After the early 19th century original life-size white marble sculpture by Antonio Canova, this Neoclassical style marble sculpture is by Amilcare Santini (signed on the back side). The famous sculpture portrays a semi-nude Pauline Bonaparte (younger sister of Napoleon) in the form of Venus Victrix. In ancient Rome, wealthy individuals would often commission artists to depict them in the guise of a god or goddess. The Canova original was commissioned by Pauline’s second husband, Camillo Borghese, in 1805 and completed in 1808. Santini sculpted his original version of Paulina in the 1900s, later creating others with his special technique of molded marble, alabaster and bonding agents. He would later finish each piece by hand, with exacting detail. The marble and alabaster used to make this piece were quarried just southwest of Florence Italy, in the town of Volterra.
Pauline can be seen reclining on a chaise lounge, with her gaze directed towards the end of the chaise. Her hair is in a ponytail, secured by a headband, as she touches the right side of her face with her right hand, which is propped up by two pillows. Pauline’s left leg is bent and supporting her left hand, which holds an apple, much in the same style that Aphrodite (also known as Venus) did when Paris deemed her as the fairest goddess. Loose fitting fabric hangs on Pauline’s hips, with realistic gathering along the legs. In the Canova original, the sides of the scrolled headboard were adorned with a sprawling rinceaux, a dolphin mascaron and foliate margents, all in gold. Santini did not gild these elements on our smaller sculpture.
Amilcare Santini was born in 1910 near Florence, Italy. Considered an advanced prodigy, Santini began apprenticing at the age of 12, working by hand with clay he dredged from the river. During the 20th century, he would end up making some of the worlds highest quality representations of museum sculptures found throughout Europe. At just over two feet long, this elegant cast statue of Venus Victrix would be a perfect addition to any collection of Neoclassical style sculpture.
CONDITION: Good condition with fleabites and minor losses. Light buildup. Please see photos for details.