54
54
Attributed to Santi Buglioni (1494-1576) 
Italian, Florence, circa 1530-1560
BUST OF CHRIST THE REDEEMER
JUMP TO LOT
54
Attributed to Santi Buglioni (1494-1576) 
Italian, Florence, circa 1530-1560
BUST OF CHRIST THE REDEEMER
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Master Sculpture & Works of Art

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Attributed to Santi Buglioni (1494-1576) 
Italian, Florence, circa 1530-1560
BUST OF CHRIST THE REDEEMER
partially glazed and polychromed terracotta
58 by 58cm., 22¾ by 22¾in. 
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Catalogue Note

Busts of Christ the Redeemer of the present type became popular between the thirteenth and fourteenth century in Rome. The model then became very successful in Renaissance Florence between the fifteenth and the early sixteenth century. Sculptors such as Verrocchio, Pietro Torrigiani and Agnolo di Pollo executed models in terracotta and stucco, and the workshops of Andrea and Giovanni della Robbia produced several versions in their trademark glazed terracotta. 

The present bust, however, has some unique features which set it apart from the previously mentioned models, which were often produced through casts. The tapering of the waist and underneath the arms on the present bust is a move away from the more 'pyramidal' shaped busts produced by the workshops of Verrocchio and others, and the carefully delineated hair and full beard, together with the calm and pensive expression, all point towards the present bust being a later, rarer example, illustrating a sixteenth-century classicism. A further indication for a dating towards the mid-16th century is the partial polychromy on the bust - this later innovation in the Florentine glazed terracottas was first introduced by Girolamo della Robbia, third generation of della Robbia sculptors, in order to enhance the picturesque quality and the naturalism of the terracottas, moving away from the traditional white-blue colour scheme (Gentilini, op. cit. p. 298).

Based on these characteristics, Professor Gentilini has attributed the Redeemer to Santi Buglioni. Santi, the successor and heir of Benedetto Buglioni, changed his output from his master's more traditional glazed earthenware to a more ambitious Mannerism as soon as he established himself as an independent artist (Marquand, op. cit. p. xxxvii). One of the ambitious projects he worked on was the frieze of the Deeds of Mercy for the Ospedale del Ceppo in Pistoia, which shows figures with similar partial glazing - the skin and hair carefully left in the neutral terracotta colour. In his expertise, Gentilini further highlights the similarity in the prominent features of both the present bust and the figures on the frieze - particularly "the nose and the eye-sockets, [...] the sculptural depth of the lips and forehead and the exuberant flow of the beard and hair, outlined with deep and quick strokes of the stick or spatula." Compare further to figures of Saint Francis and Duns Scotus, which show similar partial polychromy and pronounced features, illustrated in Gentilini (ed., op. cit, cat. nos. VI.12 and VI.13). The present bust is part of a small group of very high quality Redeemer busts, with vivid detailing and expressive colours. 

An expertise by Professor Giancarlo Gentilini is available from the department upon request

RELATED LITERATURE
A. Marquand, Benedetto and Santi Buglioni, Princeton, 1921; G. Gentilini, I Della Robbia e l'"arte nuova" della scultura invetriata, Fiesole, 1998, cat. nos. VI.12 and VI.13, p. 298

Old Master Sculpture & Works of Art

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London