Lot 46
  • 46

Pasquale Romanelli

40,000 - 60,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Pasquale Romanelli
  • Odalisque (Sulamitide)
  • signed and dated: P. Romanelli / Fece 1871 and the medallions of the headdress inscribed: SU LA MI TI DE
  • white marble, on a verde antico column

Catalogue Note

The Florentine sculptor Pasquale Romanelli achieved an international reputation for his finely carved mythological and biblical marble figures. Romanelli began his training at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence under Luigi Pampaloni but was soon taught by the foremost Tuscan neoclassical sculptor, Lorenzo Bartolini. He subsequently became Bartolini’s collaborator and, upon the master’s death in 1850, the successor of his studio. Romanelli’s mythological and allegorical compositions were highly prized by a cosmopolitan clientele, and he exhibited select models in Paris. In addition to collectors’ marbles, Romanelli executed numerous important commissions for monuments, such as those to Vittorio Fossombroni in Arezzo, Masi in Pavia, and Demidoff in Florence. Romanelli’s final tribute to his master, Bartolini’s tomb monument, is housed in the Church of Santa Croce in Florence. After Romanelli’s death in 1887, his son Raffaello and grandson Romano continued his legacy which lives on to the present day; the Romanelli studio, now a private museum, remains a rare survival in Florence.

The present marble is a very beautifully executed figure of an Odalisque, a popular type of  19th century Orientalism. An Odalisque is a female slave, a member of a Turkish harem. Particularly detailed and fine carving can be seen in the strands of hair, the folds and pattern of the fabric and the flower held in the proper left hand. The marble epitomises Romanelli’s ideas of sculpture. The subject of the marble, Sulamitide, is inspired by the 18th century author Giuseppe Maria Ercolani’s play La Sulamitide boschereccia sagra di Neralco - pastore arcade, published in 1732, about a son of the king of Egypt during the time of Solomon. 

This marble compares closely with one of Romanelli’s most famous models of the kneeling figure Ruth. Both the present model and Ruth were later copied by Pasquale’s son Raffaello. A version of the Sulamitide by Raffaello, was sold at Sotheby’s London on 16 November 2006, lot 44.

V. Vicario, Gli Scultori Italiani dal Neoclassicismo al Liberty, Pomerio, 1994, vol. 2, pp. 897-900