This elegantly conceived model of a Greek Slave is one of Scipione Tadolini's defining masterpieces. Tadolini was the eldest son and inheritor of Antonio Canova's principal studio assistant, Adamo Tadolini, and, like his father, he rapidly emerged as one of the leading sculptors in Rome during his lifetime. Though influenced by the celebrated tradition of idealised statuary established by Canova, the father of Neoclassicism, the touching portrayal of a beautiful young girl enslaved, together with her orientalist guise, looks forward to the Romantic movement in 19th-century sculpture.
The present marble follows one of two variants of the model created by Tadolini, the principal difference between them being the fact that, in the present composition, the young woman raises her right arm to the level of her chest; in the second variant, the slave touches her chin with her right hand. The present model is likely to be the earlier of the two variants, and this is a finely executed reduction. A life-size version of the model sold in these rooms on 8 July 2015 as lot 43 (£245,000).