Around 30 works attributed to some of the 16th century’s most illustrious artists immerse us in the Renaissance, from Normandy to Sicily, France’s primary art centers and the Italian peninsula.
Northern Italy (Milan?), oval plaque on a ceremonial shield depicting Medusa, second half of the 16th century, bronze with very slight traces of gilding.
© Christophe Fouin/Galerie Sismann
Last year, the Sismann Gallery met the challenge of exploring the history of sculpture starting with the Gothic period. This year, around 30 works attributed to some of the 16th century’s most illustrious artists immerse us in the Renaissance, from Normandy to Sicily, France’s primary art centers and the Italian peninsula. An example is a serene face of Christ attributed to followers of the Master of Chaource, a major sculptor in Champagne also known as the “Master of Sad Faces” (Maître aux Figures Tristes).
As regards Italy, a marble satyr’s head illustrates the enduring appeal of Michelangelo's famous character studies of grotesque or grimacing faces. A bronze Amphitrite from about 1590 attributed to Venetian sculptor Girolamo Campagna stands out for its unprecedented character. Although similar to one of his models of Venus, no other copy of this Amphitrite was known until now; its discovery is a great contribution to the artist’s oeuvre. Continuing the show's mythological vein, a finely chased mask of Medusa on a gilt bronze plaque accompanies the aquatic goddess with a cry that can only be interpreted as one of rage.
The selection makes it clear that sculptors circulated and tailored their styles to the tastes of people who, however enamored of Italian art, were nonetheless attached to local traditions. The road from Late Gothic to Mannerism was far from smooth, and here we see some of its most salient splendors.