This fascinating bronze may originate from the circle of Donatello, with whom several bronze putti engaging with reptiles and surmounting tortoises are associated, including an example formerly with Daniel Katz (Padua, op. cit., cat. no. 1) and another, equally a solid cast, from the Abbott Guggenheim collection (Schwartz, op. cit., cat. no. 1). Note here the similarly hollowed pupils, which may once have been silvered, as in a 15th-century North Italian putto in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (inv. no. M.1-1967).
Donatello e il suo tempo: Il bronzetto a Padova nel Quattrocento e nel Cinquecento, exh. cat. Musei Civici, Padua, 2001, pp. 48-49, no. 1; M. Schwartz (ed.), European Sculpture from the Abbott Guggenheim Collection, New York, 2008, pp. 22-23, no. 1