From our European Collection, a very fine carved marble bust by Giovanni Maria Benzoni, signed and dated 1868. Benzoni (1809-1873) was a world renown Italian neo-classical sculptor. During his time, his works were commissioned by royalty such as The Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia, and interestingly, he enjoyed special patronage and appreciation in Ireland, where he executed several statues of The Virgin for Catholic churches there, and was one of the sculptors engaged to execute the bas-reliefs on the Wellington Monument, Today, his works are housed in the permanent collections of several major art institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (which has at least six of his pieces), and the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal.
We are still researching the name of this piece, but believe it may have been incorrectly catalogued in the past as "Veiled Woman" (a name which is not especially consistent with how Benzoni himself titled his pieces), and sounds more to us like a name an auction house cataloguer coined and invented himself when it wasn't apparent what the piece was actually titled. But we believe the correct title of this piece is "The Virgin" (which would be more consistent with his body of work, especially the type of work he was commissioned for in Ireland) and that this piece was exhibited at The Dublin International Exhibition of Arts and Manufactures in 1872, entitled "The Virgin." But we are still not certain, so as we progress in our research, we will update the information in our listing.
Size and condition: 19 3/4 inches tall, 10 inches wide across the shoulders. There are some random small nicks to the marble edge in various areas, nothing significant, and there are some natural striations, veining, and pitting to the marble, which are not defects per se, but just the natural condition of the stone. Signed "G.M. Benzoni. F. Roma A 1868" on the obverse.