Lot 4
  • 4

ANTONIO GIOVANNI LANZIROTTI | Hymenée de l'Amour et Psyché (The Marriage of Cupid and Psyche)

25,000 - 35,000 GBP
31,250 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Antonio Giovanni Lanzirotti
  • Hymenée de l'Amour et Psyché (The Marriage of Cupid and Psyche)
  • signed and dated: A. G. LANZIROTTI ORIGINAL 1876 and entitled: HYMENÉE DE L'AMOUR ET PSYCHÉ
  • white marble, on a possibly later veined rose marble base
  • 90cm., 35 1/2 in. overall


Private collection, southern France;
the present owners

Catalogue Note

Lanzirotti studied in Palermo and then in Paris, under the tutelage of Joseph Michel Ange Pollet. He is also believed to have been a pupil of Valerio Villareale, Bertel Thorvaldsen and Pietro Tenerani in Rome (Vicario, op. cit., p. 598). His first major work, The Education of Bacchus, was exhibited at the 1855 Exposition Universelle at Paris. In 1860 Lanzirotti joined Garibaldi's Expedition of the Thousand, and was imprisoned at Gaeta for two months, before returning to Paris, where he kept a studio. In 1863 he was appointed portrait sculptor to King Victor Emmanuel II, and was commissioned to make sculptures of the Conte Verde and Duke Vittorio Amedeo I, for the Palazzo Reale in Torino. He was admitted to numerous Academies, and was awarded the Cross of Knights of Saints Maurizio and Lazzaro, admitted to the Order of the Crown of Italy, and awarded the Order of Isabel the Catholic. 

The present work reflects the prominence of allegorical and classicising subjects within Lanzirotti's oeuvre. Among his other allegorical works are Amore Punito, La Follia, La Pensierosa, La Schiava Greca, and his playful Blind Love, sold in these rooms on 13 December 2000, lot 173. In the present figure, the touching representation is gently eroticised by Psyche's exposed breast, the chaste kiss that Cupid plants on her forehead, and the meeting of the figures' hands. The subject of Cupid and Psyche was popular during the late 18th and 19th centuries, treated most famously in the late 18th century by Antonio Canova. See his depiction of the standing figures, in the Louvre (inv. no. M.R. 1776), which re-imagined the antique figure in the Capitoline Museum to create a coolly elegant yet intimate composition. Canova's artwork undoubtedly paved the way for Lanzirotti's portrayal half a century later. 

A. Panzetta, Nuovo Dizionario degli Scultori Italiani dell'Ottocento e del Primo Novocento, vol.1, Torino, 2003, p. 513; V. Vicario, Gli Scultori Italiani dal Neoclassicismo al Liberty, vol.2, Lodi, 1994, p. 598-99