Giacomo and Giovanni Zoffoli
c. 1731-85 and c. 1745 –1805 | Italian
Signed “G. Zoffoli”
This exceptional Italian bronze embodies all of the hallmarks of the very best Roman sculpture of the 18th century. The work is crafted after the antique marble now in the Tribuna of the Uffizi (Florence), which dates to the middle of the 1st century A.D. and is itself a Roman copy after a lost Greek marble by the great Praxiteles. The sinuous pose of the figure is a distinctive quality of Praxiteles’ work, and it can also be seen in his famed Aphrodite of Knidos (Uffizi, Florence). The style lends itself well to the subject - the adolescent god Apollo, a deity regarded as the most beautiful of the gods and the ideal of the kouros, or the “athletic youth.” Exhibiting a remarkable level of detail, the sculpture is an impressive study in anatomy and expression.
The present bronze is a faithful reduction of this antique masterpiece. The original was recorded in 1704 in the Villa Medici in Rome and was taken to Florence in 1769. Its popularity quickly increased in the 18th century, and it was one of the most highly praised ancient statues that survived from antiquity. The great sculptors Giacomo and Giovanni Zoffoli crafted a small handful of bronzes after the antique prior to the time it left Rome for Florence; another example by the famed firm can be found in the Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg).
Giacomo Zoffoli, a silversmith by training, ran a highly successful workshop in Rome in the 18th century specializing in the reproduction of small bronzes after antique sculpture, primarily for the foreign Grand Tour market. Zoffoli bronzes were particularly collected in England where they were used as adornments for chimneypieces and as decorative objects for grand estates. Today, bronzes by Zoffoli can be found in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Detroit Institute of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Hermitage (St. Petersburg) and many others.
Statue: 5 1/4” wide x 4” deep x 13 7/8” high
With base: 8” wide x 8” deep x 21” high
“Bronze statuettes by Giacomo & Giovanni Zoffoli” in Connoisseur CXLVIII, 1961, by H. Honour, pp. 194-200
Taste and the Antique, The Lure of Classical Sculpture 1500-1900, New Haven and London, 1981, by F. Haskell and N. Penny, pp. 146-148