Antique pair of Italian Grand Tour bronzes of Narcissus and the Venus Calipigia.

A good pair of antique Grand Tour bronzes, probably cast in Naples, Italy. Both figures are well known, the first is Narcissus and the second The Venus Calipigia. Both very well cast and with excellent patination. The Grand Tour bronze of Narcissus, with good colour and original patination. Set upon a circular base with mouldings. The original of the Narcissus was discovered in 1862 in a nondescript house in Pompeii, being the last antique statue found in Italy to enjoy considerable fame. In a book sponsored by Chiurazzi & Fils, the secretary of the Naples Museum, Luigi Conforti, described the figure as the most beautiful bronze ever to have been discovered at Pompeii. The second bronze is of Kallipygos or Aphrodite Kallipygos (Greek: Ἀφροδίτη Καλλίπυγος), also known as the Callipygian Venus, literally meaning “Venus (or Aphrodite) of the beautiful buttocks”, is an Ancient Roman marble statue, thought to be a copy of an older Greek original. In an example of anasyrma, it depicts a partially draped woman, raising her light peplos to uncover her hips and buttocks, and looking back and down over her shoulder, perhaps to evaluate them. The subject is conventionally identified as Venus (Aphrodite), though it may equally be a portrait of a mortal woman. The statue dates to the late 1st century BC. The lost original on which it is based is thought to have been bronze, and to have been executed around 300 BC, towards the beginning of the Hellenistic era. Its provenance is unknown, but it was rediscovered, missing its head, in the early modern era. The head was restored, first in the 16th century and again in the 18th century (in which case the sculptor followed the earlier restoration fairly closely); the restored head was made to look over the shoulder, drawing further attention to the statue’s bare buttocks and thereby contributing to its popularity. In the 17th and 18th centuries the statue was identified as Venus and associated with a temple to Aphrodite Kallipygos at Syracuse, discussed by Athenaeus in his Deipnosophists. The statue was copied a number of times, including by Jean-Jacques Clérion and François Barois.

Stock Number: 4686

Price: £2,300

Availability: In Stock

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