Italian, Venice - Angel Gabriel, 19th century

Italian, Venice

Angel Gabriel, 19th century

Gilded copper alloy (with traces of green paint on the lilly), 165.1 cm (65 in.) height

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Object details

Accession number

S30e25

Provenance

Said to be from a church demolished by Napoleon. According to legend, the sculpture was then reinstalled atop a bell tower of an unknown rural church, where in 1848 it was struck by two cannon balls during the Italian Revolution.
In the Villa Malaspina, Verona by the second half of the 19th century.
Purchased by Leone Bassani from Spinello Malaspina, Verona for about 1,500 lire in 1877.
With the art dealer Antonio Carrer, Venice by about 1886.
Purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner from the art dealer Antonio Carrer (d. 1912), Venice for 4,500 lire on 30 July 1892.

Bibliography

Catalogue. Fenway Court. (Boston, 1925), p. 32. (as Veneto, 17th century)
Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), p. 264. (as Venetian, 16th century)
Cornelius C. Vermeule III et al. Sculpture in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1977), p. 157, no. 198. (as Italian, 19th century)


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Commentary

The gilded image of the Archangel Gabriel perches high atop an orb in the southeast corner of the Gothic Room. Said to be from a church demolished by Napoleon, a historical figure of great interest to Isabella, this work was later struck by cannons during the Italian revolution of 1848.  Perhaps intrigued by this tale, Isabella chose to display him with the gaping hole still clearly visible in his chest rather than having him restored.

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