Italian, Rome, 17th century
Casa d'Aste Pitti, Florence, 10-12 December 1980, lot 369;
Art Market, Florence
IRSA, Verlagsanstalt, Vienna, 1987-1989, from whom acquired by the present owner
This Flagellation is the quintessential small bronze group of the Roman Seicento; few bronzes from the period have been the focus of more admiration and scholarly scrutiny. The model has been famous through the centuries for its play of balance and movement, a characteristic which is only heightened by the gilding and fine chasing of the present example.
Casts of the Flagellation exist in several variations which has prompted a debate concerning the authorship. Two types have been distinguished: an earlier version, upon which according to Jennifer Montagu, both Alessandro Algardi and François Du Quesnoy worked; and a later version, which was solely Algardi's creation. In her 1985 monograph on Algardi (op.cit.), Montagu attributes this Christ and the flagellator on his right to Algardi while she assigns the figure on His left to François Du Quesnoy. This configuration seems to be unique.
The engraved PC on the calves of each figure has been interpreted as a reference to the Florentine Palazzo Corsini. Other sculptures from this collection, however, do not bear any such monograms; the engravings' significance thus remains to be resolved.
J. Montagu, 'A Flagellation Group: Algardi or du Quesnoy?', Bulletin des Musées Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire XXXVII-XXXIX, series 4, 1966-1967; M. Boudon-Machuel, François Du Quesnoy , 1597-1643, Paris 2005, pp. 95-97, 223-224.
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