Lot 399

Giuseppe Sanmartino,
1720 Naples - 1793, train.
THE HOLY IRENE total height

: 38 cm.

Length: 37 cm. Depth: 29 cm.

Made in silver casting and gilded bronze, using a large black coral; on an ebonized, throatily indented wooden base over gilded spindle feet, with baroque silver applications.

The base is six-sided, with shell, leaf and flower motifs in driftwork in the throats. The lawn plinth, also six-sided, with a slight elevation shows grasses and foliage as well as the armour and helmet of Saint Sebastian lying on the ground, one of his attributes as a former soldier. The coral, which resembles a tree trunk, rises from the plinth elevation and the figure of the saint is shown tied to it. The right arm is tied up, the left one hangs over the side branch. The figure is cast in silver, the richly draped loincloth in bronze, gilded and embossed. The nimbus and the six arrows in his body are also gilded. The suffering face is turned upwards, eyes and mouth slightly open. To the left is the standing figure of St. Irene of Rome (born around 288), who, according to legend, had nursed the saint after he was wounded, before dying of subsequent martyrdom. The saint is wrapped in a long cloak, her upper body slightly bent, her right hand just about to reach for one of the arrows. Head and hands probably also cast in silver, the dress gilded.
As for the authorship of this work of the highest quality, one of Giovanni Bernardino Azzolino's (1572-1645) wax work is mentioned. However, the reference to the sculptor Giuseppe Sanmartino (1720-1793) is more accurate, especially in comparison with his Pietá sculptures. Sanmartino was a student of Matteo Bottiglieri (1680-1757) and worked under Francesco Queirolo (1704-1762) and Antonio Corradini (around 1680-1752). In addition, he created important crib figures, such as those in the Museum of the Certosa di San Martino in Naples.
All in all, the group of figures is an important work of Neapolitan pictorial art. A.R.

Ricerche sull'arte a Napoli in etá moderna, p. 93, fig. 2. (12401314) (11)

Giuseppe Sanmartino,
1720 Naples - 1793, attributed


Total height: 38 cm.
Length: 37 cm.
Depth: 2.5 inches.

Silver casting, gilt-bronze and large black coral.

Ricerche sull'arte a Napoli in età moderna, p. 93, ill. 2.

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