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PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE CALIFORNIA COLLECTION

Mechiorre Cafà (Malta 1638-1667 Rome)
Italian, 1665-1671
SAINT ROSE OF LIMA
Estimation
30 00050 000
Lot. Vendu 93,750 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT
229

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE CALIFORNIA COLLECTION

Mechiorre Cafà (Malta 1638-1667 Rome)
Italian, 1665-1671
SAINT ROSE OF LIMA
Estimation
30 00050 000
Lot. Vendu 93,750 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Master Paintings & Sculpture Day Sale

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Mechiorre Cafà (Malta 1638-1667 Rome)
Italian, 1665-1671
SAINT ROSE OF LIMA
silver and gilt bronze
length 10  3/4  in.; 27.31 cm., with modern ebonized wood base
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Provenance

Heim Gallery, London;
The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, New York;
His sale, Sotheby's New York, 29 January 2010, lot 458

Exposition

London, Heim Gallery, Italian Painting and Sculpture of the 17th and 18th Centuries,  1976, no. 29

Bibliographie

Vincenzo Golzio, 'Lo Studio di Ercole Ferrata,' in Archivi, II, 1935, p. 70;
Rudolf Preimesberger, 'Ein Bozzetto Melchiorre Caffa,'  in Wiener Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte, XXII, 1969, pp. 178-83;
Heim Gallery: Italian Painting and Sculpture of the 17th and 18th Centuries, exhibition catalogue, London, 1976, no. 29;
Jennifer Montagu, 'The Graphic Work of Melchior Cafa,' in Paragone Arte, XXXV, no. 413, 1984, p. 56;
E. B. Di Gioia, 'Un bozzetto della Santa Rosa da Lima di Melchiorre Caffà nel Museo di Palazzo Venezia,' in Bollettino Musei Comunali di Roma, n.s., I, 1987, pp. 39-53;
Bruce Boucher (ed.), Earth and Fire: Italian Terracotta Sculpture from Donatello to Canova, New Haven, 2001, pp. 212-213, no. 52, (illus.);
Keith Sciberras (ed.), Melchiorre Cafà: Maltese genius of the Roman baroque, Malta, 2006, p. 90, fig. 129; p. 262

Description

Melchiorre Cafà's monumental marble Saint Rose of Lima was displayed in the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome in 1668 before being sent to Lima, Peru. The present bronze is one of four known casts of this variant model.  With its finely finished surface and silvered flesh, it was clearly made as a luxurious object for one of Cafà's wealthy patrons, such as the Chigi or Pamphilj families.  The probable date of this work, in the second half of the 1660s, coincides with the beatification and canonization of the subject, who was the first Saint of the new world and would become the Patron Saint of South America. 

A terracotta modello for the marble is now in the Museo Nazionale del Palazzo di Venezia, Rome (Boucher, op.cit., no. 51) and shows the saint in an ecstatic swoon. However, the bronze versions show her in eternal sleep, attended by an angel who lifts the drapery revealing her peaceful face. It is known that Cafà excelled as a modeller and often produced additional studies for his commissions (Ibid., p. 212). In fact, Preimesberger observed that these four bronze casts represent an alternative model for the sculpture. Montagu published a drawing in Frankfurt (Ibid., p. 212, fig. 139) which appears to be based on a lost terracotta model for this bronze.

The marble statue as well as the other versions of Cafà's St. Rose was hailed in Rome and markedly influenced a number of artists, including Bernini who subsequently depicted the Blessed Ludovica Albertoni in a very similar manner.

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