An Outstanding Fountain Mask

An Outstanding Fountain Mask

This beautiful sculpture depicts an elegant female head whose face – crowned by a head of hair sculpted with great refinement with the chisel tip – is framed by a veil closed with a knot below the chin.
The hairstyle distinguishing this head (whose prototype can be tracked in the hairstyles of the Roman matrons of the Republican era), is embellished by two curls falling to the center of the forehead and by the presence of the veil surrounding the head, knotted under the chin with a triangular flap that falls in the middle of the head like a precious ornament.
The slightly parted lips, through which we can easily recognize the wide and deep hole from which the water flowed, followed by the lower gaze of the figure, are elements clearly indicating the original function of the sculpture as a fountain mask.

outstanding-Fountain-mask, marble, Baroque, Venice, Francesco Cavrioli, sculpture, art, antiques Francesco Cavrioli (news, 1630 - 1670) FOUNTAIN MASK, marble, Venice, 1640

Heads carved as fountain masks, like the one examined here, are typical of the Venetian sculptural production between the 16th and 18th century. They were, and still are, placed within the domains of the Serenissima Repubblica as fountains ornaments in the middle of squares and urban settings. They were also used as decoration of gardens both of Venetian villas and city palaces, even in Venice itself.
The piece presented here can be precisely traced back to the production of a Venetian sculptor – Francesco Cavrioli – who remained little-known until a few years ago. His work has been documented since the fourth decade of the 17th century, through sculptures in marble and in bronze.
The taste for decorative details handed back with subtle elegance is a constant element of Cavrioli’s language, which is immediately recognizable in our fountain mask, as well as in the Virgin with Child at the Victoria and Albert Museum, recently re-attributed to him after being referred – for a long time – to the well-known Venetian artist Gerolamo Campagna.

Francesco Cavrioli (news between 1630 and 1670)
White marble
H cm 38
Circa 1640

Detailed report by Dr.Simone Guerriero

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