GALLERIES/Lullo • Pampoulides
Documented from 1535 to c. 1560
1540 - 1550
89 × 54 cm. (35 ⅛ × 21 ¼ in.)
PROVENANCE:Private collection France until sold at Christies, London, 9 December 2004, lot 203 (as 'Follower of the Lombardi');
Private collection United Kingdom.
FURTHER INFORMATION:This splendid bust, in exceptional condition, depicts Cleopatra bitten by a snake. The polished surfaces, the physiognomic features and the hairstyle immediately evoke Venetian sculpture of the first half of the 16th century, such as the famous relief with Bacchus and Ariadne by Tullio Lombardo in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna (c. 1510). In Venetian Renaissance sculpture, the all'antica portrait had a great success, leading to the production of pseudo-antique busts, or re-elaborating classical themes such as, for example, the aforementioned Bacchus and Ariadne. Several masters tried their hand at these popular themes, and it is undoubtedly in this historical and cultural context that the author of this Cleopatra must be identified. The present Cleopatra is typical of Venetian sculpture at a time of transition between early Renaissance and Sansovino's "modern manner". At the same time it is good to underline the exceptionality of the bust under examination here, effectively one of the earliest examples of this genre, depicting a secular, and yet not pseudo-ancient subject, which would have had a huge fortune in the later Venetian Baroque. In fact, stylistic analysis suggests that this work is chronologically must be dated to c. 1550
and that it should be referred to one of Sansovino's most important collaborators, Tommaso Lombardo.