Details & Cataloguing

Old Master Sculpture and Works of Art Including Highlights from the Reinhold Hofstätter Collection


Attributed to Filippo Parodi (1630-1702)
Northern Italian, probably Venice, late 17th century
gilt wood on later polychromed wooden bases
the figures: 92cm., 36¼in.
bases: 59 to 61cm., 23¼ to 24in.
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Noble collection, Spain;
Christie's London, 5 November 2009, lot 88

Catalogue Note

This magnificent group of gilt wood sculptures follow the famous models by Pietro Tacca, which show four Moors chained and forced into submission, surrounding the base of the commemorative statue of Ferdinando de’Medici in Livorno. The present figures are rare, wooden versions of a similar type. Due to their high quality of finish, it is unlikely that these were mere models for later marble works, as has been suggested in the past.

Significantly, two apparently related figures are published as being in the Salzburger Barockmuseum: these were attributed to Gianlorenzo Bernini because of the relation they bear to the fountains of the Four Rivers and of the Moors on the Piazza Navona in Rome. However, as the present figures, they are evidently derived from the Tacca models.

With their twisting forms and shining golden surface, the present figures accord to the Rococo taste, and comparisons can immediately be drawn to the work of Filippo Parodi and his son, who were famous for working with large gilt wood figures. The figures would probably have been commissioned for a temporary monument, to commemorate a victory over the 'Oriental Other', which the present Moors represent. One possible candidate for such an event might be the victory of the Doge of Venice, Francesco Morosini, over the Turks. Parodi, who was previously commissioned by Morosini for a commemorative bust, may well have been the artist of choice for the Doge to commemorate his battle, and the carving of the figures support that attribution.

An expertise by Ulrich Heiss MA, dated January 2011, is available upon request. 

K. Rossacher, Die Metamorphose: Künstlerenwürfe des Römischen Barock, dem Gedenken Gianlorenzo Berninis, exh. cat. Salzburger Barockmusuem, Salzburg, 1979; K. Rossacher, Visionen des Barock: Entwürfe des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts. Salzburger Barockmuseum, Sammlung Rossacher, Gesamtkatalog, Salzburg, 1983

Old Master Sculpture and Works of Art Including Highlights from the Reinhold Hofstätter Collection