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Prospero Antichi (1555-1592)

Aliases: il Bresciano; il Bresciano; Prospero Scavezzi

Professions: Sculptor

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  • ANDREA DI BARTOLOMEO DI ALESSANDRI, CALLED 'ANDREA DAI BRONZI' OR 'IL BRESCIANO' (ITALIAN, 1530-1569): A VENETIAN MID 16TH CENTURY BRONZE FIGURE OF THE INFANT BACCHUS OR AUTUMN depicted as a putt holding a bunch of grapes in both hands, raised on a later pedestal, the bronze 22.5cm high, the pedestal 31.5cm high PROVENANCE: CHARLES AVERY COLLECTION Charles Avery is a specialist in European sculpture, particularly Italian, French, English, Flemish and Dutch. A graduate in Classics at Cambridge University, he obtained a Diploma in the History of Art at the Courtauld Institute and a doctorate for published work from Cambridge. Having been Deputy Keeper of Sculpture at the Victoria and Albert Museum for twelve years (1966-79), and a Director of Christies for ten years, since 1990 he has been a highly respected, independent historian, consultant, writer and lecturer. His books include ‘Florentine Renaissance Sculpture’, 1970, ‘Giambologna the Complete Sculpture’, Phaidon, 1987, ‘Donatello: An Introduction’, John Murray, 1994; ‘Bernini, Genius of the Baroque’, Thames and Hudson, 1997 (paperback, 2006),  and ‘The Triumph of Motion: Francesco Bertos’, 2008. Purchased by Dr Avery from Hugo & Ruth Klotz, New York (believed to be from the Weinberg Collection, Frankfurt, inv. no. 155); sold Christie’s, New York, 28 September 2006, lot 147 for $6,000. Related Literature: C. and V. Avery, “Not quite Sansovino and not quite Vittoria: Andrea di Alessandri, called Il Bresciano”, in Sculpture Journal, IX, 2003, pp. 46-61. This putto, holding a bunch of grapes in both hands, though of a type frequently associated with Niccolo Roccatagliata (as it was in the Christie’s catalogue entry), accords equally well with those from a generation earlier that populate several of Il Bresciano’s elaborate complexes in bronze, such as his Base for the Reliquary Cross of St Theodore of 1567 in the Accademia, Venice, or the Firedogs from the Bute Collection (see Avery 2003, figs. 12-13). “Andrea dai bronzi” was a sculptor-foundryman who worked in the Venetian milieu of the better known masters, Sansovino and Vittoria. His real name, Andrea di Bartolomeo di Alessandri, has recently been established, but he was also sometimes known from his native county-town as “Il Bresciano”. His masterpiece is the signed Paschal Candelabrum for Jacopo Sansovino’s church of Santo Spirito in Isola, now in Santa Maria della Salute, Venice. The integrally cast, oval base-plate, with a hole pierced through its centre and a hollow screw-thread indicates that this putto was the terminal of a complex, perhaps a firedog, with one or more matching companions, either appropriate deities, or infant allegories of The Four Seasons, a popular theme, where winter’s cold was related to the warmth of the nearby fire.

  • ANDREA DI BARTOLOMEO DI ALESSANDRI, CALLED 'ANDREA DAI BRONZI' OR 'IL BRESCIANO' (ITALIAN, 1530-1569): A VENETIAN MID 16TH CENTURY BRONZE  OF PAN AS A CARYATID 26cm high PROVENANCE: CHARLES AVERY COLLECTION Charles Avery is a specialist in European sculpture, particularly Italian, French, English, Flemish and Dutch. A graduate in Classics at Cambridge University, he obtained a Diploma in the History of Art at the Courtauld Institute and a doctorate for published work from Cambridge. Having been Deputy Keeper of Sculpture at the Victoria and Albert Museum for twelve years (1966-79), and a Director of Christies for ten years, since 1990 he has been a highly respected, independent historian, consultant, writer and lecturer. His books include ‘Florentine Renaissance Sculpture’, 1970, ‘Giambologna the Complete Sculpture’, Phaidon, 1987, ‘Donatello: An Introduction’, John Murray, 1994; ‘Bernini, Genius of the Baroque’, Thames and Hudson, 1997 (paperback, 2006),  and ‘The Triumph of Motion: Francesco Bertos’, 2008. Purchased by Dr Avery from the Jacques and Henriette Schumann sale (bought from Michel Meyer in 1952; sold Christie’s, Paris, 30 September 2003, lot 295 for €9,674).  Related Literature: C. and V. Avery, “Not quite Sansovino and not quite Vittoria: Andrea di Alessandri, called Il Bresciano”, in Sculpture Journal, IX, 2003, pp. 46-61. [on this bronze] C. Avery, ‘Andrea di Bartolomeo di Alessandri, detto Il Bresciano “lavorator di gettar cose di Bronzo”: candelabri, satiri e battenti)’, in M. Ceriana and V. Avery [eds.], L’industria artistica del bronzo del rinascimento a Venezia e nell’Italia settentrionale, Atti del Convegno Internazionale di Studi, Venezia, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, 23 e 24 ottobre 2007, Venice, 2009, pp. 241-43. This unique statuette of Pan is related in theme and style to three virtually identical casts of top quality and great expressiveness depicting Pan holding his pipes and mincing along: see Avery 2009, pp. 241-43, where it is attributed firmly to Il Bresciano.  Anthony Radcliffe wrote of the example in the Thyssen Collection: The satyr has been described as ‘dancing’, but his pose, with a pronounced backward tilt to the upper part of the body, suggests rather than he was intended to be leaning against something.  This observation, taken with the remains of some element grasped in the right hand, the slot cut in the arm at the back of the right elbow, the remains of a support attached to the right hoof, and the notably more sketchy modelling at the back, seems to indicate that he was originally a component part of a complex, probably in association with other figures, from which he has been broken off. The present Pan, leaning forward - with a volute above and below - and a curving profile may have formed a handle for a large ornamental ewer, as is to be found on e.g. an ancient Roman bronze jug found at Pompeii (see Avery 2009, fig. 29). The applique has been attributed firmly to “Andrea dai bronzi”, a sculptor-foundryman who worked in the Venetian milieu of the better known masters, Sansovino and Vittoria.  His real name, Andrea di Bartolomeo di Alessandri, has recently been etablished, but he was also sometimes known from his native county-town as “Il Bresciano”.  His masterpiece is the signed Paschal Candelabrum for Jacopo Sansovino’s church of Santo Spirito in Isola, now in Santa Maria della Salute, Venice.  He is also documented as having produced by 1568, “a beautiful pair of firedogs with figures, masks, harpies, festoons, vases and other ornaments”, which - though badly damaged - were recognised by Charles Avery at Christie’s in 1996 and published.  Further similar satyrs are to be found elsewhere in Il Bresciano’s oeuvre and they serve to corroborate this exciting new attribution.

  • ATTRIBUTED TO ANDREA DI ALESSANDRI, CALLED IL BRESCIANO (FL. 1550-1575)
    ITALIAN, VENICE, THIRD QUARTER 16TH CENTURY | Evangelist

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