Leda and the Swan
Leda and the Swan
signed and dated: E:le Caroni / Firenze / a:no 1875
white marble, on a mottled white marble base
group: 86 by 75cm., 34 by 29 1/2 in.
base: 86 by 69 by 52cm., 34 by 27 1/4 by 20 1/2 in.
The marble is overall in excellent condition, with the body of the girl worked with a very fine chisel and polish that remains in a near original state of preservation. There is some natural veining in the marble, notably on her right foot. There are minor scratches to the girl's neck and left elbow. There are a few paint residues, including on her left arm, right foot and in the swan's feathers. The underside of the bird's feathers on his right side have remains of historic nicotine-type discolouration. The girl's right little toe has been reattached, but is original. There is overall surface dirt, notably in her lap.
The pedestal has numerous historic chips, especially around the bottom edge and some abrasions, which cut into the surface on one side, and some more extensive surface dirt.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.
Caroni worked between Milan and Florence, first as the student of Vincenzo Vela and subsequently of Lorenzo Bartolini, respectively. After his political involvement in the 1848 struggle against the Austrians, known as the Cinque Giorante de Milano, Caroni settled permanently in Florence. His exceptional technical skill was internationally recognised and Caroni exhibited to acclaim in France and the USA. Caroni seems to have been particularly popular with British collectors. An outstanding marble nude entitled the Albanian Slave, from the collection of Dr Theodore Thompson, sold at Christie’s London as lot 100 on 10 September 2013 for £193,875. Caroni’s group of The Triumph of Love over Force, a marble of exquisite quality, was owned by the Firmstone family of Wordsley Manor, West Midlands. Another version of his Leda and the Swan is today in the Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery.
In exceptionally good condition, the present group epitomizes Caroni’s superb skill in representing complex textures in marble, here contrasting the abundant feathers of the swan with Leda’s delicate skin. His choice of subject seems to be motivated more by the opportunity to demonstrate his virtuosic skill as a carver as by the telling of the mythological tale. His interest in combining the subject of a child and animals is repeated in his Triumph of Love over Force which depicts Cupid seated on a large, submissive lion.