Exceptional Grand Neapolitan Bronze Depicting the Abduction of Europa by Vincenzo Cinque.
Italian Naples – Circa 1900
This wonderfully cast large scale bronze has retained an exceptional rich chestnut patination, depicting a male figure struggling in vain to stop Zeus/Jupiter in the form of a bull from carrying off Europa who is strapped to his back. The bull has his head lowered as he forces his way past the male figure and the musculature of both humans and animal is beautifully depicted as they strain their bodies in the course of the fight.
The mythical abduction of Europa is one of the most iconic subjects in all of the European art traditions. The subject was painted by, amongst many others, Titian, Jacopo Amigoni, Becafumi, Carlo Maratta, Carracci, Tiepolo and Zuccarelli from the Italian school. Boucher, Claude Lorrain, Rodin and Bonnard from the French school and van Dyck, Jordaens and Rubens in the Dutch and Flemish tradition. The myth has also been the subject of many masterful sculptures such as that by Il Riccio in the Museum of Fine Arts in Hungary, produced around 1520.
What sets this work by Vincenzo Cinque (1852-1929) apart is the much more hyper-realistic tone of the piece. Trained in Naples, Cinque attended the Accademia di Belle Arti there as a young man, later returning to the institution as professor of sculpture.
Cinque is considered to be one of the key artists in the Italian realism movement spanning the late 19th and early 20th centuries and his work tends to take typical old master themes of religious and mythological subjects and reimagine them in this context, creating radically different pieces of art.
Most of Cinque’s surviving works are small-scale busts and figures and the present composition is one of the largest known pieces by the artist and also one of the rarest. The colour and patination this bronze has achieved is of the finest, hard to portray under studio lights hence the reason we have also added showroom images.
Width: 34 1/2 inches – 87cm
Height: 16 1/2 inches – 42cm
Depth: 11 inches – 28cm