Crab-shaped inkwell opening on the back with a hinge.
Early 16th century.
This sculpture is a beautiful illustration of the animal bronzes of the Italian Renaissance. Indeed, it is around workshops such as those of Andrea Riccio or Savero da Ravenna, in the north of Italy of the XV-XVIth centuries, that the animal figure becomes the main subject of the work. Various animals are represented by themselves, whereas they had previously been considered as secondary subjects.
Our crab was molded directly on the animal, ensuring strict anatomical accuracy, a technique used by the veneto-paduan workshops and certainly implemented by Andrea Riccio.
These utilitarian objects in the form of animals were casted for the studioli of wealthy aristocrats who liked to display products of nature alongside works of art, which this type of object combines, in the desire to reproduce a miniature vision of the cosmos. The dog represented inside is certainly the emblem of one of these great families.
A similar model, molded on the same crab, and with the same red mark on the shell, is exhibited in the Louvre Museum under the inventory number MR1721 and another in the Kunsthistorisches Museum under the number K. 5922.
Natur und antike in der renaissance, Liebieghaus, museum alter plastik frankfurt am main, 1985. P; 537, cat. 261.
12 000 €