Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Bust - Niccolo Sirigatti

Niccolo Sirigatti

  • Object:

    Bust

  • Place of origin:

    Florence (city) (made)

  • Date:

    1576 (dated)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Sirigatti, Ridolfo, born 16 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved marble

  • Museum number:

    A.12-1961

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 62, The Foyle Foundation Gallery, case WN, shelf EXP

Florentine men were known for the relative sobriety of their dress. Here the artist’s father wears a sleeveless overcoat atop his coat. The fabric of the undercoat is a variation of the pattern worn by his wife. The delicate whorls on the buttons are meant to indicate that they are made of metal.
In his own day Ridolfo Sirigatti (active ca. 1570-1600) seems to have been regarded as a sculptor of considerable eminence. The son of a rich textile merchant and of Cassandra, daughter of the painter Ridolfo Ghirlandaio, Ridolfo continued his father's mercantile activity and brought fame to his family by becoming one of the Knights of Santo Stefano (the order instituted by Grand-Duke Cosimo I de' Medici) in 1581.
This bust is a rare example of Ridolfo Sirigatti's activity as a sculptor. Together with its companion piece, depicting Cassandra Sirigatti (A.13-1961), it shows high technical skill and an unusual and original style in comparison with Florentine contemporary sculpture. The peculiar disposition of the shoulders in both busts, with the right one pulled slightly back from the rest of the figure, and the left pushed slightly forward, shows the artist's intention to give an impression of movement.

Physical description

Head and shoulders bust of a man on a circular, moulded, pink and brown veined white marble socle. The head is bearded and shown looking to one side, the body clothed in a buttoned jacket and robe.

Place of Origin

Florence (city) (made)

Date

1576 (dated)

Artist/maker

Sirigatti, Ridolfo, born 16 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Carved marble

Marks and inscriptions

'NICOLAVS. SIRIGATTIVS. M D LXXVI'
Inscription between bust and socle

QVEM GENVI
RODVLPHVS
ANIMI CAVSA
CAELAVIT
Ridolfo, whom I bore, has carved this as a tribute of love
Inscription on back of bust

Dimensions

Height: 73.5 cm, Width: 69.5 cm, Depth: 48 cm, Weight: 153 kg, Width: 71 cm, Depth: 45 cm, Weight: 150 kg

Object history note

Bought together with A.13-1961, from A.& C. Canessa, Rome, for £1502.

Historical significance: This bust is a rare example of Ridolfo Sirigatti's activity as a sculptor. Together with its companion piece, depicting Cassandra Sirigatti (A.13-1961), it shows high technical skill and an unusual and original style in comparison with Florentine contemporary sculpture. The peculiar disposition of the shoulders in both busts, with the right one pulled slightly back from the rest of the figure, and the left pushed slightly forward, shows the artist's intention to give an impression of movement. The technical virtuosity, visible especially in the draping of the fabric, foreshadows the taste of seventeenth century Roman sculpture. It is possible to identify some elements that would appear in the sculptures by Pietro Bernini, who received his first artistic training from Rodolfo Sirigatti.

It is exceptional in structure, the sitter's right shoulder is retracted and his left shoulder is advanced, while his head is turned slightly to his left, so that the bust has the spiral character of Giambologna's marble groups.

Historical context note

In his own day Ridolfo Sirigatti seems to have been regarded as a sculptor of considerable eminence. The son of a rich textile merchant and of Cassandra, daughter of the painter Ridolfo Ghirlandaio, Ridolfo continued his father's mercantile activity and brought fame to his family by becoming one of the Knights of Santo Stefano (the order instituted by Grand-Duke Cosimo I de' Medici) in 1581.
He was also very interested in the arts and practised sculpture. Before the discovery of the present bust and its pendant in 1961, his only documented work was a bust of grand-duke Francesco I in a niche in the façade of the Palazzo dei Cavalieri di Santo Stefano in Pisa (Sirigatti only provided the model for the bust). Ridolfo features as one of the four protagonists in Raffaele Borghini's art treatise Il Riposo (1584), as an art expert and collector. In the dialogue between Sirigatti and the collector Bernardo Vecchietti some works by the former are mentioned. Amongst them is the "marble head of his father done from like which is extremely alike", which can be identified with the present bust.
It is inscribed with the sitter's name and the date on the socle (NICOLAVS SIRIGATTIVS MDLXXVI). On the back there is another inscription, a dedication presenting the bust as a tribute from Sirigatti to his father: QVEM GENVI RODVLPHVS ANIMI CAVSA CAELAVIT (Ridolfo, whom I bore, sculpted this as a tribute of love).

Descriptive line

Bust, marble, of Niccolo Sirigatti, by Ridolfo Sirigatti, Florence, Italy, dated 1576

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Pope-Hennessy, J. 'Portrait Sculpture by Ridolfo Sirigatti' in V&A Bulletin April 1965, Vol. 1, No. 2 (pp33-36)
Catalogue des Tableaux Modernes etc. Collection la Georges Petit: Galerie Georges Petit, Paris. 4th and 5th March 1921
Avery, C. Bernini: Genius of the Baroque London, 1997 (p33)
Falciani, Carlo and Natali, Antonio, eds. The Cinquecento in Florence: 'Modern Manner' and Counter-Reformation, exh. cat., 2017, pp.170-172.

Labels and date

Inscribed: NICOLAVS. SIRIGATTUS. M D LXXVI, and on the back: QUEM GENUI RODVLPHVS ANIMI CAUSA CAELAVIT. The portrait bust of the sculptor's father, and its pendant, of his mother (A.13-1961, exhibited nearby), are described in the Riposo of Raffaello Borghini, published in 1584. Sirigatti himself is one of the participants in this imaginary dialogue, and was a friend of Giovanni Bologna and the master of Pietro Bernini (father of the famous Gian Lorenzo). [1987]
The portrait bust of the sculptor's father, and its pendant, of his mother (A.13-1961, exhibited nearby), are described in the Riposo of Raffaello Borghini (1584). Sirigatti himself is one of the participants in this imaginary dialogue, and was a friend of Giovanni Bologna and the master of Pietro Bernini (father of the famous Gian Lorenzo). The inscription reads: Ridolfo, whom I bore, has carved this as a tribute of love. [December 1995]

Materials

Marble

Techniques

Carved

Subjects depicted

Men; Fathers

Categories

Sculpture; Portraits

Collection

Sculpture Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.