December 3, 02:41 PM GMT
20,000 - 30,000 GBP
WORKSHOP OF SEBASTIANO NICOLINI (ACTIVE FROM 1614)
ITALIAN, VENICE, MID-17TH CENTURY
VIRGIN AND CHILD WITH TWO PUTTI
bronze, on an associated bronze base
with the coat of arms of the Da Legge family of Venice on the base
group: 42cm., 16½in.
base: 8cm., 3⅛in.
Prince of Collalto;
Guido von Rhò, Vienna, by 1908;
with Reinhold Hofstätter, Vienna
E. W. Braun, Die Bronzen der Sammlung Guido von Rhò in Wien, Vienna, 1908, p. 15 and pl. X
This beautiful group of the Virgin and Child with two putti is a rare devotional work that can be firmly associated with the celebrated Venetian workshop of Nicolò Roccatagliata and his heirs. Following his death in 1629, Roccatagliata's studio was inherited by his son, Sebastiano Nicolini, and bronzes were cast after the two sculptors' models well into the later 17th century.
Born in Genoa around 1560, Nicolò Roccatagliata moved to Venice sometime before 1594 and is thought to have been the master of a substantial workshop that included his talented son. Sebastiano became an eminent bronze sculptor in his own right and appears to have collaborated with his father on numerous commissions. Though the large-scale antependium relief dated 1633 in the Venetian church of San Moisè is signed by both father and son, Nicolò's documented death in 1629 indicates that it must in fact be primarily the work of Sebastiano (see Kryza-Gersch, op. cit. 2008, p. 262).
The present bronze is clearly indebted to a signed work by Nicolò, his group of the standing Virgin and Child at the Musée national de la Renaissance in Écouen (inv. no. C1.13.272). The Écouen Virgin's overall pose, dress and facial expression reappear in the present Virgin, albeit broader and softened, lacking the sharp, heavy eyelids and precise nose of the Roccatagliata model. While the two playful putti in the present bronze display the characteristic Roccatagliatesque curls, the Christ Child's hair is flatly engraved into the surface, indicating that the group may have been modelled by Sebastiano or a member of his workshop. A stylistically distinct version of the present model (with some variations) is found in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (inv. no. 1978.516.5).
C. Kryza-Gersch, 'New Light on Nicolò Roccatagliata and his son Sebastian Nicolini', Nuovi Studi, vol. 5, 1998, anno III, pp. 111-126 and pls. 192-230; C. Kryza-Gersch, 'Due altari seicenteschi a San Marco: Nicolò Roccatagliata e Sebastiano Nicolini, e la produzione di ornamenti in bronze per le chiese veneziane', in M. Ceriana and V. Avery (eds.), L'Industria artistica del bronzo del Rinascimento a Venezia e nell'Italia settentrionale, Verona, 2008, pp. 253-272