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December 2000, No. 1173 – Vol 142

Sculpture

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Editorial

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'A great multiplicity of exhibitions is, I take it, a growth of our own day - a result of that democratisation of all tastes and fashions which marks our glorious period.' These words, as the orotund style and sanguine tone betray, are by Henry James, writing in 1877, but the comment on the growth of exhibitions could have been made at almost any time in the last 150 years. Every decade or so since the Second World War an Editorial in this Magazine has commented on this rising phenomenon, deploring the proliferation of exhibitions - but there is as yet no sign that the graph has reached its peak.

 

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  • The First Version of Michelangelo's Christ for S. Maria Sopra Minerva

    By Irene Baldriga

    On 14th June 1514 the Roman patrician Metello Vari commissioned from Michelangelo a 'figura di marmo d'un Cristo grande quanto el naturale, ignudo, ritto, cor una croce in braccio, in quell' attitudine cheparra al detto Michelagnolo'.' The sculpture was destined for a chapel in the Dominican church of S. Maria sopra Minerva in Rome, and the contract stipulated that it was to be delivered within a maximum period of four years ('entro il tempo massimo di 4 anni'). We know from at least two sources that during the time that Michelangelo was working in Rome on the block he had selected for the figure a black vein emerged in the marble on the face of Christ, obliging the sculptor to abandon the roughed-out figure which was left in its incomplete state in his Roman workshop when he returned to Florence in 1516. He then ordered a new block and the Christ that is still to be seen today in the church of the Minerva is the second version (Fig. 1), which Michelangelo carved from it in Florence in 1519-20. It reveals certain weaknesses of execution due partly to the clumsy intervention of his assistant Pietro Urbano, who was assigned the task of taking the sculpture to Rome and finishing it there in 1521, some final rectifying touches being added by Federico Frizzi.

     

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  • The Bassano 'Christ the Redeemer' in the Giustiniani Collection

    By Silvia Danesi Squarzina

    The isolation in open countryside of Vincenzo Giustiniani's church of S. Vincenzo Martire at Bassano Romano (Figs. 13 and 21) has meant that the marble Christ it houses (Fig. 14) has escaped the notice of scholars. Articles published in 1957 on buildings constructed by Vincenzo Giustiniani passed over the statue in silence, even though at that date it was prominently visible on the high altar,' before being transferred in 1979 to a small sacristy to the left of the choir, where I dis- covered it a few years ago. I was then able to relate the statue to an entry in the post-mortem inventory of the sculptures of marchese Vincenzo Giustiniani drawn up in 1638, and pub- lished it in this Magazine in 1998 as an early seventeenth- century derivation of Michelangelo's Minerva Christ.2 The observation made by Irene Baldriga of a black vein on the face of Christ has caused us to modify that opinion, and to suggest that the sculpture may be identifiable, for the reasons she outlines above, as the first version of the Minerva Christ, heavily reworked by a later hand.3 In the context of Baldriga's publication of that hypothesis, I should like to add here some further information about the sculpture in the Giustiniani collection, to trace its arrival at Bassano, and to make some observations about its iconography.

     

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  • Bouchardon's British Sitters: Sculptural Portraiture in Rome and the Classicising Bust around 1730

    By Malcolm Baker,Colin Harrison,Alastair Laing

    Edme Bouchardon's extended stay in Rome between 1723 and 1732 has rightly been seen as a period in which he established his reputation and formulated a style that was to make him a distinctive and influential figure in the history of eighteenth-century French sculpture.' Yet, although the commissions that Bouchardon received there have been known from brief references in correspondence, many of the works themselves have remained unidentified. Recent articles on the busts of Philipp von Stosch and Mme Vleughels (now in the Louvre) have demonstrated the significance of portraiture in Bouchardon's work at this period but, with the exception of the bust of Lord Hervey, the commissions from British visitors to Rome have until now appeared only as documentary references.2 Drawing on the combined efforts of various scholars in the field, this article adds several major portrait busts to this list and argues that British sitters formed a significant group of patrons for Bouchardon around 1730. Assembled together and associated with the small-scale relief portraits of the same sitters by the ivory carver Giovanni Pozzi and the gem engraver, Lorenz Natter, the male busts in particular may be seen as forming a highly innovative group of sculptural portraits in a classicising manner. As such, they appear distinct from those all'antica busts being executed by Monnot, Rysbrack and others and this particularity, when linked with the shared antiquarian interests of their sitters, prompts a re-examination of the classicising bust and its meanings.

     

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  • The Tombs of the Doges of Venice

    By Julian Gardner
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  • Hawksmoor's London Churches: Architecture and Theology

    By Kerry Downes
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  • Laurent Delvaux. Gand, 1696-Nivelles, 1778

    By Malcolm Baker
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  • Histoire de l'Architecture Francaise: De la Revolution a nos jours

    By Barry Bergdoll
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  • American Sculpture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Volume I. A Catalogue of Works by Artists Born before 1865

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  • The Sculpture of Jacques Lipchitz. A Catalogue Raisonne. Volume II: The American Years 1941-1973

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  • British Sculpture in the Lady Lever Art Gallery

    By Richard Shone
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  • Oscar Wilde Centenary Exhibitions. London

    By Robin Spencer
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  • Liam Gillick. Bristol

    By Tony Godfrey
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  • John Tunnard. Durham

    By John Haldane
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  • Paul Klee. Edinburgh

    By Richard Verdi
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  • Méditerranée. Paris

    By Richard Thomson
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  • Sébastien Bourdon. Montpellier and Strasbourg

    By Heinz Widauer
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  • Giuseppe Vermiglio. Campione d'Italia

    By Jacopo Stoppa
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  • The Bibiena. Bologna

    By Tommaso Manfredi
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  • Painting on Light. Los Angeles and Saint Louis

    By Christiane Andersson
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