Alessandro Algardi

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Alessandro Algardi

The Resurrected Christ

Terracotta, height 52 cm

During the second half of the 17th century, particularly during the papacy of Alexander VII, the phenomenon of terracotta collecting was expanding rapidly and the most sought-after pieces were undoubtedly those by Algardi and his pupil Giorgetti. This fine and moving terracotta by Algardi which depicts the resurrected Christ, was first attributed by Dr. Jennifer Montagu and subsequently published for the first time by Dr. Charles Avery in the 1981 Sackler collection exhibition catalogue, making use of notes by Montagu for her (then) forthcoming publication on Algardi.

Dr. Montagu’s attribution to Algardi was made on purely stylistic grounds, and, regarding the head, she commented on ‘…the flow of the hair, partly modelled freely in waving masses, partly incised with the modelling tool, and the sweet expression in a face constructed in large and simple planes’. It has been put forward that the parts of this sculpture were designed to be fired separately and then put together, revealing Algardi’s dynamic studio practice, since, as the modelling and composition of the head progressed, the body was then subsequently added to be in accord with developments in the sculptor’s concept for the work. The youthful torso of Christ bears strong resemblances to that of the “Ludovisi Torchbearer” also by Algardi, which in turn pays homage to an Antique torso which forms the basis of the sculpture which Algardi reworked for Cardinal Ludovisi.


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