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Ercole Ferrata (1610 - 1686)

Lot 157: A RARE ROMAN BAROQUE GILT-BRONZE CRISTO MORTO DESIGNED BY GIAN LORENZO BERNINI, MODELED IN WAX BY ERCOLE FERRATA, CAST BY PAOLO CARNIERI,

Christie's

January 14, 1992
New York, NY, US

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Description

CHASED BY BARTOLOMEO CENNINI, ITALIAN, CIRCA 1660 Mounted on an ebonised wood cross with gilt bronze INRI plaque (crown of thorns missing) --40 1/2 x 17 in. (103 x 43.2 cm.), on ebonised wood base COMPARATIVE LITERATURE R. Battaglia, Crocifissi del Bernini in S. Pietro in Vaticano, Rome, 1942 R. Wittkower, Gian Lorenzo Bernini: the Sculptor of the Roman Baroque, 3rd revised ed., Oxford, 1981, p. 229 M. Worsdale, Bernini in Vaticano (exhibition catalogue), Rome, 1981, no. 274, pp. 270-271 Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Vatican Collections: The Papacy and Art, New York, 1982, no. 33 National Gallery of Canada, Vatican Splendors, Ottawa, 1986, p. 96, no. 25 C. Scribner, Bernini, New York, 1991, p. 31, fig. 43 The Corpus Christi is probably one of the those missing from a series of twenty-five commissioned by Pope Alexander VII Chigi (1655-1667) from Bernini for the side altars in St. Peter's. They were produced between 1657-1661. The Maestro designed the composition and it was rendered in wax by Ercole Ferrata. The bronze figures were cast by Paolo Carnier and chased by Bartolomeo Cennini. Dr. Olga Raggio wrote of the example exhibited in New York in 1982, "Despite the many hands involved in its creation, this gilt-bronze "dead Christ" preserves the moving spirituality and the formal nobility of Bernini's original design. A mystical meditation upon the meaning of Christ's consummated sacrifice, this crucifix is very close to the almost contemporary "dead Christ" crucifix held by Bernini's Saint Jerome, in the Chigi Chapel of the cathedral of Siena (R. Wittkower, 1981, pl. 92). Although many casts were made of the crucifixes for Saint Peter's, they were all finished and chased with great care, their sharply tooled surfaces designed to catch the light of the nearby candles. Quite probably, they were individually approved by Bernini." (Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 33) A similar gilt Crucifix was sold by Christie's London, 4 July 1989, lot 107. Another cast is in the Princeton University Museum of Art (Scribner, p. 31, fig. 43).

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