Attributed to Giuseppe Piamontini

Bust of Adonis

Auction Closed

March 22, 07:15 PM GMT


40,000 - 60,000 EUR

Lot Details


Attributed to Giuseppe Piamontini

Florence 1663 - 1744

Bust of Adonis

marble, on a veined brown marble base

bust: 59cm., 23¼in.

base: 17cm., 6⅝in.

This lot has been imported under a temporary artistic importation license. Please refer to the specialist department for further information about export procedures and shipping costs.
S. Bellesi, Studi sulla pintura e sulla scultura del ‘600-‘700 a Firenze, Florence, 2013, fig. 4

This beautiful bust of a Young man, with a penetrating and determined gaze, stands out for the quality of the marble carving: almond eyes with prominent pupils, gazing into the distance; a sensual mouth with fleshy lips; softly waving hair, the thick locks framing his face, carefully modelled with a drill. He wears an ample cloak with deep folds, draped over a shoulder and secured on the chest with a diagonal belt. With no attributes, this Young man with his youthful features surely represents the young Cypriot hunter Adonis, renowned for his great beauty. Featured in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Adonis was loved by Aphrodite, and the couple are often portrayed as a pair.

The quality of the modelling and the finishing of the facial features are consistent with an attribution of this marble to Giuseppe Piamontini, a key figure in Florentine Baroque sculpture.

Trained in the workshop of his father, the joiner Andrea Piamontini, in Florence, Giuseppe became a pupil and protégé of Giovanni Battista Foggini (1652-1725), one of the leading Tuscan Baroque sculptors, active at the grand-ducal court in Florence.

After a period in Rome from 1681 to 1684, taking instruction from Ercole Ferrata and Ciro Ferri at the Medici Academy, Piamontini returned to Florence, where he adapted a new figurative language blending the classical heritage with innovative forms. His activity expanded as he received commissions from the ducal court, religious orders and the local elite.

His virtuosity and his skill in producing works from different materials (metal, marble, stucco and terracotta) gradually allowed Piamontini to establish himself on a par with his master Foggini and his contemporary Massimiliano Soldani Benzi (1656­-1740). His use of the chisel, the quality of his casting and his refined compositions also enabled Piamontini to compete with his peers from the same school, such as Giovacchino Fortini and Antonio Montauti.

In his works, Piamontini skilfully combines the classical language of Roman sculpture post-Algardi with the new currents of Late Tuscan Baroque, influenced by his master Giovanni Battista Foggini. His marble busts, mostly portraits or mythological subjects, destined for the prestigious residences of Florentine aristocrats, are distinguished by the volume and lightness of the draperies, the marked modelling of the hair and the harmonious facial features. These characteristics can be found in two female busts by Piamontini in the Palazzo Pitti (cf.S. Bellesi, op. cit. pp. 21-23, figs. 9, 10 and 11), with elaborate hairstyles and voluminous drapery, entirely comparable to the present marble.


Gli Ultimi Medici, Il tardo barrocco a Firenze, 1670-1743, exh. cat. Palazzo Pitti, Florence, 1974; J. Montagu, ‘Some small sculptures by Giuseppe Piamontini’, in Antichità Viva, XIII, 1974, 3; G. Pratesi, Repertorio della scultura Fiorentina del Seicento e Settecento, Turin, 1993, figs. 444 and 445; S. Bellesi and M. Visona, Giovacchino Fortini. Scultura, Architettura, Decorazione e Committenza a Firenze al tempo degli ultimi Medici, II, Florence, 2008, pp. 141-143, nos. 62-63; S. Bellesi, I marmi di Giuseppe Piamontini, Florence, 2008, pp. 21-23, figs. 9, 10 and 11; R. Spinelli, Il fasto e la ragione. Arte del Settecento a Firenze, exh. cat. Uffizi, Florence, 2009, p. 66-67, cat. no 2

The present lot is the subject of an expertise by Sandro Bellesi.

This lot has been imported under a temporary artistic importation license. Please refer to the specialist department for further information about export procedures and shipping costs.