Sleeping Endymion

Agostino Cornacchini (Italian (Roman), 1686–1754)

Object Place: Europe, Italy


33.7 x 27 x 32 cm (13 1/4 x 10 5/8 x 12 5/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Angelica Lloyd Russell Gallery (Gallery 142)





On rough hewn crag, flowers & sleeping setter at base. Furred cloak (broken at back). Chiseled uneven back surface with hole. Signed and dated in hollow underneath.

This terra cotta represents the shepherd Endymion, beloved of Diana, goddess of the moon. Jupiter granted him eternal youth through eternal sleep, and Diana protected him as he slept. Created as a model for a bronze, this terra cotta was also appreciated as a work of art in itself. The delicate modeling of Endymion’s head and flesh, his charming dog, and the details of costume and foliage exemplify the freshness and immediacy of the terra cotta medium.


Incised on back of rock base: "Ag Cor/nacchini/1716".


By 1722, Francesco Maria Niccolò Gabburri (b. 1676 - d. 1742), Florence [see note 1]. 1941, private collection, Germany; May, 1941, sold from this private collection to Julius Böhler, Munich [see note 2]; 1950, sold by Böhler to Blumka Gallery, New York; 1956, sold by Blumka Gallery to the MFA for $800. (Accession Date: March 8, 1956)

[1] See Bruce Boucher et al., "Earth and Fire: Italian Terracotta Sculpture from Donatello to Canova" (New Haven and London, 2001), p. 234. The sculpture was listed in Gabburri's 1722 inventory.

[2] Correspondence from Galerie Julius Böhler to the MFA (May 9, 2006; in MFA curatorial file).

Credit Line

H. E. Bolles Fund