The new catalogue of Italian sculpture in the Wallace Collection by Jeremy Warren, author of the award-winning catalogue of Medieval and Renaissance Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, puts on the map a part of the Wallace Collection which has hitherto been relatively little-known. The 159 entries cover works in bronze, marble, terracotta and wood dating from c. 1400 to 1900, and by or associated with some of the most famous names in Italian sculpture, such as Donatello, Pietro Torrigiani, Giovanni Bologna (Giambologna) and Alessandro Algardi. Each entry is packed with information, with a comprehensive description and bibliography followed by a commentary exploring attribution, dating, function and social and historical context.
An introductory essay explores the origins of the Italian sculpture collection in the Wallace Collection, whilst in her technical essay Seoyoung Kim examines some of the results of the programme of alloy analysis of the scultures in bronze and other metals. The painstaking conservation of Pietro Torrigiani's moving head of Christ, once in Westminster Abbey, is described by Alexandra Kosinova. New photography by Cassandra Parsons allows full appreciation of the many outstandingly beautiful pieces in the collection. The research carried out for this groundbreaking new catalogue led to numerous important discoveries, which reconnect many of the sculptures with their origins in Renaissance and Baroque Italy. New archival discoveries in Padua illuminate the life and work of the hitherto mysterious Francesco da Sant'Agata, maker of the Wallace Collection's celebrated boxwood statuette of Hercules. An astonishingly vivid small bronze portrait head, in store for decades, is here published as a portrait of Dather Antonio Trombetta, the most famous abbot in the long history of the Paduan Basilica of Saint Anthony, by the greatest early Renaissance sculptor of the small bronze, Andrea Riccio. An exquisite but mysterious small cannon turned out to be designed by a 16th century Paduan nobleman, whose chapel and grave in the Basilica are here re-identified. There have too been many discoveries in the later history of the works. A stunning large bronze group of Nessus and Deianira by Giambologna is now known to have once belonged to Sir Joshua Reynolds, whilst a satyr's head in red marble, restored in Rome c. 1630, once belonged to none other than Cardinal Richelieu. The new Wallace Collection catalogue of Italian sculpture will become an indispensable reference work, which will also be read with pleasure by specialists and anybody with a love of this wonderful and varied art form.
"Beautifully design and produced with spectacular photographs ... meticulous scholarship."
The Art Newspaper