1816 - 1892
PAIR OF PUTTI AS ALLEGORIES OF PEACE AND INNOCENCE
each signed and dated: PIO FEDI SCOLPI IN FIRENCE NELL' ANNO 1884
Peace: 73cm., 28¾in.
Innocence: 68cm., 26¾in.
Overall the condition of the marbles is very good with minor dirt and wear to the surface consistent with age. The quality is very nice and well preserved. The bottom tip of the male angel's proper left wing is reattached with the original piece. The girl's proper left little finger and proper left big toe (and possibly the very tip of another toe) are restored. There are a few dirt marks to both and a green dirt mark to the boy. There are a few minor chips to the bottom edges. There are a few naturally occurring inclusions.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
A student of Lorenzo Bartolini, Pio Fedi rose to prominence as a sculptor in his native Florence. He continued his studies in Vienna before winning a stipend in 1840 to train with Pietro Tenerani in Rome.
An alert visitor to Florence who stands in the Piazza della Signoria and inspects the sculptures in the famous Loggia dei Lanzi, will be struck by an ambitious nineteenth-century marble group of the Rape of the Polyxena positioned between two seminal works from the Renaissance: Benvenuto Cellini's Perseus and Giambologna's Rape of the Sabines. Modelled by Fedi in 1855, it captures the political spirit of the time. The group was interpreted as the personification of the Risorgimento and resistance to domination by foreign powers. When it was inaugurated in 1866 it quickly became the most talked of sculpture in Italy, thus propelling the previously little-known Fedi to fame and rendering him the leading Florentine sculptor of the 1860s.
This charming pair of idealised children epitomises the purity of Fedi's artistic vision. Essentially neoclassical in style but imbued with a Romantic softness, the figures are conceived as allegories of the virtues of Innocence and Peace. The girl with butterfly wings alludes to the mythological character of Psyche, whose naivety and inexperience, as recounted in Apuleius' Metamorphoses, ultimately win her the undying love of Cupid. Peace - a subject which surely would have resonated with Fedi's compatriots - is represented as a boy attending to a dove whilst gently protecting her nest.