The presentation of exceptional sculpture has been a priority here at Colnaghi since the gallery’s founding in 1760; from Colnaghi’s sale of Cellini’s Bust of Bindo Altoviti to Isabelle Stewart Gardner to, more recently, proudly playing a part in highlighting the importance of certain areas that had been long overlooked – most notably Spanish polychrome sculpture of the Golden Age and, in Colnaghi's Discovering Viceregal Latin American Treasures exhibition, bringing focus to the sculptures and treasures from what was then known as the New World.
The present exhibition, however, is more a voyage of rediscovery than an exploration of new worlds. This voyage has led to some truly remarkable findings, in which we have been aided by the scholarship and connoisseurship of leading experts who have contributed the catalogue entries. The most exciting of these is undoubtedly that on the Donatello terracotta of San Lorenzo: one of only a handful of surviving works by the artist in this medium. Thanks to the remarkable detective work of Professor Francesco Caglioti, the terracotta has now been recognized as a long mis-attributed masterpiece originating from the Pieve of San Lorenzo in Borgo San Lorenzo, near Florence.
We are sincerely grateful to the scholars and connoisseurs that have contributed to this exhibition and to the accompanying catalogue: Francesco Caglioti, Jeremy Warren, Peter Humfrey, Rosario Coppel, Jeremy Howard and Peter Marino.
Colnaghi is especially honoured to be partnering with our friends at Venetian Heritage on their forthcoming exhibition From Donatello to Vittoria, 1450-1600: 150 years of sculpture in the Venetian Republic. The exhibition will take place at Museo della Galleria Giorgio Franchetti at the Ca’ d’Oro in La Serenissima in the Spring of 2022, and will allow visitors to compare our Tintoretto portrait with the bust by Alessandro Vittoria that depicts the same sitter. It will be particularly interesting to see Antonio Lombardo’s relief of the Death of Lucretia among the other great works from the Lombardo family workshop that reside within the Ca d’Oro. To see these masterpieces and these dialogues among the other great sculptural works of the Venetian Renaissance will, we hope, prove to be a special occasion.
During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Italian Renaissance sculpture was one of the most important and highly esteemed collecting fields. Sometime around the middle of the nineteenth century, Michelangelo’s David came to be more highly regarded than the Apollo Belvedere, and Italian Renaissance sculpture more avidly sought after by both private collectors - such as J. Pierpont Morgan, Baron Franchetti in Venice, Nelly Jacquemart and her husband, Edouard André, in Paris, Oscar Hainauer in Berlin and Johann II, Prince of Liechtenstein in Vienna - and by the great museums at that time, such as the Bode Museum in Berlin and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. This was a period of migration of sculptural masterpieces from the private collections and churches of Italy, which not only enriched the private and public collections of Europe and America, but also led to the formation of notable museum collections in Italy.
In the early Renaissance in Florence, the most important innovations manifested themselves in sculpture earlier than in painting. The much-travelled sculptor Donatello, who is really the hero of the present exhibition, exercised a seminal influence on painters in northern Italy such as Mantegna and Giovanni Bellini. So, in a fundamental way, engagement with sculpture enhances one’s appreciation and understanding of painting as well as offering to collectors the tactile satisfaction of handling objects in their collection. We hope that this exhibition of exceptional Renaissance works will inspire the next generation of connoisseurs and collectors in this field.
If you would like to purchase a printed version of the catalogue, please get in touch: email@example.com
Virtual Reality Tour
Other works on view at Colnaghi New York