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"Venus Plucking the
Wings of Cupid"
by Jennifer Montagu
| 3 | 4
This article was
written before the exhibition The Twilight of the Medici held
in Detroit and Florence, 1974, where the NGC bronze was exhibited
(cat. no. 72, repr.) with cat. entry by J. Montagu.
1 NGC acq. no.17107, acquired 1972 (41.0 x 29.5 x 22.2 cm) (16-1/8
x 11-5/8 x 8-3/4 in.); chocolate-brown patina. The bronze was
purchased from the Heim Gallery, London, with an unspecified
French provenance; it was acquired on a Boulle-style base, which was
judged a nineteenth-century addition, and which has since been
2 The biographical information on Soldani comes from Klaus
Lankheit's fundamental book, Florentinische Barock-plastik (Munich,
1962). The Florentine year began on the Feast of the Incarnation, on
3 Archivio Ginori Lisci, Filza 37, no.22 bis.
4 Exhibited Florentine Baroque Bronzes and Other Objects of Art (Toronto:
ROM, 1975) no cat. no., repr. p. 59; cat. entry by Charles Avery p.
58. Gift of Ian Ross to the Ontario Heritage Foundation, on loan to
the ROM. The terracotta is considerably restored.
5 Collection Ian Ross; exhibited at the Heim Gallery (London) Ltd.,
summer 1966, Italian Paintings and Sculptures of the Seventeenth
and Eighteenth Centuries, no.67. Like the Venus Plucking
Cupid's Wings, it was included in the exhibition The
Twilight of the Medici in Detroit and Florence, 1974, no. 68,
6 Nota de' quadri e opere di scultura eposti per la festa
di S. Luca dagli Accademici del Disegno ne lla loro cappella...del
convento...della SS. Nonziata de Firenze l'anno 1729,
1729, pp. 8, 10.
7 G. Migeon, "La collection Bucquet-Bournet de Verron,"
(September 191 I ), pp. 7-22; it was there described as a
work of the French eighteenth century. Mo Bertrand Jestaz has
kindly informed us that, while the collection was sold at the Hôtel
Drouot (room 3, 12 March 1918), this piece was not included, and no
trace of it has been found since.
8 Pompeo Litta, Famiglie celebri italiane
provides no help in identifying this Marchese Franceso; or
establishing his relationship to Cerboneo
9 There is a bronze group by Giovanni Battista Foggini
representing Time Ravishing Beauty, in which weeping Cupid's bow
lies broken on the ground, which is another way of expressing the
10 In Francesco Albani's well-known painting of the Triumph
in the Villa Borghese (Paola della Pergola, Galleria Borghese: I dipinti
[Rome, 1955], no. 4), the nymphs of Diana,
goddess of chastity, content themselves with stealing or breaking
the weapons of the sleeping Amoretti.
11 The literary source is of course the "Triumph of
Chastity" in Petrarch's Trionfi.
12 Lucius Apuleius, The Golden Ass, translated by W.
Adlington (1566), revised by S. Gaselee, Loeb edition (London and
New York, 1919), v. 30, pp. 245-247.
13 Ibid., VI. 24, p. 285.
14 My attribution is based on style, though we know from
both the inventory of models at the Ginori factory (see note 3) and
the catalogue of the 1724 exhibition at the SS. Annunziata, that
Foggini made a bronze group of "Amore e Psiche."
15 This contrast of emotional states is typical of Soldani,
and occurs also in a splendid pair of bronzes in a private
collection representing Leda caressing the swan, and Andromeda
drawing back in terror from the monster. These were included in the
exhibition The Twilight of the Medici, 1974, cat. nos 71 and 70,
16 The revival of interest in Florentine Baroque bronzes is a very
recent phenomenon; many Florentine bronzes, by Soldani, Foggini or
Piamontini, passed as French eighteenth-century works, and even
today some are still so labelled.
17 H. R. Weihrauch, Bayerisches Nationalmuseum München, Kataloge
Band XIII: Die Bildewerke in Bronze und in anderen Metallen....(Munich, 1956), nos 211-214.
18 Ursula Schlegel, " Amor und Psyche von Massimiliano Soldani
und ein Terracotta-Modell der Büste des Aurelius aus seiner
Werkstatt," Berliner Museen, N. F. xv (1965), pp. 14-20.
19 Compare the reverse of the medal of Manoel de Vilhena of 1729,
"INSIGNIS GLORIA FACTI." Giuseppe Fortini, in his bronze
group of the Education of the Virgin of 1723, places Saint Anne's
chair on the ground, with some strange straggling plants around it
(Cologne: Kunstgewerbemuseum; illustrated in K. Lankheit, op.
cit., fig. 134).
20 Printed in K. Lankheit, op. cit., Doc. 351, p. 284.
21 Archivio Ginori Lisci, Filza 37, no. 22 bis, p. 20, (third room,
nos 6 and 12). Two sets of moulds for each are included in the
inventory of moulds, filza 37, no.22.
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