ITALIAN, ROME, 18TH CENTURY
AFTER THE ANTIQUE
BUST OF FAUSTINA THE YOUNGER (CIRCA 130 - 175/176 C.E.)
porphyry and Nero antico marble, on a later associated Alabastro fiorito socle
bust: 50cm., 19⅝in.
socle: 13.5cm., 5¼in.
A. Wilton and I. Bignamini, Grand Tour: The Lure of Italy in the Eighteenth Century, exh. cat. Tate Gallery, London, 1996-1997, p. 211, no. 158; G. Extermann and A. V. Braga, Splendor marmoris: I colori del marmo, tra roma e l'Europa da Paolo III a Napoleone III, Rome, 2016
Overall the condition of the bust is good with minor dirt and wear to the surface consistent with age. Head, shoulders and socle are associated. There are a series of restored joints at the neck. There are some losses to the restoration at the back of the neck. There is also a joint at the bun of hair. There are some areas of fictive porphyry plaster or resin fill to the top of the head. There are various minor chips and nicks to the black marble shoulders in particular at the edges. There is a reattached section of drapery near the proper left shoulder. The shoulders are attached to the socle with plaster. There is natural veining to the alabaster socle consistent with the material. There has been a slight knock to the front lower moulding of the socle.
"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."
As with the preceding Bust of a Faun, this elegant portrait of the Empress Faustina exemplifies the taste for combining expensive and rare coloured marbles which reached its zenith in Rome with the masterful busts and figures executed circa 1600 by the French-born sculptor Nicolas Cordier (1567-1612). The present bust is carved after the ancient portrait of Faustina the Younger which is believed to have been discovered at Hadrian's Villa in Rome, circa 1570, and was subsequently at the Villa d'Este, before being presented to the Musei Capitolini by Pope Benedict XIV in 1748 (inv. no. 449). Faustina the Younger was the daughter of the Emperor Antoninus Pius and Faustina the Elder, and the wife of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (whom she married in 145). The Capitoline bust was restored by Bartolomeo Cavaceppi in the late 1740s; it is interesting to consider whether the present bust could have been executed around this time, after the model had been brought to prominence.