Young Michelangelo by Emilio Zocchi

  • This charming marble sculpture is the work of Florentine master Emilio Zocchi
  • Entitled Young Michelangelo, the figure captures the legendary artist as an adolescent
  • Illustrating a well-known scene from Vasari, the youth is carving the head of a faun
  • The exceptional sculpture lends a human element to its popular historical subject
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-1480

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Emilio Zocchi
1835-1913 | Italian

Young Michelangelo

Carrara marble
Signed "ZOCCHI E.F. / A Firenze"

A touching tribute to the master Michelangelo, this extraordinary 19th-century marble sculpture depicts the young artist carving his first known work, a faun's head. Florentine sculptor Emilio Zocchi captures this pivotal moment in art history with striking detail that is evident from every angle of this amazing work. From Michelangelo's determined expression to his intense posture, Zocchi attains a level of realism and quality that, in itself, pays tribute to Michelangelo's genius.

It is believed that, at the age of 15, Michelangelo entered the famous Garden of the Medici School of San Marco to study sculpture under the famed artist Bertoldo. The school's founder, Lorenzo de' Medici, was a patron of the arts and was a driving force of the Renaissance. Lorenzo came upon Michelangelo replicating an ancient statue of a faun that graced the gardens. He was impressed by the youth's talent but commented that the elderly faun would not have such perfect teeth. In response, Michelangelo spontaneously took up his chisel and broke off a single tooth from his statue. According to Giorgio Vasari's biography of the artist, it was from that moment that Lorenzo understood the talent of the young sculptor and invited him to stay in the Palazzo Medici.

The original faun's head sculpture, created around 1489, has unfortunately been lost to time, but the story of the young Michelangelo's triumph lives on in this exceptional work by Zocchi. A sister sculpture by the sculptor is on display at the Galleria Palatina in the Palazzo Pitti (Florence).

Emilio Zocchi was a student of Italian "Verismo," a movement in realism that celebrated everyday life and showcased in greater detail and depth the occurrences of the natural world. Using this technique, Zocchi eloquently combines a classical portrait with the contemporary subject of the adolescent, crafting a dynamic and realistic sculpture of a classic moment in time.

Well regarded during his lifetime as a sculptor of realistic genre scenes, Zocchi won several important commissions, including an equestrian statue of Victor Emmanuel in Florence. This sculpture of the Young Michelangelo, however, earned him incredible popularity and remains the work for which he is best remembered.

Late 19th century

72" high x 24" wide x 24" deep
Young Michelangelo by Emilio Zocchi
Maker: Zocchi, Giuseppe
Period: 1816-1918
Origin: Italy
Type: Sculpture
Depth: 24.0 Inches
Width: 24.0 Inches
Height: 72.0 Inches
Style: Neoclassicism

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