Inspired by classical sculptures of sacrificial bulls, Giambologna's Pacing Bull
was probably conceived as a pendant to the sculptor's Pacing Horse
. According to Dimitrios Zikos, it is likely that the model is the same as the bronze Bull recorded on 14th March 1588 as being in the Galleria del Casino di San Marco (Paolozzi Strozzi and Zikos, op. cit.
p. 242, no. 45). The attribution to Giambologna is confirmed through comparison with the Bull in his Lion attacking a Bull
and by the explicit mention in the 1609 posthumous inventory of the collector Benedetto Gondi to 'a wax bull by the hand of the said (Giambologna)' (Avery, op. cit.
The present bull, with its attractive warm patina and finely chased details in the hair and the tail, is an example of one of two known versions of Giambologna's bull, the other version being of heavier build. The slighter model of the bull is often seen as a reworking by Antonio Susini (Avery, op. cit.
, cat nos. 143-144). The present cast compares particularly well to a Bull sold in these rooms on 9 December 1987, lot 88, catalogued as by Antonio Susini. Due to the excellent detailing of the present lot, including the 'feathering' of hair around the edges of the ears and pupils of the eyes, and the well combed and divided tuft of hair on the tip the bull's tail, Charles Avery has attributed the present cast to Antonio Susini, or perhaps an early rendering by his nephew, Gianfrancesco.
This lot is the subject of a scholarly report by Dr Charles Avery dated 17 January 2017. The report is available upon request.
C. Avery, Giambologna: The Complete Sculpture, London, 1993, pp. 56-9; A. Radcliffe and C. Avery (eds.), Giambologna 1529-1608: Sculptor to the Medici, exh. cat. Arts Council of Great Britain, London and Edinburgh, 1978, p. 192, no. 177; B. Paolozzi Strozzi and D. Zikos (eds.), Giambologna gli dei, gli eroi, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence, 2006, p. 242, no. 45