Massimiliano Soldani-Benzi (1656-1740) was a Florence-based sculptor and medallist, who was trained in sculpture and coin-making in the Medici school. Following his training, Soldani-Benzi was employed by the Medici workshop, where he remained for his entire career. In addition to sculpture and coins, Soldani-Benzi also produced a number of bronze reliefs, busts and free-standing figures based on antique models. In 1694-95 Josef Johann Adam, Prince of Liechtenstein (1690-1732) commissioned from Soldani-Benzi a number of works based on those in the Medici collections. A group of these works, including bronze busts of Agrippa, Hadrian, Augustus, and Cicero are currently in the collection of the Lichtenstein Museum. Upon Soldani-Benzi's death in 1740 his heirs sold some of his wax models to Carlo Ginori, owner of the Doccia porcelain manufactuary, who had them reproduced in porcelain by his cheif modeller Gaspero Bruschi.
Doccia porcelain busts such as the present lot rarely appear at auction. A Doccia bust of a Roman emperor in a similar tunic was sold Sotheby's, London, 13 July 1976, lot 84, and another depicting Claudio also after Soldani-Benzi, was sold in these rooms on 5 May 1970, lot 15.
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