Forward Continental European before 1800, Sculpture 10 Is this a bust of Democritus, the so-called ‘Laughing Philosopher’?

NTIV_HUGH_429087_001
Topic: Subject or sitter

Another example of this bust is at the V&A, where it is listed as Italian, first half of 18th century, but not attributed to a specific sculptor (though the Marinali attribution is perfectly plausible). However, the V&A has this as a bust of Democritus, the so-called "Laughing Philosopher," which is also perfectly plausible. See https://bit.ly/3wMvNrD and https://bit.ly/2USm31S

Jacinto Regalado, Entry reviewed by Art UK

10 comments

Maichol Clemente,

Good morning. This very interesting bust is effectively a depiction of Democritus. The reference to Orazio Marinali is incorrect. in truth it is a reduction of the bust of the philosopher sculpted by Giusto Le Court and today in the Ponce museum.
This work may refer to Le Court's pupil: Enrico Merengo. the work of the V&E is by Alvise Tagliapietra, a pupil of Merengo.

Jacinto Regalado,

Is there an image of the Democritus bust at Ponce online? It does not appear to be accessible via the museum's website, though I understand the museum also has the pair to the Democritus bust, Heraclitus, also by Giusto Le Court. Heraclitus was known as "the weeping philosopher."

Jacinto Regalado,

The Ponce bust is below (clicking on the image will enlarge it). It is very close to the V&A bust, and at least formerly it was attributed to Marinali. Our bust is clearly related to it:

https://bit.ly/3xKxJlD

Jacinto Regalado,

Le Court, Merengo and Tagliapietra were all active in and associated with the Venice/Veneto area, so one could reasonably attribute this bust to Italian (Venetian) School should the collection so choose.

Jacinto Regalado,

This kind of bust, common in Venice in the second half of the 17th century and early 18th century, is known as a character bust. Le Court (who was of Flemish extraction) is considered the originator, but there other noted exponents like Marinali.

Jacinto Regalado,

There *were* other noted exponents like Marinali.

Maichol Clemente,

Here are many things to clarify.
The V & A bust, with pendant, was rightly attributed to Alvise Tagliapietra in 2002.
The Padua corset is not marine, but a bust of the Bottega of Michele Fabris called the Ongaro.
Marble reliefs are not marinal: rightly attributed to Giovanni Bonazza a few years ago.
The Satyr Bust: it is not Venetian, the attribution is incomprehensible and wrong.

Jacinto Regalado,

It appears that the V&A, the Padua Museo d'Arte, and the National Trust (which owns Hughenden Manor) are not aware of or have not accepted these attributions to Tagliapietra, Fabris and Bonazza, respectively. Who made them?

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