Ignazio Marabitti

Putto

European Art, 18th Century, Private Collection
52 x 37 x 71 cm20.5 x 14.6 x 28 in

Perhaps the most prominent representative of Sicilian sculpture during much of the 18th century, Ignazio Marabitti, was considered the last master to follow in the footsteps of the traditional Palermo craft workshops, though he had in fact studied first in Rome and then begun his work as a sculptor in Syracuse. A very productive artist, Marabitti was mainly known for his commemorative monuments and his portraits that celebrate the splendour of Sicilian aristocracy. The most striking aspect of this cherub is the purity of its forms and the sensuality of its movement, achieved despite being sculpted out of stone: the limbs and the torso, so perfectly proportioned and without the abundant flesh so typical of baroque images, culminate in a head with a delicately ruffled mop of hair, while the relaxed face reveals a hint of a smile. A drape flows off the left shoulder, supported by the hand with an elegant motion of the forearm, before slipping between the legs down to the right calf where it flows off, as if fluttering in the wind. The whole figure is leaning backwards with its right arm raised, as if it was originally leaning against a shelf. In its leaning pose, the right forearm drops downwards and the hand opens ever so slightly.

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