Considering the profusion of marble figures and busts carved by Andreoni, it is surprising that more is not known of this enterprising sculptor. Based in Rome, Andreoni sent works for exhibition as far as Glasgow (1888) and Berlin (1892) and is believed to have been active for a time in America (a file on him is in the Smithsonian Institution Library). The exposure established his international reputation. Andreoni specialised in historical and biblical subjects such as the present bust of Cleopatra and the following lot, possibly intended as a pendant, Judith (lot 42). Andreoni's expertise with the chisel is evident here in the virtuoso handling of clothing, hair and accoutrements, delighting in the richness of detail. Other historic subjects he treated included figures of a Pharisee (Sydney Museum), Francesco da Rimini, Messalina, the Blind Nidia and Hamlet (Bournemouth).
Perhaps Andreoni's greatest contribution was his large workshop in Rome where a generation of sculptors received their training. Notable amongst these was Antonio Rossetti, who appended the words '...Studio O Andreoni Roma' after his signature while working there. Both teacher and pupil made a speciality of portraying figures beneath diaphanous veils to demonstrate their technical mastery of the medium.
One of the most ambitious 19th century marble fountain ensembles survives at York House in Twickenham. During Sir Ratan Tata's residence there, he purchased a six-figure group of sirens and hippocamps which were recently identified as bearing the signature 'O. Spalmach, Studio O Andreoni, Roma'. Spalmach must have known Rossetti and it is interesting to note that Rossetti's work is well represented in England, a product perhaps of Andreoni's encouragement.
Panzetta, vol.1, p.72; Vicario vol.1, p.29; Mackay, p.26; Dr. J. Payan, The Statues of York House Gardens Twickenham, 9th Annual Conference of the Fountain Society, 9th September 1995.
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