ATTRIBUTED TO GIOVANNI BONAZZA (1654-1736)
ITALIAN, VENETO, EARLY 18TH CENTURY
BUST OF BACCHUS
marble, on a black marble socle
bust: 48.5cm., 19⅛in.
61cm., 24in. overall
Overall the condition of the bust is very good, with minor dirt and wear to the surface consistent with age. There are a few chips to the edges of the drapery and to the proper left nipple. There is natural veining and colouration to the marble throughout, in particular to the face. There are minor chips and abrasions to the edges and corners of the socle. The marble has been carved thinly, resulting in lacunae. There are a few minor chips to the grapes. Various minor abrasions to some of the high points.
"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."
This captivating bust of the God of Wine is unmistakably the work of Giovanni Bonazza, one of the most renowned and distinctive exponents of the Venetian Baroque.
Giovanni Bonazza moved to Padua in 1697, where he established a highly successful sculpture workshop that included assistants as illustrious as Antonio Corradini and Francesco Bertos. Together with his sons and workshop, Bonazza created marble reliefs and figurative groups for palaces and villas throughout the Venetian Republic. Some of his works even travelled as far afield as Russia - between 1716 and 1719 several of his sculptures were purchased by an agent on behalf of Tsar Peter the Great to adorn the palaces and gardens of the Russian court.
It is in Bonazza's decorative garden sculpture that the present bust finds its most convincing stylistic parallels. A bust representing Autumn in the Botanical Garden in Padua, one of a series of the Four Seasons, compares closely in both composition and details such as the subtle smile and sideways gaze, the carefully delineated flesh of the face, and the differentiation of surface textures. Another comparison can be made with a bust of Flora in the Casa del Prefetto of the Paduan Orto Botanico, which displays the same characteristic deeply carved eyes and mouth.
It is surely no coincidence that Bonazza's representation of Bacchus epitomises the description of the God of Wine found in the 16th-century iconographic repertoire, Imagini delli Dei de gl'Antichi by Vincenzo Cartari, which was widely circulated in the 17th and 18th centuries. Cartari states that Bacchus is most often shown as 'a youth, beardless, contented and jocund [because] by drinking men awaken their spirits and become more audacious and happy'.
An illustrated expertise by Dott. Maichol Clemente is available upon request.