Luxury Design, Past & Present
A beautiful sculpture of a youth from Italy circa 1770 enclosed in an apse created from zinc and wood. Please take a moment to look closely at the lovely detail evident on this piece. The style is a direct descendant of the classical Roman pieces that were modeled after the Greek originals worked in bronze. Because the weight is supported on the left leg the hip is slightly tilted allowing the right leg to be slightly bent. This stance enables the torso to be twisted with the arms outstretched and the head angles gently downward. The sculptor understood the proportion and balance necessary to create the illusion that the figure could step forward at any moment. The face is beautifully modeled with the full cheeks, rounded cheeks and open eyes of a young boy. The elaborate hair is well modeled with the braids and waves fully realized in a lifelike manner. Because most ancient sculpture was rendered in marble or another stone the weight of a forward leaning figure such as this youth was always a concern. The method used to provide a counterbalance was to include a naturalistic tree trunk or stone the figure could lean against or hold onto in order to provide stability. This figure stands upon a circular plinth base with the tree trunk behind so he is able to stretch forward and enter dynamic space while remaining upright. Although this figure has a terra cotta finish it is actually made of stone and is quite substantial in its weight. It is possible to see the interior metal armature where the original hand was on the right arm. This attractive figure has a charming ambiance and is a link to well over two thousand years of sculptural tradition. This figure is shown within a surprising space that is shaped like a niche with an arched top and half round interior. This antique enclosure has a wooden surround on the front where the original hand made pegs that attach the separate pieces of wood are clearly visible. The entire half round back is made of a single sheet of zinc while the half domed area has eight pieces welded together. The interior retains its original painted finish that now resembles an aged stone wall. On the reverse side of the niche it is possible to see the original iron band that keeps the entire piece stable and strong. This is most likely the original surround for the sculpture and was set flush with the wall with wooden moulding marking the transition from niche to wall. The combination of the sculpture set inside the enclosure is a unique artifact from eighteenth century Italy. It still retains its original expressive power and will be stunning in a contemporary modern interior or a more traditional space.