Bacchus & Satyr (Ampelos)
Bronze, green All’Antica patina – lost wax – Egyptian Porphyry base
Francesco Righetti (1738-1819)
Signed: “F.Righetti F. Roma 1796”
After the Antique: Firenze, Galleria degli Uffizi, Inv. N 246
Rainer Zietz, London (sold in 1996)
Italian sculptor, silversmith and bronze-founder. He quickly became a successor to his teacher Luigi Valadier, a leading Roman silversmith who also produced copies after the Antique, and responded with skill and energy to the taste of collectors for faithful replicas of celebrated statues, both ancient and modern, and antiquarian ornaments. Righetti worked on large-scale projects for popes and monarchs: he is best remembered, however, for his small bronze statuettes after famous antiquities.
In 1781 Righetti received his first known large-scale commission, for 12 full-sized lead casts of famous statues for the English banker Henry Hope at his country house at Welgelegen, near Haarlem (7 remain in situ). Painted white to resemble marble, the statues chosen were chiefly Classical works such as the Venus de' Medici and Apollino (both Florence, Uffizi) but also included certain more recent statues, such as Giambologna's Mercury (version, Florence, Bargello) and François Duquesnoy's St Susanna (Rome, Santa Maria di Loreto).
During the 1780s Righetti established himself as a producer of bronze miniatures after famous antique prototypes, a genre of sculpture that developed in the second half of the eighteenth century in response to the burgeoning art market. Like any metal-casting project, Righetti's enterprise was collaborative. Aside from maintaining a workshop staff that included his son Luigi, Righetti is known to have employed other artists to sculpt for him. Documentary sources indicate, for instance, that the sculptor Camillo Pacetti copied antiquities for Righetti in 1785.
In 1794 Righetti published a catalogue-style price list of the miniature statues available from his workshop, a document that attests both to the scope of his production and to his promotional talent.
Pope Pius VII visited Righetti's studio in Naples in 1801 to see the gilt bronze altar set which he had commissioned for San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice and in 1805 Righetti became the head of the Vatican foundry.
In 1809, in his capacity as a bronze founder, Righetti collaborated with Antonio Canova to produce the giant bronze figure of Napoleon (Brera, Milan) for Prince Eugene de Beauharnais, the French viceroy of Italy. In 1819 Righetti and his son Luigi cast Canova's monumental equestrian Charles III, which still stands before the royal palace in Naples.
His son Luigi ran the Neapolitan studio in his absence and, after Righetti's death, Luigi and his son Francesco Righetti the Younger ran both the Neopolitan and Roman foundries. The works of the family, highly prized and for the most part easily portable, are distributed in some of the most important European and American collections.
H 36 x W 15 x D 13 cm (on its plinth)
H 14 1/4 x W 5 7/8 x D 5 1/8 inch
Delevery information :
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30 000 €