrated statue to the Renaissance artist Desiderio da Settignano, the model for which was exhibited at the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle. In contrast to these municipal works, Caradossi also composed a number of marvellously abandoned female nudes, such as his Dolce Far Niente, Tre Nereidi (see Christie's East, 26 October 1993, lot 46), Dusk, A Moon Nymph Admiring Her Own Reflection (see Christie's London, 29 February 1996, lot 405) and Shooting Stars (see Sotheby's New York, 24 October 1996, lot 114). Conceived in 1907 and exhibited at the Salon two years later, the present work, Il Fumo che Sale Verso le Nubi, belongs to this same category of celestial and ethereal nudes. Echoing the sensuality of his predecessors Pradier and Clésinger, who portrayed their nymphs in a similar attitude of abandon, Caradossi's works exhibit a greater humour and modernity, partly dispelling the rather heady voluptuousness of the former sculptors.