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Alessandro Cesati at the Biennial of Florence

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The 30th edition of the Florence Biennial Antiques Fair will be opening its doors -from September 23rd to October 1st- in the Baroque halls of Palazzo Corsini. The fair is the oldest running art and antiques trade show in Europe and without doubt the most prestigious and international in Italy. This year the charming Palazzo Corsini will have a new layout by Matteo Corvino, a well-known Venetian interior designer, who conceived a glass ceiling and a reconstruction of an Italian-style hanging garden.
Alessandro Cesati Gallery will be attending the 30th edition of this important event showing an appealing selection of sculptures and works of art, in the stand n° 47 facing the Throne Hall of the Palazzo.
Among the significant works on show it is worth to mention a rare Tuscan wooden casket dating from the second quarter of the 14th Century, punched and decorated with a series of quatrefoil-shaped medallions, certainly painted by a great Sienese artist; the pagoda-shaped lid gives the casket its lovely and intriguing aspect.

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Another remarkable work of art on display will be a gorgeous and large terracotta high-relief attributed to Girolamo Ticciati, a well known baroque Florentine sculptor and architect and one of the best pupils of Giovan Battista Foggini; this impressive sculpture represents the Adoration of the Shepherds and shows the coat-of-arms of two Florentine families: Rospigliosi and Lanfredini.
Another intriguing and rare work of art presented by the Alessandro Cesati Gallery is an extraordinary Baroque Casket with different expandable compartments that disclose miniature scenes of the life of Christ: a typical example of southern Italian craftsmanship developed between late 17th and early 18th century.

We Look Forward to Seeing You at BIAF, Stand n°47!

Florence International Biennial Antiques Fair
Palazzo Corsini, Lungarno Corsini
23rd September – 1st October 2017
Preview: 22nd September, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m
Opening Hours: every day from 10.30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
For further information visit http://www.biaf.it

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The Unrivalled Tefaf Maastricht

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This year’s exhibitors have put on an outstanding display of remarkable objects. To achieve this, year on year, is not easy: it takes dedication and connoisseurship. Yet again they have excelled themselves and have attracted international collectors from all corners of the globe to Maastricht”. This is what Patrick van Maris, CEO of Tefaf, said about the fair which ran from 10 to 19 March 2017 and welcomed over 71,000 visitors, from over 60 nationalities. The 30 years old Maastricht fair continued to provide a dynamic sales platform for its exhibitors, confirming itself as the most important event for dealers, collectors and art lovers for around the globe. In order to do so, Tefaf Maastricht continuously evaluates its offering, and each year takes steps to maintain its position as the world’s leading fine art and antiques fair. One such initiative is TEFAF Curated, a sub-section of TEFAF Modern, which this year took place for the third time. Penelope Curtis, Director of the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon and curator of the third edition of TEFAF Curated, this year entitled La Grande Horizontale, said about the event: “It was a different kind of space for an art fair, and within its distinctive design, art works which normally would never meet now spoke to each other in a new way.”

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Within the now large number of Italian exhibitors, the Cesati Gallery had great success with the elegant installation totally renovated in colour and lay-out, displaying as always an interesting combination of materials, ranging from the favorite ironworks to the sculptures in stone, wood and bronze.
Among the works on display, a special attention went to a tiny polychromed wood sculpture of a King Balthazar, from a rare workshop active in Cologne in the early 16th century, placed near a mid 13th century gilded and enamelled Corpus Christi from Limoges, rare for size and state of preservation.
Great appreciation also for the powerful wrought iron Safe from the late XVII century, attracting the attention of the visitors, not only for its sophisticated and ‘contemporary’ beauty, but also thanks to its strategic position through which it was immediately visible from the main entrance of the fair.

A Fine Florentine Virgin with Child

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In the Florentine artistic panorama between the late 16th and the early 17th century we can take for granted the existence of a movement which – partially opposing the Giambologna tradition – was oriented towards neo-Renaissance forms of purism, for many aspects similar to those developed in the painting field through the teaching of Santi di Tito and Jacopo da Empoli.
This small alabastrine marble Virgin with Child fully represent this cultural moment.
Her character is defined by many and explicit early-sixteenth century elements: from the shape of the dress, with the double clip on the sleeve, to the slow and almost monumental cadence of the pose. The Child is clearly inspired by Andrea del Sarto’s Madonna delle Arpie with the same legs scheme and also clearly influenced by the Angels and Cherubs derived from the Giambologna models especially for the shape of his head; a direct comparison can be also made with two Candleholder Angels in the Madonna dell’Umiltà Church in Pistoia, attributed to Pietro Tacca.

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The segmented profile of the long coat falling down along the Madonna right elbow – and the deep cavity, cutted by short folds of the drapery, diagonally separating the legs – seem to be inspired by the style of Giovanni Caccini; in fact to this artist – and particularly to his Madonna in Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence, and to the one at the Victoria and Albert Museum – can be referred the nearly ‘greasy’ sweetness of the Virgin face, highlighted here by the translucent, almost evanescent, alabastrine marble. The attribution of this Virgin with Child to Orazio Mochi comes as a result of this stylistical and chronological analysis. Mochi is a sculptor trained in the Caccini workshop and almost exclusively known for providing the model of the statue depicting the Gioco del saccomazzone (before 1621) in the well known Boboli Garden of Florence. Mentioned by Baldinucci as “one of the most talented sculptors that our city had in his time“, we can refer to him – at least for the invention – a series of sculptures depicting the Evangelists, (today preserved at the Museo degli Argenti) for the altar and the tabernacle of the Cappella dei Principi in San Lorenzo Church.
This Virgin with Child enriches so significantly the very small number of works by the sculptor, confirming on one hand his special ability to work on a small scale, and on the other hand his important contribution to the birth of the classical-purist movement that Antonio Novelli will significantly represent in the full 17th century.

Orazio Mochi (Montevarchi, 1571 – 1625), attr.
VIRGIN WITH CHILD
Alabastrine marble
Florence
H. 33 cm

TEFAF Maastricht is coming !

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TEFAF Maastricht (March 10-19, 2017) will celebrate this year its 30th anniversary with a big party honouring its long career and commitment to beauty, art, expertise and professionalism. Many things have changed, and after 30 years of honourable work TEFAF has gained the reputation of the world’s leading Art Fair, setting the standard for excellence in the art market, championing the finest art works from across the ages, bringing together a network of international dealers who inspire art lovers from around the world since the early edition. This year TEFAF Maastricht will also host some important works from Galleria Borghese in Rome, the extraordinary Villa that embodies the history and development of Italian collecting between the 17th and 19th centuries. Treasures to be exhibited in the ‘Galleria Borghese – An Italian Legacy’ show include a selection of highly significant Italian paintings and sculptures from the 15th to the 17th century among which: a large canvas by the Neapolitan painter Battistello Caracciolo (c. 1578-1635), a selection of paintings by Pietro da Cortona (c. 1596-1669), the very early work by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680), the Capra Amaltea carved from white marble and Il Sonno by Alessandro Algardi (1598-1654).

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The Cesati Gallery will attend again TEFAF Maastricht for the 19th consecutive time and with the new layout of the fair, with three different entrances, the stand will have an important location as it will be facing directly to the right entrance of the fair. The space will be animated by a good number of excellent sculptures and works of art such as: an extraordinary polychromed and gilded wood sculpture of an Archangel mid 14th century, recently re-attributed to the workshop of a sculptor known as the Maestro dei Magi di Fabriano; a rare medieval Capital, of Byzantine origin, carved in marble and representing two Sphinxes grabbing with their claws two zoomorphic heads, certainly inspired by the figurative examples of the famous Maestro della Cattedra di Sant’Elia active in Bari; a wonderful pair of German wrought iron Doorknockers from late 16th century, decorated with animals and vegetal motifs, bearing on both joints the coats-of-arms of two noble families; an elegant bronze female figure recognizable as the Allegory of Peace, attributed to the famous Venetian sculptor Girolamo Campagna (1549-1621).

We look forward to see you in Maastricht!

TEFAF Maastricht – stand n° 155.
MECC, Maastricht, 10-19 March 2017 – Preview 9 March

For more information visit: www.tefaf.com

A Spectacular Pair of Doorknockers

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This two wonderful wrought iron Doorknockers are an outstanding example of the German ironwork craftsmanship from the late 16th century.
The body – a round ring, with a diamond shape section – is richly decorated with very fine low-relief engravings depicting animals and vegetal motifs (dogs and hares, flowers and acorns).

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On the string joint of both doorknockers are visible the coat-of-arms of two noble families: the Bobenhausen of Bavaria and the Holz von Holzhausen of Germany.

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Another smaller doorknocker with the same kind of work, coming from the celebrated Mylius Collection, is published in Ferro Civile, catalogue of the important exhibition about ironwork held in 1991 at Galleria Lorenzell in Bergamo.

References: VV. AA., Ferro Civile, exhibition catalogue, Galleria Lorenzelli, Bergamo 1991, p. 73.

PAIR OF DOORKNOCKERS
Wrought, carved and engraved iron in low relief
Germany
Late 16th century
Ø cm. 23

Provenance: Northern European collection

A Rare Capital with Sphinxes

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This outstanding marble capital, show the addorsed and firmly sat figures of two winged lions with human face – clearly recognizable as sphinxes – clawing the head of a snarling beast, perhaps a lion or a molossian. The nearly trapezoidal silhouette of the whole capital, which belongs to the group of the so-called ‘crutch-shaped’ capitals of Byzantine origin, was adopted – in Western context with anthropomorphic, zoomorphic or fantastic subjects – for setting up cloisters, loggias or simple windows. In Puglia the representation of the sphinx is widely attested since the 11th century – even though often alternated with symbolic winged animals as the griffon, the lion and sometimes the basilisk – and the use of similar capitals is largely documented, originating a typological model characterized by a symmetrical pattern.

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In this regard it is worth to remember some of the most illustrious example and more precisely: the low-relief depicting two opposing sphinxes located on the right side of the Episcopal Seat in the Cathedral of San Sabino in Canosa di Puglia, commissioned to the sculptor Romualdo by the Bishop Ursone between 1080 and 1089 and the fragmented ‘crutch-shaped’ capital with leaning sphinxes coming from the Basilica of San Nicola, from the second quarter of the 11th century circa and attributed to the workshop of Master Acceptus. About the formal treatment an even more relevant similarity can be found with the ‘crutch-shaped’ capital (ca. 1130/40) – rediscovered in the deposits of the Basilica di San Nicola – with two addorsed figures of anthropomorphic monkeys. Another important confrontation can be made with the magnificent ‘crutch-shaped’ capital (1120-1130 circa) with slaves figures and masks, preserved at the Pinacoteca Metropolitana in Bari: a work which can be attributed without any doubt to the Maestro della Cattedra di Sant’Elia.
This present capital echoes also the telamons supporting the Episcopal Throne in the Basilica of San Nicola in Bari: specially for the ‘boxy’ appearance, the protruding cheekbones, the carefully emphasized eyes and the thick clumped hair, still perfectly intact close to the neck.
On the basis of this confrontations it must be therefore be concluded that the work here examined is a precious addition to the Apulian Romanesque sculpture production and – more generally – an important example of Southern Italian medieval art.

Detailed report by Dr. Luca Mor.

Puglia workshop
CAPITAL WITH SPHINXES
Carved marble
1140/50 ca.
Cm 48 ×13 x 41 h
Italy, private collection

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