This impressive, monumental bust demonstrates Jerace's considerable skill in capturing the defiant gaze of his subject. A political allegory, Victa represents the vanquished, but not yet tamed, Poland, divided between Austria, Russia and Prussia. Jerace combines the realism of his native Neapolitan school of sculpture with an idealism inspired by the Venus de Milo and Michelangelo's unfinished works, as is seen in the truncation of the bust. Victa is hailed as 'certamente il capolavoro di Jerace' ('undoubtedly Jerace's masterpiece', Corace, op. cit., p. 23). The sculptor exhibited the model together with two other works at the National Exhibition of Turin in 1880, to great critical acclaim. Aside from the present example, marble versions of Victa are held in the Palazzo della Provincia, Reggio Calabria, and the Museo Civico in Castel Nuovo, Naples.
Francesco Jerace was born into a distinguished family of artists, his brothers being the sculptor Vincenzo and the painter Gaetano Jerace. He worked in the studio of Francesco Morani and was a regular exhibitor in Milan, Naples and Paris, soon rising to become one of the most famous Italian sculptors of his generation. He is also well known for a number of distinguished monuments, including a statue of Vittorio Emmanuele II in the Palazzo Reale in Naples (1888) and a monument to the composer Donizetti in Bergamo (1897).
E. Corace (ed.), Francesco Jerace: scultore (1853-1937), Rome and Trieste, 2002, pp. 22-23 and 60-63