A terracotta bust of Christ as The Redeemer
Tuscany or Emilia Romagna, late 15th century
46 x 43 x 21 cm
This powerful, moving bust of Christ as the Redemeer is characteristic of a type of terracotta statuary that flourished in the second half of the 15th century in Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany.
This beautifully executed Christ assumes a doleful position with drops of bloods descending from his foreheads, looking down with heavy and large almond-shaped eyes and a slightly open mouth.
The symmetrical facial features, domed forehead, long face, central parting of the hair and gently pointed forked beard of this bust of Christ, are ultimately derived from Verrocchio's celebrated figure of the Redeemer from his monumental Christ and St. Thomas bronze group on Orsanmichele in Florence, which was begun in 1467.
This conception became one of the canonical models for Christ, profoundly influencing generations of Italian artists long after Verrocchio's death.
However, unlike the Verrocchio model, the present figure of Christ faces forwards, with no tilt to the head.
The hair is also more irregular, the strands are intertwined and the curls falling nervously from the domed head, to his shoulders, a late 15th-century fashion seen in two busts in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Related literature :
- C. Avery, Fingerprints of the Artist: European Terra-Cotta Sculpture from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Cambridge, 1981, pp. 28-30, no. 1.
-G. Bonsanti and F. Piccinini, Emozioni in terra cotta, exhibition catalogue, Modena, 2009, pp. 208-209, no. 52.
- A. Butterfield, The Sculptures of Andrea del Verrocchio, New Haven and London, 1997, pp. 56-80
-J. Pope-Hennessy, Catalogue of Italian Sculpture in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Volume I: Text. Eighth to Fifteenth Century, London, 1964, pp. 205-207
- V. Sgarbi, Tra classicismo, naturalismo ed espressionismo, in la scultura al tempo di Andrea Mantegna
- Superbi Gioffredi, Verrocchio and Late Quattrocento Italian Sculpture, Florence, 1992, p. 129, fig. 90