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Statuettes of Black Hunters

Statuettes of Black Hunters (c. 1650) artwork is made by Giovanni Campi after Francois Duquesnoy and located in the Borghese Gallery in Rome. The material is touchstone (moors), giallo antico (bandoliers), touchstone with roundels of brecciated yellow (pedestals), and gilded metal (socle). Its height is 65 cm and you can see the statuettes in the Room VI.

History

This artwork belongs to the original decoration of the casino. The design resembled that of the ancient works of art which were on display, but it added a touch of colour and luxury to the overall appearance of the collection.

Like other sculptors working in 17th century Rome, Duquesnoy and Campi were called upon to restore and complete antiquities, for headless torsos rarely found a market with contemporary connoisseurs

Analysis

The statuettes may have been made as pendants, not only since of their subject but moreover due to the postures of the figures. They are, in truth, reflect images and are in postures that permit them to be set together on the same plane, particularly as they appear to be looking at the same point.

Both hold a bird of prey, whereas, tied up at their sides, is, in one case, a dog, within the other, a lion. A bandolier, partially reestablished, is put over their torsos from the shoulders to the waist

Ascription

Placed in the 18th century in the Stanza del Gladiatore, flanking the Bacchanalia of Putti, they were moved to the Stanza Apollo and Dafne (room III), before being returned to their original location. Their execution may be dated not later than 1651 because from June of that year until March 1653 Giovanni Campi received payments for the two statuettes.

Contemporary descriptions of the Villa Borghese attribute the Black Hunters to Francois Duquesnoy, but this is not confirmed by the biographers of the sculptor, who may, however, have provided Campi with a model

Borghese Gallery in Rome,

Author: Francois Duquesnoy

Francois Duquesnoy

Francois Duquesnoy was Flemish sculptor, active mostly in Rome, where he established himself, along with Alessandro Algardi (1598-1654), as one of the leading Baroque sculptors, after the incomparable Bernini (1598-1680). His style of Baroque sculpture was less emotional than Bernini's and more in line with the quietly dramatic style of Algardi. Duquesnoy's most famous works of Baroque art include his statue of St Andrew (1629-33, Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican) and St Susanna (1630-33, Santa Maria di Loreto, Rome).