National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts du Canada

Bulletin 24, 1974

Annual Index
Author & Subject

Massimiliano Soldani's
"Venus Plucking the Wings of Cupid"

by Jennifer Montagu

Pages  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  


Editorial note: 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 removed.

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 25 March.

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, repr.

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, Florence, 1729, pp. 8, 10.

7 G. Migeon, "La collection Bucquet-Bournet de Verron," Les arts (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 (Milan, 1819-), 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 same idea.

10 In Francesco Albani's well-known painting of the Triumph of Diana 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, repr.

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.

Top of this page

Home | Français | Introduction | History
Annual Index | Author & Subject | Credits | Contact

This digital collection was produced under contract to Canada's Digital Collections program, Industry Canada.

"Digital Collections Program, Copyright © National Gallery of Canada 2001"