Post Lot Text
A BRONZE GROUP OF THE LAOCÖON, AFTER THE ANTIQUE, FRENCH, EARLY 19TH CENTURY
Laocöon seated on a stepped base flanked by his two sons and wrestling with the serpents; on an integrally cast rectangular naturalistic base; transluscent reddish gold lacquer
This bronze group is based upon one of the most famous marbles from classical antiquity, which was discovered on 14 January 1506 near Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. It depicts the priest, Laocöon, and his sons struggling hopelessly against the serpents which have been sent to kill them by the goddess Minerva. Its fame rested not only on its inherent artistic qualities, but on the fact that it was deemed to be the marble referred to by Pliny as having been executed for the palace of Titus.
Admiration for the group continued throughout the renaissance, baroque and neo-classical periods and it was widely reproduced by some of the most accomplished artists on both large and small scales.