Lot 306: ATTRIBUTED TO ERCOLE FERRATA (ITALIAN, 1610-1686) OR DOMENICO GUIDI (ITALIAN, 1625-1701): A MID-17TH CENTURY ROMAN BRONZE PLAQUE SHOWING A PAIR OF MOURNING CHERUBIM HOLDING UP THE VEIL OF ST VERONICA of rectangular form, one of the cherubim wiping away a tear, with a plain column behind, 18cm x 21.5cm PROVENANCE: CHARLES AVERY COLLECTION Charles Avery is a specialist in European sculpture, particularly Italian, French, English, Flemish and Dutch. A graduate in Classics at Cambridge University, he obtained a Diploma in the History of Art at the Courtauld Institute and a doctorate for published work from Cambridge. Having been Deputy Keeper of Sculpture at the Victoria and Albert Museum for twelve years (1966-79), and a Director of Christies for ten years, since 1990 he has been a highly respected, independent historian, consultant, writer and lecturer. His books include Florentine Renaissance Sculpture, 1970, Giambologna the Complete Sculpture, Phaidon, 1987, Donatello: An Introduction, John Murray, 1994; Bernini, Genius of the Baroque, Thames and Hudson, 1997 (paperback, 2006), and The Triumph of Motion: Francesco Bertos, 2008. Previous provenance: Edward Cheney, Badger Hall, Shropshire; Francis Capel-Cure Collection (sold London, Christie's, 4 May 1905, lot. 54). Comparative Literature: Oreste Ferrari and Serenita Papaldo,'Le Sculpture del Seicento a Roma', Rome, 1999, p.8; Cristiano Giometti, 'Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Venezia, Sculture in Terracotta', Rome, 2011, pp. 44-45, 57-58; Tim Knox, Edward Cheney, 'Badger Hall: a forgotten collector of Italian sculpture, in Sculpture Journal, 16.1, 2007, pp. 5-20. This apparently unrecorded incuse-cast plaque is almost certainly identical with one that was in the distinguished English collection of Edward Cheney of Badger Hall, Shropshire, for its description in a later sale catalogue corresponds closely, as do its measurements in inches: A RECTANGULAR BRONZE PLAQUE, cast with two figures of Cherubs holding the handkerchief of Saint Veronica 7in. by 8½ in Italian, early part of the 17th century. The cherubim flank a short column recalling the one against which by tradition Jesus was tied when being whipped at the command of Pontius Pilate during the Passion, after he personally had found him not guilty, as is corroborated by the symbolic Instruments of the Passion lying on the ground to either side, a leather cat of nine tails to the left and a bundle of twigs to the right. The present tentative attribution to Ercole Ferrata or Domenico Guidi is based on its thematic and stylistic similarity to a set of eight much bigger - marble reliefs (four by each artist) that are set over the small doorways (porticelle) round the choir of Borrominis major Roman church of SantAgnese in Agone, on Piazza Navona, Rome. These depict plump, adorable and sprightly cherubim in flight bearing the symbolic instruments of Agness martyrdom, a sword, a brazier a lamb and so forth, for which Ferrata was paid in 1658 and Guidi in 1669. A cast in gilt stucco from a preliminary model for the panel showing Two Cherubim with the Lamb of God in the Museo di Palazzo Venezia is as wide as this plaque is high (21.5cm), which indicates that this was a scale at which the sculptors in question were used to working (Giometti, 2011, pp.57-58, no. 39). Another relief there, St Agnes appearing to St Constance, in the same material (Giometti, 2011, pp. 44-45, no. 19), but by Algardi, clearly indicates the ultimate stylistic source of this type of cherub, the work of two of the triumvirate of great sculptors active in Rome, François Duquesnoy and Algardi. St Veronica was a woman of Jerusalem who wiped the face of Christ with her veil while he was on the way to Calvary. According to early Christian tradition, though there is no historical evidence or scriptural reference, the cloth was imprinted with the image of Christs face and became one of the most revered relics of the
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