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Details & Cataloguing

19th & 20th Century Sculpture

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London

Cristoforo Vicari
1846-1913
ITALIAN
PSYCHE WITH A BUTTERFLY
signed: Vicari
white marble, on a serpentine marble column
figure: 148cm., 58¼in. 
column: 98cm., 38 5/8 in. 
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Catalogue Note

The Swiss-Italian artist Cristoforo Vicari (1846-1913) was born in Caslano and trained at the Accademia di Brera in Milan. After spending some time in Zurich, he exhibited several of his works in Italy. In the city of Lugano, he is mostly known for his marble sculpture of San Carlo at the Palazzo della Curia. 

The present exuberant marble shows Psyche, depicted as a young girl, looking down at the butterfly perching on her arm. Depicting Psyche as a young girl, with short, butterfly wings, was an iconography famously executed by Vicari's French contemporary Auguste Moreau (1834-1914). The marble is further reminescent of Italian genre sculpture of the late 19th century, including Cesare Lapini's Sorpresa and Angelo Bottinelli's Prima Posa (both were sold at Sotheby's, the former in New York, 7 May 2015, lot 58; the latter in these rooms, 16 December 2015, lot 75). The abundance of leaves and flowers wrapping around Psyche's legs on the present marble show the sculptor's skill in carving different suface textures. Psyche seems to be mid-leap, making this a dynamic and intricately carved marble. 

RELATED LITERATURE
V. Vicario, Gli Scultori Italiani dal Neoclassicismo al Liberty, vol. 2, 1994, p. 1094; E. Bénézit, Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, vol. 14, 1999, p. 207.

19th & 20th Century Sculpture

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London