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


Overall the condition of the marble is very good with minor dirt and wear to the surface consistent with age. The marble has been cleaned and the surface is a little dry. It is possible that the marble may have been outside, and the surface exposed to the elements, with mild loss of detail as a result. There are abrasions in particular to the nose. There is light veining to the marble, consistent with the material, including to the proper right side of the face and neck. There are small naturally occurring inclusions to the marble, including to the back and to the proper right shoulder and proper left arm. There is an inclusion to the proper left cheek. There are purple dirt marks to the proper left arm and the proper left side of the torso. There are some abrasions to the proper right toes. The tip of the proper right big toe is reattached and there are restorations to the tip of the next toe. A section of the proper right earring is reattached. There are some very minor chips to the edges of the terrasse. There are some inclusions in the drapery. There is a small area of restoration to the side of the proper right foot. The column is in good condition, with minor dirt and wear. There are some chips around the lower edges, and there is veining, consistent with the material.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

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