Italian, Northern Italy - Stylobate Lion, late 12th century- early 13th century

Italian, Northern Italy

Stylobate Lion, late 12th century- early 13th century

Red Veronese marble, 60.3 x 102.9 x 34.9 cm (23 3/4 x 40 1/2 x 13 3/4 in.) overall

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Object details

Accession number

S10s3

Provenance

Purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner as part of a set of architectural elements (including a similar lion, museum no. S10s5) from the connoisseur and art dealer Stefano Bardini (1836-1922), Florence for 17,900 lire on 6 October 1897.

Bibliography

Arthur Kingsley Porter. Romanesque sculpture of the pilgrimage roads (1923), p. 299, n1. (as "nicolò-esque")
Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), p. 63. (as North Italian "from the neighborhood of Verona," 8th or 9th century)
Rollin Hadley. “Notes, Records, Comments.” Gardner Museum Calendar of Events 7, no. 33 (12 Apr. 1964), p. 2. (as carved from marble quarried near Verona, 13th or 14th century)
Walter Cahn. "Romanesque Sculpture in American Collections. IV. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston." Gesta (1969), p. 53, no. 8. (as North Italian, late 12th or early 13th century)
Cornelius C. Vermeule III et al. Sculpture in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1977), pp. 58-59, no. 83.
Antonella Nesi. "Stefano Bardini e Lucca, fortuna collezionistica dell'arte medievale lucchese." Scoperta armonia: Arte medievale a Lucca (Lucca: Edizioni Fondazione Ragghianti, 2014), p. 316.
Anita F. Moskowitz. "The Photographic Archive of Stefano Bardini: A Few Case Studies of Its Utility." Notes in the History of Art 37, no. 4 (Summer 2018), p. 243.


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Commentary

The lion holds a rabbit or dog-like beast in its claws. The burden of the base of a column on its back is shared by a kneeling atlante on its right flank. The corresponding space on the other side is filled by a wedge-shaped block, roughly hewn along a vertical section where the work was separated from its point of anchor.

The combination of lion and atlante, a compressed version of the tiered arrangement of the same motifs found in the supports flanking the major entrances of the cathedrals of Trani and Ferrara, is seen again in Giovanni da Campione's north portal at S. Maria Maggiore in Bergamo. The characterization of the lion, periwigged in a loosely undulating mane, is echoed in the somewhat grosser animals in The Cloisters, New York (No. 53.64.1.2) as well as more distantly in a number of examples around Parma and Verona.

The nose, mane, forelegs, and rear of the lion are considerably worn. The nose of the figure is lost and areas along the column base are chipped.

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