19th & 20th Century Sculpture

19th & 20th Century Sculpture

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 55. Susanna surprised at her bath.

Giovanni Battista Lombardi

Susanna surprised at her bath

Lot Closed

July 14, 10:55 AM GMT


40,000 - 60,000 GBP

Lot Details


Giovanni Battista Lombardi


1823 - 1880

Susanna surprised at her bath

signed and dated: GB. Lombardi / Roma 1873.

white marble

94cm., 37in.

Giovanni Battista Lombardi is representative of the Italian school of Romantic realism which developed after 1850. Following his studies in his hometown of Rezzato and in Milan, Lombardi moved to Rome around 1850. Here he studied at the Accademia under Pietro Tenerani, one of Thorvaldsen's leading followers, and later worked in his studio. Lombardi soon established a productive studio of his own, which he shared with his younger brother, Giovita. Giovanni Battista was the more inventive of the pair, producing fine busts, funerary and commemorative sculpture, as well as large subject pieces, both religious and profane. Distinguished by his fine ability in handling large marble compositions, Lombardi became known for his female biblical subjects, in which he subtly blends classicism with naturalism, and reserve with allure. 

Moody and intense, this impressive marble is an exemplar of the sculptor's favoured subject matter. The story of Susanna was full of potent meaning in the politically volatile context of Italy, with its theme of innocent virtue triumphing over villainy. Susanna, the wife of a prosperous merchant in Babylon, was desired by two scheming elders. Hiding in wait as Susanna was bathing, they surprised her and threatened her with accusations of adultery if she did not submit to them. She refused and was saved from death only by the involvement of Daniel, who exposed the lies of the depraved elders.