Carlo Marcellini (Florence 1644 – 1713)
White and green marble
This marble putto carved in high relief, almost a tutto tondo, and set on an elegant green marble background, appears almost naked, sitting on a cloud. His peculiar pose, in adoration, suggests that the work was a part of a larger composition including other figures in devotion.
Published in 2007 by Sandro Bellesi in the monograph dedicated to Gioacchino Fortini (pg.155), this beautiful marble putto was included in the catalog of Carlo Marcellini, a prominent figure in the baroque renewal of Florentine art.
Born in Florence in 1644, Carlo Marcellini received his artistic education in the city of the lily, specializing in stone sculpture and stucco modeling under the guidance of Bartolomeo Cennini before continuing his studies in Rome in the Accademia Medicea founded by the Grand Duke Cosimo III in order to familiarize some more promising artists with the essential “ taste of Rome ”.
Under the guidance of Ercole Ferrata and Ciro Ferri, Giovan Battista Foggini and Carlo Marcellini were able to study in the Urbe the masterpieces of the past, the major works of the Cinquecento as well as the latest artistic novelties in vogue in the eternal city.
As he came back to Florence in 1676, thanks to his fine artistic skills, he was asked to work for the most important Florentine families as well as to adorn the main religious buildings of the Tuscan capital.
He embarked upon a prolific career, often flanked by his fellow student, Foggini and obtained some prestigious commissions for the Grand Dukes of Tuscany and important aristocratic families, including the Corsini.
He died in Florence in 1713 after a long career of important public and private commissions.
The attribution to Carlo Marcellini's catalog of this putto is based on the comparison with a series of marble and bronze reliefs for the Church of Santa Maria De ’Pazzi in Florence.
Carved between 1678 and 1685 under the direction of Cirro Ferri, these marble reliefs, framed in yellow Serravezza marble, shows angels supporting medallions with episodes dedicated to the life of Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi.
Particularly close stylistically to our sculpture, the putto with the two angels supporting the medallion with Santa Maria dei Pazzi predicting the pontificate and the death of Cardinal Alessandro De 'Medici (see the “Repertorio della scultura fiorentina del Seicento e Settecento, a cura di G. Pratesi, Torino 1993, fig. 318).
This putto figure obliquely, with the face in short cut and shows obvious analogies with our putto not only for its pose but also for the particular morphology of its features, for the soft and almost tactile rendering of the skin and for the textile and vibrant effect of the drapery and the cloud, which play entirely on harmonious contrasts of light and shade.
The expertly carved work shows an "obvious Roman imprint" according to Bellesi who dates our putto between 1670 and 1680, in the years following the artist's repatriation to Florence after his training in the eternal city.
However, this sculpture result from such refined synergy between the seventeenth century Roman Baroque and fleeting reflections on Genoese artistic trends, successfully diffused by Filippo Parodi.
- L. Arachi, P.Gentilini, La grotta di Palazzo Corsini a Firenze, dans Commentari d’arte, VI 2000, 15-17
- S . Bellesi, - M. Visonà, Giovacchino Fortini. Scultura, architettura, Decorazione e Committenza privata a Firenze al tempo degli ultimi Medici, Firenze, 2007, pg.155
- G. Pratesi, Repertorio della scultura fiorentina del Seicento e Settecento, II, Torino, 1993, fig. 318
- M. Visonà, Carlo Marcellini. Accademico “spiantato” nella cultura fiorentina tardo-barocca, Firenze 1990.
- M.Visonà, L’Accademia di Cosimo III, Roms 1673-1686, dans Storia delle Arti in Toscana. II, Elle, a cura di M.Gregori Pise 2001