Massimiliano Soldani

Venus Plucking the Wings of Cupid

modelled and cast c. 1715-1720
Famous as a maker of medals, Soldani was appointed master of the grand-ducal mint under Cosimo III de' Medici. Florence had a long tradition of bronze sculpture, and while there, the artist also made small figural groups such as this one, in which Venus chastises her son Cupid. Following Soldani's death, the mould for this group and its pendant of Cupid and Psyche were sold to the Ginori factory at Doccia, where they were produced in porcelain.

by 1729 –
Marchese Francesco de' Borboni del Monte (?) [1]

Private collection, France [2]

Private collection, France [3]

by 1972/06 – 1972/11/16
Heim Gallery Ltd. (François Heim and Andrew Ciechanowieki), London, UK [4]

1972/11/16 –
National Gallery of Canada, purchased from the Heim Gallery [5]

[1] Marchese Francesco de'Borboni del Monte lent a bronze by Soldani Benzi, titled Venus Plucking the Wings of Cupid to an exhibition in Florence in 1729 [“Un grupo di Bronzo, in cui si rappresenta Venere, che spenna L'Amore dell'Illustris(simo) Sig. Massimiliano Soldani Benzi” “Nota de' quadrice opere di scultura eposti per la festa di S. Luca dagli Accademici del Disegno nella loro cappella…del convento…della SS. Nonziata de Firenze l'anno 1729, p.8,10, cited after Montagu, Jennifer. “Massimilinao Soldani's Venus Plucking the Wings of Cupid.” NGC, Bulletin 24 (1974), p. 22–34]. There is no proof however, that the exhibited piece is the same as the NGC's since there could have been several casts from the same mould. Another version of the bronze, with differences in the chariot-wheel and base, is known to have been in the Bucquet-Bournet de Verron Collection in Paris by 1911. Its present location is unknown [Migeon, Gaston. “La collection Bucquet-Bournet de Verron.” Les arts, Paris Sept. 1911, no.117, vol X, p.7–13 and Montagu, J., footnote 7]. There is also a version of the group in porcelain belonging to Leonardo Lappicirella in Florence, Italy.

[2] In a letter to NGC research curator Myron Laskin Jr., Andrew Ciechanowieki notes about the bronze's provenance: “It has to my knowledge passed twice from one small French collection to another.”[letter, dated Oct.2, 1972, NGC curatorial file].

[3] See note [2].

[4] Negotiations about the purchase of the piece between the NGC and the Heim Gallery started in June 1972. The bronze was officially accessioned on November 16, 1972.

[5] See note [4]. Accession log [NGC curatorial file].

Venus Plucking the Wings of Cupid
modelled and cast c. 1715-1720
patinated bronze
41 x 29.5 x 22.1 cm
Credit line
Purchased 1972
Accession number