Lot 16
  • 16

Pio Fedi

20,000 - 30,000 GBP
34,850 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Pio Fedi
  • dionora de bardi e ippolito buondelmonti
  • signed and dated: PIO FEDI Scultore Fece in Firenze 1872 and inscribed: FUCCIO MI FECI / DIONORA. DE. BARDI. E IPPOLITO BUONDELMONTI. Osservator Fiorentino volume VIII
  • white marble
  • height: 83.5cm; 32 7/8 in

Catalogue Note

The romance between Dionora de Bardi (or Leonora de' Bardi) and Ippolito Buondelmonti is recounted by the celebrated Renaissance theorist and architect Leon Battista Alberti in his Storia de Ippolito Buondelmonti e Leonora de' Bardi. Alberti's novella tells of two warring Florentine dynasties, the Bardi and their particularly belligerent foes, the Buondelmonte. The action is set against a tense backdrop, with the head of each family parading through the streets of Florence accompanied by up to 300 armed supporters. Whilst attending a fête, the gaze of the young Ippolito meets that of the beautiful Dianora; they fall instantly in love. Learning that the object of his affections belongs to the rival Bardi clan, Ippolito seeks the help of Dianora's aunt, an Abbess, who secretly ushers Ippolito into Dianora's chamber where he conceals himself behind a curtain. Dianora, thinking that she is all alone, declares her undying love for Ippolito. Falling into a restless sleep, she calls out for her lover, who, unable to bear her anguished cries, appears by her side and kisses her. The two swear mutual fidelity to each other in an informal marriage ceremony and agree to meet several days later when Ippolito will climb up to Dianora's chamber at night. On his way to this liaison, however, Ippolito is intercepted by a patrolling constable, who, noticing the rope ladder Ippolito is carrying, arrests him as a thief. Despite being faced with the death penalty, Ippolito bravely confesses to theft in order to protect his lover from blame. He is saved by Dianora, who publically announces their marriage, and the two are happily reunited.

In the present sculpture, Pio Fedi presents us with an image of the courtship of Dianora. Ippolito's gently persuasive gesture conveys his intense and immediate affection for Dianora, whilst her apparent reticence highlights the agonistic relationship between their two families and the difficulties associated with their union. Pio Fedi's training as a goldsmith and engraver is evident in the virtuoso carving of the rich fabrics and differing surfaces. The intricacy of the carving, together with the small scale of the group, lends to it a precious, jewel-like quality. The signature compares closely with that of Pio Fedi's Il sospetto in the Ashmoleon, also dated 1872, and which, according to Nicholas Penny, may have been sculpted as a special piece by Pio Fedi himself.

Nicholas Penny, Catalogue of European Sculpture in Ashmolean Museum 1540 to the Present Day, Volume I Italian, Oxford, 1992, no. 32, pp. 35-37