Prophet in oriental dress

Italian (Venice) (possibly)
about 1600

Object Place: Venice, Italy (possibly)


18.4 x 6.7 x 4.8 cm (7 1/4 x 2 5/8 x 1 7/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Italian Renaissance Gallery (Gallery 206)





The small scale of this gilt-bronze figure, the relatively unfinished back and hollow underside suggest that it was made to be incorporated, with others of its kind, into a larger architectural framework, perhaps a house altar. Stylistically, the sculpture recalls the work of Venetian sculptor Alessandro Vittoria (1525-1608). It is possible, however, that it was made in Augsburg where Venetian influence was strong; nevertheless the figure is much less dynamic than most South German sculpture of this period, the only gesture made by the detachable left hand. Despite the overall static effect of this piece, there is considerable visual interest resulting from the contrast of matt and chased areas, such as the fur of the hat, the beard, the fringe on the robe and the texture of the inner garment, with plain burnished areas.


Before 1976, David Peel & Co., London. By 1976, John Goelet, New York; 1976, gift of John Goelet to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 12, 1977)

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. John Goelet in honor of Hanns Swarzenski