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Lot n° 3

Attribué à un élève de MICHEL-ANGE...

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BUST OF LACHESIS Italy, late 16th or mid 17th century Marble Small accidents H. 73 cm, W. 76 cm, D. 36 cm This bust of an old woman represents Lachesis, one of the three Fates. In Greek mythology, this figure of Fate reels the thread of life while Clotho spins it and Atropos cuts it. By its realism, this sculpture is related to a series of busts featuring Lachesis and Atropos, sometimes attributed to Renaissance artists and sometimes to artists of the Modern period (17th-18th century) In 1980, Alexandre P. Rosenberg presented in his New York gallery two Fates traditionally attributed to Michelangelo. Following the advice of William E. Wallace, he finally attributed them to Francesco da Sangallo (fig. 1)1. These two busts, on loan to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, are currently presented as the work of an Italian artist of the late sixteenth century. The same is true for the bust in the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest (fig. 2), while the one in the Mc Cormack collection in Dublin is attributed to Jacoppo del Duca. As early as the 1960s, the art historian Ulrich Middeldorf expressed reservations. For him, these busts were modern works that he attributed first to Montauti (died in 1740) and then to Domenico Pieratt i (died in 1656). The curators of the National Gallery of Art in Edinburgh followed his advice (fi g. 3). They dated their bust of Lachesis to the 1720s while admitting that it could come from the same workshop as the one in Budapest, which can be dated to around 1600! In 1993, Filippo Pedrocco attributed the bust from the Scarpa collection in Venice to the sculptor Giusto le Court2. Another copy, similarly similar to the Rosenberg's, was given to the same artist (fig. 5). Against this new doxa, William E. Wallace considered that this series of marble busts showed a realism that is mistakenly assimilated to the art of the seventeenth or eighteenth century, but which corresponds more to that of the sixteenth century. The analysis of the bronze bust of the Sibyl of Cumae lends credence to this (lot no. 1 in our catalog) In the present state of our knowledge, we note that this bust of Lachesis can be compared with Michelangelo's drawing of a faun (fi g. 5) as well as with the fi gure of the Plague chased by a putt o, sculpted by Giusto Le Court for the main altar of Santa Maria della Salute in Venice (fi g. 6). It is certain, however, that this bust, of rare dramatic intensity, is the work of a great artist of the late sixteenth or mid-seventeenth century.

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