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Salvatore Albano (1839 - 1893)



May 5, 2011
New York, NY, US

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SALVATORE ALBANO ITALIAN 1841-1893 MARGHERITA signed Sculp. ALBANO. S / FIRENZE, bearing date 1901 and titled MARGHERITA carved Carrara marble raised on a patinated bronze mounted Portor marble pedestal height of figure 5 ft 11 in.; height of pedestal 33 in. 180.5 cm; 84 cm


Alfonso Panzetta, Dizionario degli Scultori italiani, vol. I, Adarte, 2003, p. 23


Albano began his career as a maker of crèche figures. At the age of nineteen he moved to Naples to study sculpture with Giuseppe Sorbilli before entering the Accademia di Belle Arti, where he studied under Tito Angelini. In 1865 he won the Accademia's prize for his work entitled "Christ in the Garden." In 1865 Prince Umberto of Savoy commissioned him to execute the marble sculpture entitled "Moses destroying the Tables of the Law," now in the Museo di Capodimonte. Shortly thereafter, in the 1868 Paris Salon exhibition, he was awarded a gold medal for his work "Vanni Fucci". Based on Dante's Inferno, this work is now in the permanent collection of The Metropolitain Museum of Art, New York. Another work by Albano, entitled "The Rebel's Angels", is currently in the Brooklyn Museum, New York.

At the 1881 Paris Salon, Albano exhibited two plaster sculptures: Méphistophéles and Marguerite. The female plaster figure was commissioned for T.A. Scott of Philadelphia[1]. The subject was derived from librettist Michael Carré's (1821-1872) Faust et Marguerite, a play based on Goethe's famed work Faust.

Marguerite, here identifiable by her long twin braids, modest dress, pious disposition and the cross around her neck, was used by the devil Méphistophéles to tempt Dr. Faust and lead him astray. With his pointed ears and beard, Méphistophéles grins menacingly from either side of the figure's pedestal. The front of the pedestal is decorated with a patinated bronze low-relief depicting this story as well: Marguerite is seen walking up the steps into Dr. Faust's study, as Dr. Faust and Méphistophéles watch from within.

Faust et Marguerite was adapted to an opera by Charles Gounod, and debuted at the Théâtre Lyrique in Paris in 1859. Marguerite was played by the renowned French operatic soprano Marie Miolan-Carvalho (1827-1895). This was the first opera to be performed at New York's Metropolitan Opera when it opened in 1883.

[1] Dearinger, David Bernard. Paintings and Sculpture in the Collection of the National Academy of Design. (Manchester, Vermont: Hudson Hills Press, 2004), p. 11.

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