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Attributed to Benedetto Buglioni (1459-1521), Florence, first quarter of the 16th century

Thurifer Angel | Ange thuriféraire

Collection Antony Embden | Trésors de la Renaissance

Attributed to Benedetto Buglioni (1459-1521), Florence, first quarter of the 16th century

Attributed to Benedetto Buglioni (1459-1521), Florence, first quarter of the 16th century

Thurifer Angel | Ange thuriféraire

Thurifer Angel | Ange thuriféraire

Attributed to Benedetto Buglioni (1459-1521)

Florence, first quarter of the 16th century

Thurifer Angel


glazed terracotta

56 by 42 cm; 22 by 16 1⁄2 in.

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Attribué à Benedetto Buglioni (1459-1521)

Florence, premier quart du XVIe siècle

Ange thuriféraire


terre cuite émaillée

56 x 42 cm ; 22 x 16 1⁄2 in.

The Angel with several firing cracks, consistent with the technique, in particular:

  • Between the Angle’s wings
  • On a his lower center of his torso and to his proper left elbow
  • In the folds of his blue drapery


A circa 7 cm square loss to the terrace, below his proper right foot.

A few minor losses to the glazed terracotta in several places, in particular to the vase in his hands, to the edges of the wings, as well as to the lower edges.


Several hairline fissures to the glaze, consistent with age and the material. 


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.

Related Literature / Références bibliographiques

I Della Robbia e L'arte nuova' della scultura invetriata, exh. cat., Basilica di Sant'Alessandro, Fiesole, 29 May – 1 November 1998; 

M. Bormand, J.R. Gaborit, Les Della Robbia. Sculptures en terre cuite émaillée de la Renaissance italienne, Paris, 2002, pp. 64-68.

Benedetto Buglioni was a pupil of Andrea Verrocchio and became the director of the only rival workshop that produced glazed terracotta works of art in Florence in the 16th century. In this charming figure of a candle-bearing angel, the modelling of the face, the wings and the expression show a clear debt to della Robbia's style but the unglazed portions (the head, hands and feet) and some of specific colors seen here are comparable to other kneeling angels ascribed to Buglioni by Giancarlo Gentilini (I Della Robbia, exhibition catalogue, Fiesole 29 May – 1 November 1998), particularly a pair of kneeling angels from the Spinelli collection, Florence, illustrated by Gentilini (p. 353) in the Fiesole exhibition catalogue.


Another example of this type of angel, a single candelabrum-bearing angel in Cavriglia (op. cit., fig. 14) by Benedetto Buglioni, dated to circa 1480-90, shares some stylistic similarities with the present angels: the general composition of the gown with intersecting bands on the chest, the softly worked feathers of the wings and more distinctively, the oval-shaped faces with almond-shaped eyes and heavy eyelids. A pair of nearly identical white glazed kneeling angels with very similar heads and costumes were sold at Christie’s London 9 December 2010, lot 281, there attributed to Buglioni. Another single angel of the same size, also attributed to Buglioni, with very similar colors, drapery design and facial type is in the Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche in Faenza (inv. no. 828).