This splendid Christ was made in Tuscany, Italy, at the beginning of the 17th century. The bronze work gives the Christ an idealized physical appearance, particularly due to the great precision and profusion of details. Particular attention is paid to the chiselling of the hair, beard and facial features, which are of great plastic sensitivity. Despite the protruding ribs of Christ, the twisting of the exhausted body and the tension of his dying muscles, a real serenity emerges from this work. Stripped of all divine character, to be only a man, Christ is dressed only in the traditional perizonum, with a strongly folded drape, leaving one hip uncovered.
This piece can be compared to the corpus of the plastic artist Giambologna (1529-1608). Born Jehan de Boulongne (in Flemish) or Jean de Bologne or Boulogne (in French) in Douai in 1529, he completed his apprenticeship with the sculptor Jacques du Brouecq (1505v.-84) in Flanders. Around 1555, he leaves for Italy, where he is then called Giovanni Bologna (later contracted in Giambolonia). A complete artist, at the same time creator of sculptural and iconographic models, he produced a large corpus of "Corpora Christi". The great success of his works is due in particular to his school. Indeed, it is most likely that Giambologna was at the origin of the initial models, drawn and then sometimes created in large format, and then executed by his students, or successors, in small formats intended to be offered as diplomatic gifts for example (notably by the Medici). This delegation of the production to his workshop allowed the diffusion of his models, made in greater numbers, especially at the end of the 16th and the first decade of the 17th century. Some members of this workshop stood out and became well known. This is notably the case of Antonio Susini, who worked there from 1570 and to whom a large number of casts are attributed.
As previously mentioned, Giambologna not only created emblematic plastic figures, he also designed subjects. He begins his production with the model of a "Cristo Morto", presenting the dead Christ, with his head bowed in affliction, in reference to the biblical passage "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:34) The Bible passage "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:34) This was the representation favored in the late Middle Ages, whereas previous centuries, from the earliest representations of Jesus on the cross in the sixth century, had favored a Christ who was still conscious, painless, with his eyes open but looking up at the viewer and rarely turned toward heaven. The break with this tradition took place on the occasion of a drawing by Michelangelo, around 1540, for Vittoria Colonna, preserved in the British Museum, London. In it, Jesus Christ is presented worried, imploring heaven, but alive and with his face turned towards heaven.
It is in the continuity of this new model that Giambologna created his "Cristo vivo" around 1590, abandoning the pathetic aspect in order to give it a new greatness, that of acceptance, as it is transcribed in the Gospel according to Saint Luke (23:46): "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit! ». The Son of God is then represented free from all suffering, offering himself to the will of his divine Father, to whom his gaze is turned, and appeased by the knowledge of his resurrection.
Moreover, this evolution of the subject is closely linked to his context of creation. In fact, the Council of Trent had a great detonation in the world of the arts, forcing artists to revise their creations in order to adapt them to the new religious precepts promoted by the Council. Among them, the renewed importance of the mystery of the Incarnation and of the assurance of eternal heavenly happiness made possible by the resurrection is paramount, requiring new images to celebrate it. The work of Giambologna and his workshop is particularly
demonstrative of these theological questions, where the spectator must be invited to share the Christic beatitude and this divine meditation, according to the model of the "Imitatio Christi".
Only two versions of "Cristo Vivo" have been attributed with certainty to the master, or his nearby workshop. One is kept at the Monastery of the Descatras Reales in Madrid and the second was sold by the Sotheby's auction house on July 9, 2004 (lot 7). The quality of our piece leaves no doubt about its proximity to Giambologna's workshop. Our Cristo Vivo would certainly be due to a production carried out by one of his successors, on the model of the artwork of Giambologna. In addition, this reference model transcends the world of sculpture to impose itself in the world of painting, as Guido Reni's crucifixion corpus proves.
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Final amount including packing and shipment to be discussed with Galerie Alexandre Piatti.
17 000 €