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Home > Auctions > 7th September 2021 > Renaissance Circle of Simone Bianco, Marble Head of an Idealised Woman All'Antica

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LOT 0586

GBP (£) 18,000 - 24,000
EUR (€) 21,150 - 28,210
USD ($) 25,080 - 33,450

Opening Bid
£18,000 (EUR 21,154; USD 25,084) (+bp*)

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Renaissance Circle of Simone Bianco, Marble Head of an Idealised Woman All'Antica

Late 16th century AD

A carved marble head of a youthful woman, possibly a muse, with her sensual mouth slightly open, perfectly proportioned Greek nose and wide forehead; her curly hair divided into two and held in place with a taenia, the hair pulled back and secured to a bun by a ribbon bow with three locks falling on her neck, traces of gilding to the hair; the bust mounted on a square pedestal decorated with a realistically sculpted ram head flanked by foliate ornaments. 34.3 kg, 50cm including stand (19 3/4"). Fine condition.

From an important English collection; accompanied by an archaeological expertise by Dr Raffaele D’Amato; this lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.10767-177464.

See Meller, P., ‘Marmi e bronzi di Simone Bianco’ in Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorisches Institutes in Florenz, 21.Bh.H.2, 1977, pp.199-210; Schulz, M., ‘Simone Bianco’, in Saur Kunstlerlexikon, 1995, 10, pp.445-47; Luchs, A., Tulio Lombardo and Venetian High Renaissance Sculpture, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 4 July - 31 October 2009, pp. 63-65, fig.4, for the portrait of an idealised woman ‘all’antica’; Schulz, M., ‘Simone Bianco, the Grimani Collection of Antiquities and Other Unexpected Findings’, in Jahrbuch des Kunsthistorischen Museums Wien, 2015-2016, 17/18, pp.36-37, fig.8, for girl portrait; Schulz, M., The History of Venetian Renaissance Sculpture, ca. 1400-1530, London and Turnhout, 2017, p.360.

This important Tuscan artist, who used to sign his works with the Greek name of SIMON LEVKOS O VENETOS (Simon the White, the Venetian), was known as a great marble sculptor, working between 1519 and 1553, although he enjoyed great posthumous success. Pietro Aretino, writing to his colleague in 1548, praising him for the portrait of the young bride of a Venetian patrician, said that the artist 'gave the spirit to marble with such antiquity of grace that nature itself could confess that in no way it diverges from a living thing'. The publication by Ursula Schlegel of numerous busts of young women made by Simone shows his great technical skill. This virtuosity can also be seen in this sculpture, probably
made by a disciple who seems to have been one of the direct collaborators of the master. The girl's hair moves sinuously along her neck, in a delicate but decisive waving movement. Her face, surrounded by these vigorous modelled curls, is rendered with a sophisticated naturalism that evokes that of ancient portraiture. Although few of his commissions are recorded, and much of his oeuvre is made up of attributions, Simone has emerged through recent scholarship as a unique artistic personality in early 16th-century Venice, celebrated for his idiosyncratic in the busts all’antica, which are distinguished by both artistic flair and technical refinement.