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TEFAF Maastricht 2019: a New Selection

Also this year, the Alessandro Cesati Gallery will exhibit at TEFAF Maastricht (March 16-24, 2019) for the 21st time, offering a new selection of important Sculptures and Works of Art in a two-rooms stand: the first room will be dedicated to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and the second to Baroque Era.

At the center of the first room of the stand, the Gallery will proudly present a little and extraordinary Sienese Casket of the mid-14th century, whose great importance has led to the publication of a dedicated book, with contributions by Prof. Andrea De Marchi and Dr. Chiara Guerzi: a treasure casket for small and precious objects, considered the oldest example among the so-called ‘pagoda-shape’ caskets, and attributed to a Sienese artist in the circle of the Lorenzetti brothers and close to Lippo Vanni.

Among the many stone sculptures, one will admire a charming Madonna of the Book by Cristoforo Mantegazza (Milan, 1429-1479) – one of the most important artists of the 15th-century Lombardy, and Galeazzo Maria Sforza favourite sculptor – whose provenance dates back to a famous and noble Italian collector of the second half of the 19th century. The work, of great gentleness and already known to scholars, has recently been restudied, recognizing in it a little masterpiece by this inspired Milanese sculptor.

One of the the absolute new entries of this year is an unpublished and very well conserved Triptych with Scenes from the Life of Christ, of large dimensions, by the Embriachi workshop, active in Florence and Venice between c. 1370 and 1430, specialized in bone and ivory carving.

As usual, a very fine selection of fine ironwork, such as doorknockers and locks, will also be presented to collectors.

In the second room, mainly dedicated to works from the Baroque period, collectors will admire an intense pair of large-sized ivory sculptures depicting the Virgin and Saint John, recently reattributed to the hand of Johann Balthasar Stockamer (circa 1634-1700), a well-known German ivory sculptor who spent many years in Italy working in Rome for Cardinal Leopoldo de’ Medici.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

TEFAF Maastricht – stand 155
MECC, Maastricht, March 16-24, 2019

For more information, please go to

A Candle-by-the-hour Holder

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This curious and rare device in wrought and engraved iron belongs to the large category of table candlesticks and is also classified as Candle-by-the-hour Holder since it gave way to empirically calculate the candle flame duration.
This refined object consists of a square-shaped and engraved plate, supported by four thin and partially twisted legs with shell-shaped feet; in the plate center there is a small decorated stem, on top of which there are a sort of elegantly fashioned and engraved spring scissors working as candlesnuffer. A shell-shaped handle, joint to the plate, was designed for moving the lamp from one room to another.
A special candle was rolled up around the stem: a kind of waxed thread ball which end was secured between the scissors blades, protruding a few centimeters. Once the candle was lit, the flame burnt until reaching the scissors that put it out automatically.
Assuming that an inch of candle could correspond to about 15 minutes of light, its duration could therefore be preset according to need, calculating the length of the candle sticking out above the scissors. A whole ball of waxed thread could last up to 70 hours, and this procedure also represented a way of economizing the candle consumption.

Wrought and engraved iron
Northern Italy
18th century
Cm 11 x 18 x 14 H
References : AA.VV., Antichi Strumenti dalla Collezione Nessi, Milan 2004, p. 334; Vittorio Fagone, Il momento artigiano: aspetti della cultura materiale in Italia, Milan 1976, p. 39; AA.VV., Objets civiles domestiques, Imprimerie Nationale, Paris 1984, p. 430, n° 2064.

A Young Boy at Venice Biennale in 1932

This beautiful bronze head depicts the artist’s son as an adolescent. The wavy hair, arranged on one side, partially fall on the forehead. The gaze ahead and the softly closed mouth transmit a feeling of innocent amazement, characteristic of that young age. The bronze surface, gently rippled, softens the light recalling an impressionistic and “scapigliato” effect typical of other sculptors of that period such as Libero Andreotti, Italo Griselli and Francesco Messina. But here, in his confident pose and in the attentive look, one can find the energy and the potentiality of a young adult, so appreciated in the boys of those years, together with an ephebic beauty recalling classical aesthetics. Baglioni, and the Italian sculpture of the Thirties in general, look for a renewed humanism by looking at the ancient art.
At his first Venice Biennale, the 18th edition held in 1932, Baglioni exhibited two sculptures in Room 19, one of which is precisely the present one: this is attested both by a label with the title of the work, still pasted under the original wooden base, and by two photographs taken on that occasion now stored at the ASAC (Archivio Storico dell’Arte Contemporanea, Venice).

Umberto Baglioni, born in Calabria (Scalea 1893), moved to Turin in 1917 where he studied with Edoardo Rubino at the Accademia Albertina, initially close to the “Scapigliato” and Liberty taste of the rich and lively Turin of those years and then approaching the roman Neoclassicism. Already praised in 1919 for “the ability to reach high peaks and to wrap the work with a mystical veil”, around 1920 he opens his own studio.
He participates in the Venice Biennale six times since 1932; in 1942, he even deserves an entire room where he shows eleven sculptures and the critics write: “Napoleone Martinuzzi e Umberto Baglioni respirano un’atmosfera più calma, vivono in un mondo più sereno, dove il sentimento è contenuto e dominato dal gusto; la loro Musa […] (è) Tersicore, musa dall’agile passo e dell’equilibrio difficile” (Le tre Venezie, 1942, p. 263).
In 1936 he inherits the chair of his master Edoardo Rubino at the Albertina and in 1937 after winning a competition among 56 artists, he achieves in Turin one of his best known works: the pair of fountains with two big marble sculptures depicting the Po and the Dora Rivers, with an outcome typical of the Italian 20th century Neoclassicism.
Umberto Baglioni (Scalea 1893-Torino 1965)
Circa 1930
Cm 16 x 24 h
Exhibited at the 18th Venice Biennale (1932), as stated by a label under the base.
References: Enzo Le Pera, Arte di Calabria tra Otto e Novecento, Catanzaro 2001, p. 21; Marco Vallora, Dal divisionismo all’informale: tradizione, visionarietà e geometria nell’arte in Piemonte 1880-1960, Mazzotta 2011, p. 233.

An Iron and Gold Renaissance Masterpiece

Purse Mount_Alessandro Cesati

This spectacular purse frame is a very rare example of a scarcely known kind of object. It’s the clasp for a purse used by noblemen, bankers, moneychangers and merchants -rigorously men- for keeping coins, but also keys, letters and documents or the white handkerchief, an essential accessory for the adult gentleman; for sure, the purse was a status symbol for an aristocratic. It had no handle or shoulder strap but it was attached to the belt with metal hooks and worn on the right side; also, it was often coordinated with the belt buckle and the sword handle worn on the left.

1. Alessandro Allori, Portrait of Tommaso de’ Bardi, circa 1560 , Sotheby’s 2014, detail. 2.G. Mazzola Bedoli (ca. 1505 - ca. 1569), Portrait of a Boy of the Bracciforte Family, ca. 1560, Rochester (NY), Memorial Art Gallery, inv. 76.13, Marion Sutton Gould Fund

1. Alessandro Allori, Portrait of Tommaso de’ Bardi, circa 1560 , Sotheby’s 2014, detail.
2.G. Mazzola Bedoli (ca. 1505 – ca. 1569), Portrait of a Boy of the Bracciforte Family, ca. 1560, Rochester (NY), Memorial Art Gallery, inv. 76.13, Marion Sutton Gould Fund

Since the Middle Ages, the purse was a leather or velvet pouch closed by a bronze or iron clasp; slightly different purses were worn by huntsmen and pilgrims. We still have many paintings and portraits of gentlemen wearing purses, but only a few frames still exist in international museums collections, some with the bag still attached. However, the Italian Renaissance iron purse mounts of remarkable quality are very few and only rarely gilded (e.g. New York, Metropolitan Museum; Cleveland, Museum of Art; Ecouen, Musée National de la Renaissance; Paris, Petit Palais; Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum; London, Wallace Collection).

a.New York, Metropolitan b.Ecouen, Musée de la Renaissance c.Paris, Petit Palais

a.New York, Metropolitan Museum
b.Ecouen, Musée de la Renaissance
c.Paris, Petit Palais

This masterpiece iron clasp shows a refined and complex decoration on the front: the lower half presenting in the center the long-bearded Neptune holding the trident, laying within an oval frame adorned with scrolls and studs; Neptune is flanked by the allegories of two Rivers, represented as male figures resting on a jar; all the figures stand out against a golden background; the other parts of the mount are adorned with a pair of winged masks and intertwined scrolls; in the centre of the upper half there is another triad of figures: in the middle Jupiter, seated on a throne into an oval frame, on the left Mars, in a warlike suit with helmet and sword, on the right Vulcan; the three figures are chiselled in a very low relief against the golden background and both Mars and Vulcan are framed by two richly adorned scrolls; the descending sides have scrolls as well. The back is also decorated on the upper part with overlapping discs, volutes, interweaved geometric elements, and has some small holes used to stitch the velvet of the purse.

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The style and the technique are the same of the most beautiful 16th century armor suits made by the renowed Milan armourers such as Negroli, Pompeo della Cesa and Piccinino, who served the most important Italian and European families. In fact, besides the armour suits that made them so famous, Milanese armourers also produced different steel or iron luxury items, such as cabinets, mirrors, candlesticks, reliquaries, purse mounts, belts, swords hilts, horse bits, stirrups, saddles and powder flasks. About the real existence of the legendary damascener Martino Ghinelli there is no proof, but two main specialized workshops are known: the one belonging to Giovan Battista Panzeri, called the Sarabaglia (Milan, about 1517-1587), who was the brilliant pupil of Filippo Negroli and worked for Ferdinando Duca d’Aosta, Philip II of Spain and the dukes of Mantua; and the workshop of Giovanni Antonio Polacini called Romerio or Romé (around 1527- between 1595 and 1602). A couple of purse mounts, that must have been similar to the present one, appear in the inventory of a company lead by Panzeri and Marco Antonio Fava, another important iron master (see S. Leydi 2016).
The Milanese craftsmen achieved the highest levels in the art of ironworking. Their techniques, such as iron micro-sculpture, were used only in very rare cases for civil objects, such as this extraordinary Renaissance clasp, a work further embellished by the rare combined presence of both gilding and damascening (the complex decorative art of inlaying threads of precious metal into a dark metal background). The surprisingly well preserved gliding is an element of further rarity of the present piece.
The very high quality of this purse mount, the great technical difficulty necessary to make it and the presence of male divinities suggest it may have been made for an important, wealthy man, perhaps linked to the maritime world for privileges or economic activities. The richness of the decoration, typical of late Mannerism, allows to date the piece between the middle and the third quarter of the sixteenth century.


Wrought and chiselled iron, gilded and damascened in gold
Italy (Milan)
Circa 1570
Cm 13 x 12

References: La collection Spitzer: Antiquité, Moyen-age, Renaissance, Paris, Maison Quantin 1891, tome 3, p. 47, n° 20; Henri-René d’ Allemagne, Ferronerie ancienne, Catalogue du Musée Le Secq des Tournelles à Rouen, 2 voll. Schemitt, Paris 1924 (English version: Decorative antique ironwork, Dover Publ., New York 1968), plate 250; M. Delpierre, Indispensables accessoires, XVIe – XXe siècle, exh. cat. (Paris, Musée de la Mode et du Costume, 8 december 1983 – 23 april 1984, Palais Galliera), Paris 1983, p. 57, cat. 362-382 ; S. Leydi, Mobili milanesi in acciaio e metalli preziosi nell’età del Manierismo, in Fatto in Italia, dal Medioevo al Made in Italy, exh. cat. (Turin, Venaria Reale, 19 march – 10 july 2016, ed by A. Guerrini), Milan 2016, p. 121-137.

Alessandro Cesati at AMART Milano

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The AMART Antiques fair, organized by the Milanese Association of Antique Dealers, closed last Sunday welcoming nearly six thousand visitors and many famous guests.
The fair gave us the opportunity to show sculptures and works of art dating from the Middle Ages to the 20th Century, that aroused great interest and enthusiasm in many collectors and art lovers.
Among the artworks we showed, a female allegorical figure by a baroque venetian sculptor; a spectacular polychrome wax relief from the second half of 18th century, depicting the Adoration of the Shepherds, by a skillful Sicilian wax modeler and still enshrined in its original inlaid wood frame (we wrote an article about it); an elegant and slender sealing press in wrought, carved and engraved iron, made in Italy during 17th century.
Thanks to AMART, Milan restarts a tradition which had been interrupted some years ago.
We look forward to seeing you soon!Torchietto_Italia



This year the Alessandro Cesati Gallery is proud to celebrate its 20th consecutive participation to the TEFAF Maastricht (March 10 – 18, 2018), with an important selection of sculptures and works of art from the Renaissance to 20th century.

Cesati stand will have once again a highly relevant position in the layout of the fair, since it will be situated immediately after the right entrance of the exhibition.

Among the many and significant pieces presented by the Alessandro Cesati Gallery for this edition, it must be pointed out:

– a spectacular South-German baroque Strongbox with two armorial shields, the Imperial double-headed Eagle and a medallion depicting Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria. Due to the quality of the decoration and the elegance of the engravings, the strongbox is the result of a collaboration between an excellent locksmith and an outstanding goldsmith, a typical feature of Nuremberg tradition.

– an extraordinary Pair of Angels carved in Carrara marble, recently reattributed to the sculptors Gian Giacomo and Guglielmo della Porta and made during their Genoese activity, when they also received many important commissions for the Cathedral of the city.

-a Pair of intriguing Allegorical Paintings with a mysterious meaning recently unveiled. The painter is a curious artist active in Lombardy between the second half of the 17th  and the early 18th century, known as the Master of the Fertility of the Egg.

– a large Florentine terracotta high-relief, commissioned to celebrate the birth of a son of the couple Rospigliosi – Degli Albizzi, by Girolamo Ticciati, an important pupil of Giovan Battista Foggini and a celebrated artist at the Medici Court. The work is also a new and relevant proof of the artist’s early career.

TEFAF Maastricht will host more than 280 of the world’s finest art, antiques and design dealers, who will bring their very best pieces to the 2018 edition. Each section presents some of the most outstanding examples of fine and decorative arts available on the market: our section, TEFAF Antiques, is the largest of the fair, comprising 90 dealers. Also with our contribution, sculpture from across the centuries will be particularly well represented at the 2018 Fair.

We look forward to seeing you there!

TEFAF Maastricht – stand 155
MECC, Maastricht, March 10-18, 2018

For more information, please visit: