Nineteenth century replica of an Imperial-age portrait bust
Height: 23 cm
Width: max 18 cm
Recovered by the Guardia di Finanza in 2003
The small sculpture represents the head of a small girl. Her hair is formed by wavy locks, divided into two braided bands by a part at the front. The bands are gathered into a small bun, the hair is fastened with a light fillet, its thin laces are tied at the nape of the neck and hang from the small knot. The nose’s missing point reveals a nineteenth-century repair. Restoration in plaster appears on the ears, on the right cheek, and the anterior fracture between neck and bust. The surfaces are very polished. It is made of white, crystalline, fine-grain marble, with stucco in milk-white plaster. There is repeated use of a drill to create the locks of hair and some of the anatomical particularities of the nose, the mouth, and the eyes. The bust rests on a parallelepiped base with softened angles, probably done later, in pavonazzetto marble. The figure’s face has a high forehead, lightly protruding, from which the small nose sticks out, the eyes are flat, the lips are half-open and thick, and the ears are exposed and minute. There are no useful elements for the identification of the production atelier of the small bust, certainly of noble status; in the statue repertoire there are numerous Roman copies of Greek sculptures and a group of portrait busts- with varying typological characteristics- of infants with classic craftsmanship. The type at hand is rather generic and its identification is therefore quite difficult. The work is of a neoclassic production and is of mere interest for a collector. However, it is surely derived stylistically from sculptures of the early Imperial age. The accuracy of the portrait and its physiognomic realism make this small masterpiece an exquisite testimony of the eclecticism of the Grand Tour.
Maria Cristina Recco