Thursday, December 18, 2008


Sculpture is one of the Fine Arts which is sometimes disregarded by investors and collectors. But there are plenty of wonders in the realm of sculpture and very nice opportunities for an aspiring collector.

One is not obliged to look for a Degas, a Modigliani or a Rodin but at high level there are works of relatively unknown artists that can bring beauty and value to a collection.

The noble face of German art historian Johann Joachim Winckelmann (68 cms) is magnificently represented by this bust made by Salvator de Carlis in the XIXth century. It fetched the surprising sum of 75,150 in Amsterdam this week whereas it has been estimated around 9,000 by Sotheby's auctioneers.

Johann J. Winckelmann
( 1717 - 1768), a German art historian and archaeologist, was a pioneer Hellenist who first articulated the difference between Greek, Greco-Roman and Roman art. The prophet and founding hero of modern archaeology, Winckelmann was one of the founders of scientific archaeology.

This bust is then an homage to the works of this man who died tragically and rather stupidly : in 1768 Winckelmann was persuaded by his friend the sculptor Bartolomeo Cavaceppito to travel to Munich and Vienna, where he was received with honor by Empress Maria Theresa. On his way back, he was murdered at Trieste in a hotel bed by a fellow traveller, a man named Francesco Arcangeli, for medals that Maria Theresa had given him. Arcangeli had thought that he was only "un uomo di poco conto" ("a man of little account").

So little that his bust -two centuries later- reached almost 80,000 Euro.

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