Description & Technical information
Facture: Cast by the lost wax method, the metal is very coppery and the surface of the bronze retains a warm chocolate brown natural patina. There is an old lead repair to the top of the left wing of the eagle.
The statuette is a copy of an ancient Roman sculpture in marble, which was in a fragmentary state whilst in the Farnese collection in Rome.1 In the 1780s this and other ancient Roman statuary from the Farnese collection was transferred from Rome to Naples. Carlo Albacini 2 (1735-1813) undertook the restoration of many of these sculptures for the King of Naples between 1786 and 1800.
For the present model of Ganymede, Albacini provided the head and part of the neck; his right arm; his left hand and part of the crook; the lower part of both legs; and the head and left wing of the eagle.3 The earliest known bronze by Chiurazzi which is signed and dated Chiurazzi presso Masulli 1749 reproduces another ancient statue from the Farnese collection, the Farnese Bull, a massive marble group that was shipped to Naples in 1788.4 The Farnese Bull and the present model of Ganymede were both still being reproduced by the Chiurazzi foundry in 1929.5
1. P.P. Bober & R.O. Rubinstein, Renaissance Artists and Antique Sculpture, Oxford, 1986, p. 473.
2. Allgemeines Lexicon. Die bildenden Künstler aller Zeiten und Völker, vol. 2, K.G. Saur 1992, pp. 14-15.
3. A. Ruesch (ed.), Guida illustrata del Museo Nazionale di Napoli, Naples 1908, p. 90, no. 278, inv. 6355 & S. Reinach, Répertoire de la statuaire grecque et romaine ...I, Paris 1897, p. 191, pl. 408, no. 698. From the same collection, Albacini created a similar statue of Ganymede and the eagle accompanied by a seated dog (Ruesch 1908, p. 70, no. 240 & Reinach 1897, p. 192, pl. 410, no. 699).
4. The bronze, 18 ½ in./47 cm. high, was sold at Sotheby's London, 7 July 1988 as lot 111. For the Farnese Bull, see F. Haskell & N. Penny, Taste and the Antique, Yale U.P. 1981, p. 165, no. 15.
5. S. Chiurazzi Catalogo Chiurazzi S/A, fonderie, ceramica marmeria, Napoli 1929, the Ganymede no. 173 & Farnese Bull no. 160.
Date: Late 18th century
Period: 1750-1850, 18th century
Dimensions: 31.5 x 15 x 12 cm (12³/₈ x 5⁷/₈ x 4³/₄ inches)
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