Male Nude (David?)

Italian, Florence
mid-16th century
Unidentified artist

Object Place: Europe, Florence, Italy


Overall (height including base): 83.8 cm (33 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View





Model in wax for statue.

Wax is a versatile modeling material that remains soft and can accommodate changes as the sculptor works. In the Renaissance, sculptors used wax to work out ideas for figures and compositions in small three-dimensional “sketches.” This figure of a man retains a wire framework around which the wax was modeled; the wire, in turn, supported the wax. This piece may have served as a working model in preparation for a final sculpture in bronze or clay.


By 1924, Elia Volpi (b. 1858 - d. 1938), Florence [see note 1]; March 31 - April 2, 1927, Volpi sale, American Art Galleries, New York, not in catalogue, not sold [see note 2]; 1929, sold by Volpi to Wilhelm von Bode for the MFA. (Accession Date: December 5, 1929)

[1] See letter from Philip Gentner in Florence to Charles Henry Hawes of the MFA (September 25, 1924), which discusses the object along with others then in Volpi's possession, and a letter from Wilhelm von Bode to Elia Volpi (April 3, 1925) which discusses the object, stating specifically that it was in Volpi's possession at that time. [2] See Roberta Ferrazza, "Palazzo Davanzati e le collezioni di Elia Volpi" (Florence, 1994), pp. 130, 142, n. 177.

Credit Line

Maria Antoinette Evans Fund and Francis Bartlett Donation, by exchange