South German or Bohemian, circa 1700
Assumption of the Virgin
South German or Bohemian
Assumption of the Virgin
height 12 ⅝ in.; 32 cm.
Overall there are some firing cracks, losses and chipping and some restoration including on edges of drapery on her right side and on edges of some of the clouds on both sides. Her proper left foot has been repaired as has one angel’s wings and lower left arm. The piece was broken and repaired along the base (and with some fill in the proper left back corner area). Tiny repair to nose. Chipping and small losses including: throughout edges of clouds and some of drapery, tips of some wings and hand of putto and back corner of base.
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.
"[M]odelling in clay is to the sculptor what drawing on paper is to the painter...[In] the soft material, and on paper, the genius of the artist is seen in its utmost purity and truth..."1-Johann Joachim Winckelmann, The History of Ancient Art, 1764
Small terracotta sketches or bozzetti have become increasingly popular with collectors as the in-depth study of sculpture has expanded through the decades. Evidence of rapidly moving hands and the presence of tool marks and fingerprints provide the viewer with a connection to the artist’s working methods and thought process. Furthermore, the tactile quality of the material, whether the piece is a preparatory model or a finished sculpture, compels close examination and great appreciation.
The composition of the present dynamic terracotta sketch recalls the elaborate Rococo decoration in Northern Europe, particularly in Southern Germany in the 18th century. Churches were filled with wood and stucco carvings of saints and angels miraculously floating above the heads of the congregation. Larger elements, such as images of the Madonna, had to be carefully worked out with the use of preliminary sketches by the sculptor so that the figures appeared to rise effortlessly within the church architecture.
The mass of clouds and the Virgin's animated body suggest that this sculpture was a sketch for a monumental composition for a Rococo church, placed at considerable height where she could be adored but not accessible.
1 Johann Joachim Winckelmann, The History of Ancient Art, 1764, trans. G. Henry Lodge, Boston 1880, vo. I, p. 144