Is this Medici Marble a Nineteenth Century Imitation?

March 5 2021

Image of Is this Medici Marble a Nineteenth Century Imitation?

Picture: Burlington Magazine

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Jeremy Warren's recent article in the Burlington Magazine definitely makes a strong case for it!

Warren's recent piece on the nineteenth century imitator Giovanni Bastianini (1830-1868), whose reproductions fooled many collectors of sixteenth century Italian art, has been made free to read online for a very short while.

The article provides a fantastic overview of Bastianini's work and collaboration with dealers who were often less honest that the sculptor was himself. In particular, Warren points out a set of the sculptor's marble renaissance busts that were sold in the Florentine dealer Giovanni Freppa (d.1870) estate sale during the end of the century. Most of these are accounted for. However, the Museum of Fine Arts in San Francisco's marble bust of Cosimo de' Medici (pictured), after a famous Cellini in Florence, comes from exactly the same source. It was purchased by the museum in 1957 and is still being catalogued a sixteenth century original. Is it time for the museum to face the facts that their prized marble is a nineteenth century copy?

Click on the link above to read the article while you can!

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