Renaissance Marble Water Basin

Price on request

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Object Description

Attributed to Giacomo della Porta (1532-1602)
Rome, third quarter 16th century
White marble
Dimensions: length 203 cm. / 80 ins, width 74 cm. / 29 ins, height: 60 cm. / 23 ½ ins

This monumental marble water basin is a magnificent example of late Renaissance design and embodies the Mannerist style associated with Michelangelo and his circle. Its attribution by Dr Charles Avery to Giacomo della Porta is highly significant since, after the death of Michelangelo in 1564, della Porta became Rome’s most prominent architect.

Giacomo della Porta is best remembered for completing several works initiated by Michelangelo, including the Palazzo Senatorio at the Capitoline and the dome of St Peter’s. Among his many prestigious architectural undertakings, della Porta had an important role in the restoration of Rome’s water supply and was an imaginative and successful ‘fountaineer’. As a result, Giacomo and his workshop were particularly active in the design and carving of fountains, basins and monuments for the newly-restored aqueducts, including those in Piazza Navona, Piazza Colonna and Piazza della Rotonda.

On the basis of its formal and stylistic similarities with several of these Roman fountain basins by Giacomo della Porta, the present basin is likely to have been designed by him and executed in his workshop. The attribution to della Porta, together with its rarity and monumental size, makes this vessel one of the most important objects from late Renaissance Italy to come to the market in recent years.

We are grateful to Charles Avery, Ph. D, for his research on the present basin, which is available on request.

Object History

Private collection, Rome, early 1960s

Object Literature

Related Literature:
Arduino Colasanti, Le Fontane d’Italia, Milan, 1926, pls. 218, 269-70; Cesare d’Onofrio, Acque e Fontane di Roma, Rome, 1977, pp. 58-179, pls. 45, 49, 170, 171, 173; David Coffin, The Villa in the Life of Renaissance Rome, Princeton, NJ, 1979/1988, pp. 158-69, pls. 103, 110, 127; Cesare d’Onofrio, Le Fontane di Roma, Rome, 1986, pp. 114-18, pls. 83-84, 86; Alessandra Anselmi, “Porta, Giacomo della”, in J. Turner [ed.], The Dictionary of Art, London, 1996, vol. 25, pp. 258-61; Sophie Bajard and Raffaello Bencini, Palais et jardins de Rome, Paris, 1996, pp. 86-93; Katherine Wentworth Rinne, The Waters of Rome: Aqueducts, Fountains and the Birth of the Baroque City, New Haven and London, 2010, pp. 83-108

Object Details

Dealer Opening Times

By appointment only.

Dealer Contact

+44 (0)7768 395500
+44 (0)7768 395500

Dealer Location

London W1 (Mayfair), by appointment.

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