Having studied with his father Giovanni, Giacomo Ponsanelli worked predominantly under Filippo Parodi whose daughter he married in 1680. Indeed their collaboration is such that it has been said that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the pupil from the master. He visited Rome with Parodi where he felt the influence of Bernini's dramatic style.
The garland which adorns Flora's head with its distinctive deeply carved flowers is found in a number of Parodi's works as in the bust of Flora in the Museo Civico in Padua and in particular on the bases of the candlesticks and the figures of Penitence and Modesty in the Basilica of St. Antony, Padua as well as the figures of Venus, Adonis, Clizia and Hyacinth in the Gallery of the Palazzo Reale in Genoa . It is interesting to note here that Ponsanelli worked with his father-in-law in both these locations. The treatment to the hair can be most closely compared with that of Ponsanelli's bust of Diana, formerly in the Heim Gallery and now in the Louvre as well as with the companion bust of Mars in the Lichtenstein collection. Note in particular the treatment to the drapery in the latter with the tied sash about the neck.
Our grateful thanks to Carlo Milano for his advice in the cataloguing of this lot.
Pagano, vol.II pp.229-236; Dal Medioevo a Canova, no.64
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