• Explore a wide variety of works made in Renaissance Italy, some that display interest in the everyday world, others that express religious beliefs and devotions or reflect on the legacy of the ancient past. Artists developed innovative techniques to enhance expression and beauty. This gallery includes sculptures and paintings made for private homes and churches, and ceramics and furniture made for household use and luxury decoration.

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  • Madonna of the Clouds

    Italian (Florence)
    Renaissance
    about 1425–35
    Donatello (Italian, 1386–1466)

    Object Place: Europe, Florence, Italy

    Description

    Marble. Madonna and child with angels, cherubs


    Donatello was one of the most innovative sculptors in the history of European sculpture. He carved this image in flattened relief (rilievo schiacciato), a technique, which he invented, in which a sculptor could create the illusion of volumetric forms set into deep, continuous space with the most subtle and shallow carving. The Madonna sits as if on the ground, to convey the idea of humility, but Donatello sets her in the clouds, so she also becomes Queen of Heaven. A feeling of weighty foreboding is expressed in the Madonna’s somber profile, which seems to look into the Christ Child’s tragic future.

    Provenance

    By 1902, Quincy Adams Shaw (b. 1825 - d. 1908), Boston [see note 1]; 1917, gift of Quincy Adams Shaw, through Quincy Adams Shaw Jr., and Mrs. Marian Shaw Haughton, to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 29, 1917) NOTES: [1] Exactly when and how Quincy Adams Shaw acquired the relief is not known. Wilhelm von Bode stated that it had been in a church in Rome; see his "Denkmäler der Renaissance-Sculptur Toscanas" (Munich, 1892-1905), text vol., p. 42. However, Georg Swarzenski ("Donatello's 'Madonna in the Clouds' and Fra Bartolommeo," Bulletin of the Museum of Fine Arts, vol. 40, no. 240, August, 1942, p. 68) casts serious doubts upon this hypothesis. It was certainly in his possession by 1902, when Bode published it, in "Florentiner Bildhauer der Renaissance" (Berlin, 1902), pp. 119-120 and p. 200, fig. 87, as in the Shaw collection.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Quincy Adams Shaw through Quincy Adams Shaw, Jr. and Mrs. Marian Shaw Haughton

    Details

    Dimensions

    33.1 x 32 cm (13 1/16 x 12 5/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1470

    Medium or Technique

    Stone; marble

    On View

    Italian Renaissance Gallery (Gallery 206)

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  • Virgin and child with two angels

    Italian (Padua)
    About 1460–70
    Bartolomeo Bellano (Italian (Padua), 1437–1496/7)

    Object Place: Europe, Padua, Italy

    Description

    Terracotta relief. Formerly in a gilded frame.


    This powerfully modeled relief displays an intensity of emotion that recalls works by Donatello, with whom Bellano worked in Padua and Florence. The severe profile of the Virgin, which overlaps part of the Child’s face, creates a sense of foreboding, while the baby, who kicks out a leg and pulls on his mother’s veil, brings child-like animation to the encounter.

    Provenance

    By 1896, Quincy Adams Shaw (b. 1825 - d. 1908), Boston; 1917, gift of Quincy Adams Shaw, through Quincy Adams Shaw Jr., and Mrs. Marian Shaw Haughton, to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 29, 1917)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Quincy Adams Shaw through Quincy Adams Shaw, Jr., and Mrs. Marian Shaw Haughton

    Details

    Dimensions

    78.7 x 67.3 x 11.4 cm (31 x 26 1/2 x 4 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1462

    Medium or Technique

    Terracotta with traces of polychromy

    On View

    Italian Renaissance Gallery (Gallery 206)

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  • Saint Mary Magdalen surrounded by Angels

    Ecstacy of Saint Mary Magdalen

    Italian (Florence)
    Renaissance
    about 1480–1500
    Unidentified artist, Italian (Florentine), 15th century (Italian (Florentine))

    Object Place: Florence, Italy

    Description

    Terracotta; figure in a mandorla, surrounded by nine cherubs on clouds; formerly mounted on a rectangular piece of wood.

    Provenance

    By 1895, Mrs. C.C. Perkins, Boston; 1895, gift of Mrs. C.C. Perkins to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 10, 1895)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mrs. C. C. Perkins

    Details

    Dimensions

    64.5 x 40 cm (25 3/8 x 15 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    95.1377

    Medium or Technique

    Terracotta with traces of polychromy

    On View

    Italian Renaissance Gallery (Gallery 206)

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  • Nativity with Gloria in Excelsis

    Italian (Florence)
    Renaissance
    about 1470
    Luca della Robbia (Italian, Florence, 1399 or 1400–1482)

    Object Place: Europe, Florence, Italy

    Description

    Glazed terracotta; blue ground, white figures; slight green and yellow color.

    Provenance

    By 1896, Quincy Adams Shaw (b. 1825 - d. 1908), Boston; 1917; gift of Quincy A. Shaw, through Quincy Adams Shaw, Jr., and Mrs. Marian Shaw Haughton to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 29, 1917)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Quincy Adams Shaw through Quincy Adams Shaw, Jr., and Mrs. Marian Shaw Haughton

    Details

    Dimensions

    88.9 x 73.7cm (35 x 29in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1463

    Medium or Technique

    Glazed terracotta

    On View

    Italian Renaissance Gallery (Gallery 206)

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  • Virgin and child with lilies

    Italian (Florence)
    Renaissance
    about 1460–70
    Attributed to Luca della Robbia (Italian, Florence, 1399 or 1400–1482)

    Object Place: Italy

    Description

    Blue, white and green with gold halos. Terracotta.


    Luca della Robbia was famous for the invention and perfection of glazed terra cotta sculpture. This technique allowed the sculptor to model in the inexpensive medium of clay. Firing in a kiln imparted durability to the clay and additional firing with pigmented tin glazes achieved a lasting brilliance and purity of color. The della Robbia family workshop produced many reliefs representing the Virgin and Child: this one shows Mary as the Madonna of Humility, with the Christ Child reaching out for lilies, a symbol of the Virgin’s purity.

    Provenance

    Quincy Adams Shaw (b. 1825 - d. 1908), Boston [see note 1]; 1917, gift of Quincy Adams Shaw, through Quincy Adams Shaw, Jr., and Mrs. Marian Shaw Haughton, to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 29, 1917)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Quincy Adams Shaw through Quincy Adams Shaw, Jr., and Mrs. Marian Shaw Haughton

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 48 x 38cm (18 7/8 x 14 15/16in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1476

    Medium or Technique

    Glazed terracotta

    On View

    Italian Renaissance Gallery (Gallery 206)

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  • Judith

    Italian (Florence)
    Renaissance
    about 1520
    Giovanni della Robbia (Italian, Florentine, 1469–1529 (?))

    Object Place: Europe, Florence, Italy

    Description

    Judith on rectangular base, yellow sides, low relief on front & winged figures at front corners. In flowing blue robe yellow trimmed & tied, slashed at sides, white undershirt & blouse, holds sword in upraised right arm (mended) head of Holofernes in left.

    Provenance

    Adolf von Beckerath (b. 1834 - d. 1915), Berlin [see note 1]. By 1923, A. S. Drey, Munich [see note 2]; sold by Drey, probably to Delia Spencer (Mrs. Marshall) Field (b. 1854 - d. 1937), Paris and Washington, D.C.; probably by inheritance to her niece, Catherine Spencer (Mrs. Albert J.) Beveridge, Beverly Farms, MA; 1946, gift of Mrs. Albert J. Beveridge to the MFA. (Accession Date: September 12, 1946) NOTES: [1] According to information provided by Mrs. Beveridge, this statuette and its companion (MFA accession no. 46.840) had come from the collection of Beckerath and were sold in Berlin. [2] The exact date that the statuettes were sold is unknown. Mrs. Beveridge provided an undated list of works of art that had been acquired from Drey, probably by her aunt, Mrs. Marshall Field. That the Judith was with Drey in 1923 was noted by Frank J. Mather and published by Allan Marquand, The Brothers of Giovanni della Robbia (Princeton, 1928), 188, cat. no. 212b.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mrs. Albert J. Beveridge in memory of Delia Spencer Field

    Details

    Dimensions

    71.12 cm (28 in.)

    Accession Number

    46.839

    Medium or Technique

    Glazed terracotta

    Not On View

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  • Head of Flora

    Italian (Florence)
    Renaissance
    about 1500
    Giovanni della Robbia (Italian, Florentine, 1469–1529 (?))

    Object Place: Florence, Italy

    Description

    Glazed terracotta; wreath of flowers in polychrome, face and hair white.

    Credit Line

    Zoe Oliver Sherman Collection

    Details

    Dimensions

    17.5 x 13.5 x 14 cm (6 7/8 x 5 5/16 x 5 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    22.658

    Medium or Technique

    Glazed terracotta

    On View

    Italian Renaissance Gallery (Gallery 206)

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  • Saint John the Baptist

    Italian (Florence)
    Renaissance
    About 1505–15
    Giovanni Francesco Rustici (Italian, Florentine, 1474–1554)

    Object Place: Florence, Italy

    Description

    White glazed terracotta figure of St. John the Baptist, barefoot and dressed in animal skins.


    With sharply turned head and intensely focused gaze, this figure of Saint John seems almost to speak. The statue is attributed to Giovanni Francesco Rustici, the Florentine sculptor, who worked most closely with Leonardo da Vinci. The sculpture’s creamy white glaze, very different from the pure white achieved by the della Robbia workshop, suggests that even in this monochrome sculpture Rustici was seeking a particular coloristic effect through contrast of light and shadow.

    Provenance

    1950, Irene Rothschild (Mrs. Solomon R.) Guggenheim (b. 1868 - d. 1954), New York; 1950, gift of Mrs. Solomon R. Guggenheim to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 8, 1950)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mrs. Solomon R. Guggenheim

    Details

    Dimensions

    100.3 x 33 x 26.7 cm (39 1/2 x 13 x 10 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    50.2624

    Medium or Technique

    Glazed terracotta

    Not On View

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  • Portrait of a Woman with a Pearl Necklace

    probably 1485–1495
    Lorenzo Costa (Italian (Ferrarese), about 1460–1535)

    Description

    Provenance

    By 1883, Mary Rich (Mrs. Thomas O.) Richardson (d. 1924), Boston and Newport, RI [see note 1]; 1925, bequest of Mrs. Thomas O. Richardson to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 4, 1925) NOTES: [1] She first lent the painting to the MFA in 1883.

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Mrs. Thomas O. Richardson

    Details

    Dimensions

    44.1 x 33.9 cm (17 3/8 x 13 3/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    25.227

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on panel

    On View

    Italian Renaissance Gallery (Gallery 206)

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  • Bust of a woman

    Italian (possibly Montelupo)
    Renaissance
    about 1490–1500

    Description

    Head turned slightly left, sleeves striped in green, blue and yellow. Yellow bodice with flowered ornament, painted necklace. White bandings in hair surround hole in top of head.


    There are very few large-scale sculptures in maiolica, a material usually reserved for smaller vessels and plates. But here the characteristic colors of Renaissance pottery are used in a portrait bust of a young woman who wears bright, sumptuous clothes and jewels, characteristic dress for a young betrothed or recently married woman. The ambitious maker of this bust even tried to achieve realistic flesh tones in the glazes.

    Provenance

    Emile Gavet (b. 1830 - d. 1904), Paris [see note 1]. Probably by 1907, J. Pierpont Morgan (b. 1837– d. 1913), London; 1916, sold from the Morgan collection to Duveen Brothers, Inc., London and Paris [see note 2]; 1932, shipped from Duveen, Paris, to Duveen, New York; 1954, sold by Duveen to the MFA for $12,000. (Accession Date: April 8, 1954) NOTES: [1] According to a letter from Bernard Rackham to Georg Swarzenski (May 24, 1955; in MFA curatorial file). This has not been verified. [2] The bust was first published by Georg Swarzenski in Illustrierte Geschichte des Kunstgewerbes, vol. 1 (Berlin, 1907), pp. 512, 514, where it was said to be in London. It was probably already in the collection of J. Pierpont Morgan at this time. In a letter to Georg Swarzenski, Edward Fowles of Duveen (March 24, 1954; Duveen Brothers records, Getty Research Institute, Box 262, folder 18) writes that the bust "must have been one of the very early purchases by Mr. J. P. Morgan, Sr., and probably from Durlacher Brothers, from whom he purchased most of his early works of art. After Mr. Morgan, Sr.'s death, we bought the bust with the remainder of the Majolica Collection from the family, in 1916."

    Credit Line

    William Francis Warden Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    53.3 x 43.2 x 21.6 cm (21 x 17 x 8 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    54.146

    Medium or Technique

    Tin-glazed earthenware (maiolica)

    On View

    Italian Renaissance Gallery (Gallery 206)

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    Europe

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    Ceramics, Pottery, Earthenware

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  • The Last Supper

    Italian (Faenza)
    Renaissance
    16th century

    Description

    Christ and twelve Disciples are seated on stools at a rectangular table, which is set with plates, cups, pitchers, and knives. Food includes rolls on the table, and meat, lemons, and other items on dishes. Three of the Disciples stand at either end of the table, with their stools pushed back behind them. Christ is seated in the center of the table, with long blonde hair and beard, and is wearing an ochre robe with blue mantel. Seated to his left is the young blonde, beardless figure of Saint John the Evangelist, and directly across from Christ is Judas, who holds a bag of money in his right hand. All the figures are barefoot, all but three have beards, and all, except Christ and Saint John, are dark haired. The figures are dressed in robes and mantels of blue, green, and ochre. The floor is painted blue, molded to look like stone, and is incised and lined in brown.


    Composed of moveable figures, this Last Supper may have been a seasonal decoration, taken out and arranged during the week leading up to Easter Sunday. Such miniature tableaux are unusual, and provide a rare glimpse of how devotional practices became part of the decoration of the private home or monastery. Christ and the twelve apostles are seated around a table set with maiolica jugs, plates of food, and knives-forks were not yet customary at table.

    Credit Line

    Bequest of R. Thornton Wilson in memory of Florence Ellsworth Wilson

    Details

    Dimensions

    H. 8 1/2"; W. 12 5/6" (14 3/4" with base); L. 22 7/8" (24 1/2" with base)

    Accession Number

    1983.61

    Medium or Technique

    Tin-glazed earthenware (maiolica)

    On View

    Italian Renaissance Gallery (Gallery 206)

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    Ceramics

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  • Plate with oak pattern (cerquate)

    Italian (Urbino or Castel Durante)
    about 1525–45

    Object Place: Urbino or Casteldurante, Italy

    Description

    Dark blue ground, green rim, decoration of oak branches and acorns in yellow, symbolic of the della Rovere family of Urbino; orange medallion in center, beaded rim, man’s head flanked S V. Back painted over with flaking yellow substance.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mrs. Thomas O. Richardson

    Details

    Dimensions

    Diameter: 24.1 cm (9 1/2 in.); height: 2.5 cm (1 in.)

    Accession Number

    22.45

    Medium or Technique

    Tin-glazed earthenware (maiolica)

    On View

    Italian Renaissance Gallery (Gallery 206)

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    Ceramics, Pottery, Earthenware

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  • Plate depicting the story of Perseus and Andromeda from the Isabella d'Este service

    Italian (Urbino)
    Renaissance
    about 1524
    Painted by Nicola da Urbino (Italian, active by 1520, died in 1537–38)

    Description

    This plate forms part of an original set of 24 with the emblems of Isabella d’Este-Gonzaga (1474-1539), wife of Francesco Gonzaga and celebrated Renaissance patron of the arts. The set is painted with mythological scenes, mostly from prints after Ovid’s Metamorphoses, with the exception of two Biblical subjects. The plates include the arms of Gonzaga impaling Este as well as several of Isabella’s imprese (emblems) and devices. Represented is a scene of the young Perseus who, after having slain Medusa, came to the rescue of Andromeda. She had been chained to a rock by the wrathful sea God, Poseidon and subjected to a terrible sea monster. Perseus killed the monster, freed and later married her.


    This plate is one of twenty-two surviving pieces of a splendid service made for Isabella d’Este, duchess of Mantua; it bears her coat-of-arms in the center. In spite of being constantly short of money, Isabella was an ambitious patron of the arts with, as she admitted, an “insatiable desire” for ancient Greek and Roman art.
    Tin-glazed earthenware, known as maiolica, was often decorated during this period with scenes from classical mythology. This plate features the exploits of the mythological Greek hero Perseus who beheaded the snake-haired gorgon Medusa (whose head he holds, at left) and rescued the princess Andromeda, chained to a rock by a monster. The composition is derived from a woodcut in a 1497 edition of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

    Provenance

    About 1524, Isabella d'Este (b. 1474 - d. 1539), Mantua (original commission) [see note 1]. Baron Gustave de Rothschild (b. 1829 - d. 1911); by descent to his grandson, Baron Henri de Lambert (b. 1887 - d. 1933) and his wife, Baroness Johanna von Reininghaus de Lambert (b. 1899 - d. 1960), Brussels and New York; March 7, 1941, Baroness Lambert sale, Parke-Bernet, New York, lot 94, to Arnold, Seligmann Rey and Co., New York, for the MFA for $1100. (Accession Date: March 13, 1941) NOTES: [1] This is one in a service of 21 plates made for Isabella d'Este, wife of Gian Francesco Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua. See J. V. G. Mallet, "Mantua and Urbino: Gonzaga Patronage of Maiolica," Apollo, September 1981, pp. 162-169 and ibid., "The Gonzaga and Ceramics," in exh. cat. "Splendours of the Gonzaga," ed. David Chambers and Jane Martineau (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, November 4, 1981 - January 31, 1982), pp. 39-43.

    Credit Line

    Otis Norcross Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Diam: 26.8 cm (10 9/16 in.); Height: 5.1 cm (2 in.)

    Accession Number

    41.105

    Medium or Technique

    Tin-glazed earthenware (maiolica)

    On View

    Alyce Morrissey Gallery (Kunstkammer) (Gallery 143)

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    Europe

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    Ceramics, Pottery, Earthenware

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  • Roman Emperor (Julius Caesar)

    A Roman Emperor

    Italian (Florence)
    Renaissance
    around 1455
    Mino da Fiesole (Italian, 1429–1484)

    Object Place: Europe, Florence, Italy

    Description

    Crowned with laurel and dressed in armor, this unidentified Roman emperor’s face is shown in pure profile while his shoulders twist, adding a sense of three-dimensionality and movement to the figure. The relief is a reminder of the importance of ancient models for Renaissance Florentines. Giovanni de’Medici, for example, commissioned reliefs of the Roman emperors as decorations for the family palace.

    Provenance

    Quincy Adams Shaw (b. 1825 - d. 1908), Boston; 1917, gift of Quincy Adams Shaw, through Quincy Adams Shaw Jr., and Mrs. Marian Shaw Haughton, to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 29, 1917)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Quincy Adams Shaw through Quincy Adams Shaw, Jr., and Mrs. Marian Shaw Haughton

    Details

    Dimensions

    40 x 34 x 7.6 cm (15 3/4 x 13 3/8 x 3 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1471

    Medium or Technique

    Stone; Marble

    On View

    Italian Renaissance Gallery (Gallery 206)

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  • Plate with profile of an emperor

    Italian (Deruta)
    about 1520–40

    Object Place: Deruta, Italy

    Description

    Profile head of an Emperor.

    Inscription

    NEMO SUO SORTE CO[N]TENTO

    Provenance

    Rome. Mr. George Washington Wales; 1895, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. George Washington Wales to the MFA.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mr. and Mrs. George Washington Wales

    Details

    Dimensions

    Diameter: 41.2cm (16 1/4in.)

    Accession Number

    95.395

    Medium or Technique

    Tin-glazed earthenware (maiolica)

    On View

    Italian Renaissance Gallery (Gallery 206)

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    Europe

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    Ceramics, Pottery, Earthenware

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  • Bust of Christ

    Italian, Venice
    Renaissance
    about 1500
    Possibly by Cristoforo Solari (Italian (Milan), about 1468/70–1524)

    Description

    Marble Bust of Christ.


    This powerful sculpture probably once decorated a church interior. It displays sensitive modeling of the face and neck as well as carefully worked undercutting and incising of the long flowing hair and beard. The idealizing style and high quality of this bust make it an important example of Venetian sculpture around 1500. Another version is in the Church of San Pantalon in Venice.

    Provenance

    Quincy Adams Shaw (b. 1825 - d. 1908), Boston; 1917, gift of Quincy Adams Shaw, through Quincy Adams Shaw, Jr., and Mrs. Marian Shaw Haughton, to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 29, 1917)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Quincy Adams Shaw through Quincy Adams Shaw, Jr., and Mrs. Marian Shaw Haughton

    Details

    Dimensions

    49.5 x 55.9 x 34.3 cm (19 1/2 x 22 x 13 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1480

    Medium or Technique

    Marble

    On View

    Italian Renaissance Gallery (Gallery 206)

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  • Bust of Cleopatra

    Italian (Mantua)
    Renaissance
    about 1519–22
    Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi (Italian, about 1460–1528)

    Description

    Patinated black surface (with bronze shining through), and traces of gilding. Life-size bust with head turned and bent, eyes downcast, Classical face, wavy hair. Crown and serpent on base identify it as Cleopatra. Diadem, two buttons at top of gown.


    This bust is identified as Cleopatra, ancient queen of Egypt, by her crown and by the small serpent that decorates the base. Once Cleopatra lost all hope of regaining control of Egypt from the Romans, she is believed to have committed suicide by the poisonous bite of a snake. The bust reflects an ancient Roman prototype and was made by an artist whose nickname, Antico, resulted from his exceptional skill in such ancient techniques as bronze casting. The bust probably belonged to Isabella d’Este, Marchioness of Mantua.

    Provenance

    By 1626, probably in the collection of Ferdinando Gonzaga (b. 1587 - d. 1626), Mantua [see note 1]. Said to have been acquired either in Belgium or in England by Julius Goldschmidt (b. 1882 - d. 1964), London [see note 2]; 1964, sold by the estate of Julius Goldschmidt to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 9, 1964) NOTES: [1] This sculpture has been associated with a bronze bust of "a woman with two crowns" (perhaps referring to the double crown in the present bust) included in the inventory of the estate of Ferdinando Gonzaga in 1627 (see Detlef Heikamp, L'Antico, Milan 1966, pl. XV). This has led to the hypothesis that it was one of several "bronze heads" that Antico wrote about to Isabella d'Este (b. 1474 - d. 1539) in 1519. However, this has not been proven. See, for example, Ann Hersey Allison, “L’Antico e i fratelli Lombardo: relazioni tra Venezia e le corti di Mantova e Ferrara, circa 1490-1530,” in L’industria artistica del Bronzo del Rinascimento a Venezia e nell’Italia Settentrionale, ed. Matteo Ceriana and Victoria Avery (2007), pp. 123-126. [2] That the bust was discovered in Belgium is according to notes in the MFA curatorial file, and has been published by Ann Hersey Allison, "The Bronzes of Pier Jacopo Alari-Bonacolsi, called Antico," Jahrbuch der kunsthistorischen Sammlungen in Wien 89/90 (1993-1994), p. 240. According to information provided by curator Hanns Swarzenski at the time of the sculpture's acquisition, it had been "recently discovered in England" by dealer Julius Goldschmidt.

    Credit Line

    William Francis Warden Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    64.45 cm (25 3/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    64.2174

    Medium or Technique

    Metal; bronze, with traces of gilding

    On View

    Italian Renaissance Gallery (Gallery 206)

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  • Architecture

    Italian (Florence)
    Renaissance
    about 1600
    Giambologna (Jean Boulogne) (Flemish (worked in Italy), 1529–1608)

    Object Place: Europe, Florence, Italy

    Description

    Figure of “Architecture”. Nude female figure wearing fillet, drapery over right leg, holding in right hand a drawing instruments and in her left a drawing board. Signed on lower edge of drawing, GIO BOLONGE.


    Personifying Architecture, this figure holds a framing square, protractor, and compass. The bronze’s surface finish is of the highest quality, and the graceful, twisting pose and turn of the head encourage viewing from all sides.

    Signed

    Signed on lower edge of tablet, GIO BOLONGE.

    Provenance

    Edmund Hegan Kennard (b. 1834 - d. 1912), London [see note 1]. By December 1937, with Arnold Seligmann, Rey and Co., Inc., New York [see note 2]; by October, 1938, sold by Seligmann [see note 3]. M. Knoedler and Co., London; sold by Knoedler to Clendenin James Ryan (b. 1882 - d. 1939); January 19-20, 1940, posthumous Ryan sale, Parke Bernet, New York, to Paul M. Byk of Arnold Seligmann, Rey and Co., for the MFA for $2420. (Accession Date: February 8, 1940) NOTES: [1] According to the Ryan auction cataloge ("Gothic and Renaissance Paintings and British XVIII Century Portraits," Parke Bernet Galleries, January 19-20, 1940, p. 125, cat. no. 270). [2] In a letter from Paul M. Byk of Arnold Seligmann, Rey and Co. to George Edgell, MFA (December 4, 1937), the sculpture is referred to as "our" bronze -- i.e., in the possession of the gallery -- but "still in Europe". It was probably at the Paris branch of Arnold Seligmann et Cie. [3] See letter from Byk to Edwin J. Hipkiss of the MFA (October 6, 1938; in MFA curatorial file). He does not specify to whom it was sold.

    Credit Line

    Maria Antoinette Evans Fund and 1931 Purchase Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 45.1 x 12.1 x 15.2 cm (17 3/4 x 4 3/4 x 6 in.)

    Accession Number

    40.23

    Medium or Technique

    Metal; Bronze; marble base

    On View

    Alyce Morrissey Gallery (Kunstkammer) (Gallery 143)

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  • Jupiter and a Nude

    1560s
    Paolo Veronese (Paolo Caliari) (Italian (Venetian), 1528–1588)

    Description

    Jupiter—king of the gods, accompanied here by his symbolic eagle—had a number of loves, many of them easily identified. However, the identity of this female nude is uncertain because she lacks any attributes. She may represent Dione, who, according to Homer’s Iliad, was the mother of Venus by Jupiter. The classical buildings depicted here are completely “up to date” for Veronese’s time, reflecting the work of his influential contemporary, the architect Andrea Palladio.

    Provenance

    Until 1657, Giovanni Batta Raggi (b. 1613 - d. 1657), Genoa [see note 1]; 1658, by inheritance to his brother, Cardinal Lorenzo Raggi (b. 1615 - d. 1687), Rome [see note 2]; until at least 1780, probably by descent within the family, to Giulio Raggi, Genoa [see note 3]; 1818, possibly still at the Raggi palace, Genoa [see note 4]. By 1930, Count Alessandro Contini Bonacossi (b. 1878 - d. 1955), Rome; May 26, 1930, sold by Contini Bonacossi to Mrs.Edward Jackson Holmes (Mary Stacy Beaman) (b. 1875), Boston; 1960, gift of Mrs. Edward Jackson Holmes to the MFA. (Accession Date: February 11, 1960) NOTES: [1] This is one of five paintings by Veronese, depicting scenes from Roman mythology, that are recorded in Raggi's posthumous inventory of November 4, 1658 (see Piero Boccardo, ed., "L'Età di Rubens," exh. cat. Palazzo Ducale, Genoa, March 20 - July 11, 2004, pp. 325-26, nos. 51-55 and p. 372, cat. nos. 94a-c). Of these, four are at the MFA (accession nos. 59.260, 60.125, 64.2078, 64.2079) and the fifth, showing the Rape of Europa, is in the Rasini collection, Milan. [2] The paintings are also included in a list, dated November 6, 1658, of works of art to be sent to Raggi's brother in Rome; see Boccardo, ed., 2004 (as above, n. 1), p. 326 ("Cinque bislonghi di Paolo [Veronese]"). [3] After the death of Lorenzo, one painting by Veronese probably remained in Rome, with his cousin Sigismondo, although it is not known which; Sigismondo lent a bislungo, or painting of elongated format, to San Salvatore in Lauro in 1701 and 1710. The others were sent back to Genoa and are recorded in 1780 at the palace of Giulio Raggi, trisnipote (probably a great-grandson or -nephew) of Giovanni Batta. They are described simply as "diverse fregi con piccole figure di Paolo da Verona" (different friezes [i.e., paintings of a long format] with little figures by Paolo Veronese). [4] In 1818, three of the five paintings - the Rape of Europa and two that are not specified by subject - were recorded at the palace by an anonymous author ("Descrizione della città di Genova da un anonimo del 1818," p. 303).

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mrs. Edward Jackson Holmes

    Details

    Dimensions

    27.0 x 101 cm (10 5/8 x 39 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    60.125

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Out on Loan

    On display at Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Japan, September 19, 2015 – February 21, 2016

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Paintings

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  • Hadrian

    Italian (Florence)
    Late Antique and Renaissance
    4th century and mid-16th century

    Object Place: Europe, Florence, Italy

    Description

    Body of calcite crystal 4th century; lower portion and base is veined calcite marble, with head and hands of gilt-bronze, about 1550, applied in Florence or Rome. Standing figure, glancing to right; arms extended; holds scroll in left hand; drapery carved front and sides in sweeping vertical and diagonal folds, almost smooth in back but for natural markings. Calcite crystal in shades of green and slightly beige with milky tones; Marble taupe color with paler markings. Round base.


    This object embodies the importance of Italy’s ancient past as a spur to Renaissance artists and patrons. The starting point was a fragment of an ancient draped torso, made of calcite crystal. In a collaboration across time, an unknown sixteenth-century master completed the figure by adding a lower body and base of marble, and gilt bronze head and hands to make a statuette of the ancient Roman Emperor Hadrian. A precious relic of the past, the ancient torso inspired the creative vision of the modern artist.

    Provenance

    By 1972, consigned by Paolo Rosa, Rome, to Heim Gallery, London; 1972, sold by Heim to the MFA [see note 1]. (Accession Date: May 10, 1972) NOTES [1] According to Andrew S. Ciechanowiecki of Heim Gallery at the time of acquisition, the sculpture “came from Austria and possibly previously from southern Germany.”

    Credit Line

    Gift of the Class of the Museum of Fine Arts, Mrs. Charles Devens, Chairman

    Details

    Dimensions

    57.15 cm (22 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    1972.354

    Medium or Technique

    Calcite crystal, calcite marble and gilt bronze

    On View

    Italian Renaissance Gallery (Gallery 206)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Sculpture

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