16
16
An important pair of parcel-gilt silver groups, probably Nicola Cangiani, Naples, 1701
Estimate
60,00080,000
JUMP TO LOT
16
An important pair of parcel-gilt silver groups, probably Nicola Cangiani, Naples, 1701
Estimate
60,00080,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Excellence

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Paris

An important pair of parcel-gilt silver groups, probably Nicola Cangiani, Naples, 1701
each on a gilt-bronze base, one representing Saint Ann with the Virgin Mary as a child standing on her left side, the other Saint Joseph with the Christ Child on his knees, a blossoming rod at his left arm, both dressed with elaborate coats decorated with flowers
38 x 22 x 19 cm ; 15 x 8 2/3 x 7 1/2 in.
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Literature

RELATED LITERATURE
P. Jorio, C. Paolillo (dir.), Il Tresoro di Napoli. I Capolavori del Museo di San Gennaro, Milano, 2013, pp. 218-222
E. and C. Catello, Scultura in argento nel Sei et Settecento a Napoli, Naples, 2000
E. et C. Catello, Argenti Napoletani dal XVI al XIX secolo, Naples, 1973, pp. 97 and 126
Settecento napoletano sulle ali dell'aquila imperiale 1707-1734, exh. cat. Vienna and Naples, 1994, pp.365-375

Catalogue Note

For the Neapolitan Baroque sculptors, The Holy Family embodied the ideal expression of filial love and was in keeping with the dogma of the Counter-Reformation. Both testimonies of sincere devotion and celebration of family cohesion and the representations of the childhood of Jesus were also inspired by scenes of Neapolitan daily life. Their spontaneity is reminiscent of the popular models of the Neapolitan crib, mixing the sacred and secular worlds. These statuettes with realistic and rather exaggerated features were so popular in Naples that famous sculptors such as Matteo Bottiglieri, Lorenzo and Dominico Vaccaro, and even Giuseppe Sanmartino, produced their own models. In the 17th century, Saint Joseph gained a dominant position. His representations multiplied dramatically and he became the paternal pendant of the classic iconography of the Virgin and Child. He is identified by his flowering rod, which designated him as the chosen one among the Virgin's group. By extension, the representations of the Holy Kinship - namely the ancestry of the Virgin - are flourishing. Anne, depicted as an aging woman, becomes like Joseph, a symbol of filial love.

The representation of half-length saints is probably inherited from the production of Gothic reliquary busts , the wooden core of which was plated with silver or gilt-copper leaves. In Naples, during the 17th century, the bust became an autonomous genre released from its original function. Anne and Joseph's half-length composition was part of this Neapolitan tradition of silver busts of saints, of which the most important ensemble is in the chapel of San Gennaro. On January 13, 1527, a contract was signed between January, the patron saint of Naples, who died a martyr a millennium before, and the Neapolitans. In exchange for his protection, they commited to constitute a treasure and to build a chapel dedicated to the saint. Thus, the greatest sculptors and goldsmiths from the 1660s to the mid-19th century were commissioned to produce about fifteen colossal silver busts to complete the 14th century reliquary bust containing a few drops of Saint January's blood. Influential artists and craftsmen collaborated on this ambitious project, such as the sculptor Cosimo Fanzago with the goldsmith Aniello Treglia (Bust of Saint Euphebius, 1672) and Domenico Antonio Vaccaro with an anonymous silversmith (Saint Sebastian, 1697-1709). Other busts were the work of a single goldsmith, or a family of goldsmiths, such as Saint Irene by Carlo Schisano (1733) and Saint Theresa by Andrea and Domenico De Blasio (1715).

Made by the De Blasio family, one should mention two groups which are comparable yet later than the present lot – exhibited in Maastricht by Gallo Fine Art for the 2018 TEFAF, and presenting Saint Joseph and Child and Saint Vincent Ferrier, by Baldassarre de Blasio, after models by Giuseppe Picano, circa 1750.

Although little is known about Nicola Cangiani, he is from another well-known Neapolitan goldsmith dynasty and was elected "Console dell'Arte" (assay-master) in Naples in 1703. The remarkable quality of the two present groups, probably intended for private devotion, is a proof of Cangiani's skill. The goldsmith has perfectly achieved to transcribe the modelling of the bodies, the texture of the hair and the richness of the clothes. He was also able to capture the realistic details of the characters, such as the wrinkled and smiling face of Saint Anne. Finally, the magnificent engraving, notably on the clothes adorned with floral patterns on matted ground highlighted with gold, underlines the preciousness of these two groups.

Excellence

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Paris