NORTHERN ITALIAN, PROBABLY PADUA, CIRCA 1500
FANTASTICAL DRAGON SURMOUNTED BY A MONKEY
bronze, with a scagliola base
bronze: 25 by 18cm., 9⅞ by 7⅛in.
base: 10 by 17cm., 4 by 6¾in.
Overall the condition of the bronze is good, with some dirt and wear to the surface consistent with age. The monkey is cast separately from the dragon. There are metal dowels to the monkey's rear and proper left foot which slide into holes in the dragon's back. There is a hole to the monkey's proper right foot which would have once accommodated a third dowel to go into another hole in the dragon's back, which has now been filled. There is wear to the lacquer patina, including rubbing at the high points and some flaking, particularly to the dragon. There are minor spots of greening throughout. There are several small nicks, including to the dragon's back. There is dryness to the surface in areas, in particular in the crevices. There are some minor surface residues in areas, including to the dragon's neck and tail. There is a hole to the underside of the dragon's belly, and smaller holes to its feet, one with a metal dowel.
The base is loose. There is wear, including chips around the edges, particularly the top edge.
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.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
This rare and intriguing bronze appears to be a unique survival. Another version of only the fantastical monster, lacking the separately-cast monkey, is housed in the Museo Nazionale in Ravenna (inv. no. 1398). The beast has been compared with the work of the Paduan bronze sculptor Severo da Ravenna, in particular his model of the dragon-headed sea monster surmounted by Neptune, of which a prime cast is in the Frick Collection, New York (inv. no. 16.2.12). Apart from this similarity, the precise appearance of the present, partially leonine, creature seems to find no parallel in early 16th-century bronzes from Padua. The same can be said of the Monkey, which represents a rare iconography in Renaissance bronzes south of the Alps. It is however reminiscent of the various bronze satyrs and other mythical creatures created by Severo's workshop and circle, of which some - like the present group - are represented in the midst of a violent struggle (see Krahn, op. cit., nos. 13 and 14).
J. Pope-Hennessy and A. Radcliffe, The Frick Collection: An illustrated Catalogue, Vol. III, Sculpture, Italian, New York, 1970, pp. 126-135; L. Martini, Piccoli Bronzi e Placchette del Museo Nazionale di Ravenna, Ravenna, 1985, no. 9; V. Krahn, Bronzetti Veneziani: Die venezianischen Kleinbronzen der Renaissance aus dem Bode-Museum, Berlin, 2003