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Plaster cast - Youthful St John the Baptist
  • Youthful St John the Baptist
    Rossellino, Antonio, born 1427 - died 1479
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Youthful St John the Baptist

  • Object:

    Plaster cast

  • Place of origin:

    Florence (original, sculpted)
    Florence (plaster cast, cast)

  • Date:

    1477 (sculpted)
    ca. 1895 (cast)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Rossellino, Antonio, born 1427 - died 1479 (sculptor)
    Lelli, Giuseppe (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Plaster cast painted

  • Museum number:

    REPRO.1895-4

  • Gallery location:

    Cast Courts, Room 46b, The Weston Cast Court , case FS, shelf S

This is a plaster cast from the marble 'Youthful St John the Baptist' in the Museo Nazionale (Bargello), by Antonio Rossellino made in 1477 in Florence. The cast is made by Guiseppe Lelli in about 1895. The Baptist holds a scroll inscribed AGITE PENETENTIAM, calling for repentance. This figure, for which Antonio Rossellino received payment in 1477, originally stood over the door of the Opera di S. Giovanni on the Piazza del Duomo in Florence. There is also a bust length version of this St John, made of stucco, in the Museo Nazionale.

Antonio Rossellino (1427-28 - 1479) was the brother of Bernardo Rossellino, from whom he possibly received his first formal training. He was of the same generation of sculptors as Desiderio da Settignano and Mino da Fiesole and his stylistic approach resembles that of those sculptors rather then that of his brother.

Plaster casts were especially sought after during the 19th century, when reproductions of great works of sculpture and architecture were thought crucial for the training of artists. A separating substance was applied to the surface of the work to be reproduced, and a plaster mould made from that. The mould would then be used to make any number of additional plaster copies. These were often sold to artists, and later in the century to art colleges for study purposes.

Place of Origin

Florence (original, sculpted)
Florence (plaster cast, cast)

Date

1477 (sculpted)
ca. 1895 (cast)

Artist/maker

Rossellino, Antonio, born 1427 - died 1479 (sculptor)
Lelli, Giuseppe (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Plaster cast painted

Marks and inscriptions

'AGITE PENETENTIAM'
on scroll

Dimensions

Height: 98 cm

Object history note

Purchased from Giuseppe Lelli in 1895 for £5 13s 1d.

Historical context note

The Baptist holds a scroll inscribed AGITE PENETENTIAM, calling for repentance. This figure, for which Antonio Rossellino received payment in 1477, originally stood over the door of the Opera di S. Giovanni on the Piazza del Duomo in Florence. There is also a bust length version of this St John, made of stucco, in the Museo Nazionale.

Descriptive line

Plaster cast, painted plaster, after the marble original of the Youthful St John the Baptist, in the Museo Nazionale (Bargello) Florence, by Antonio Rossellino, Florence, 1477, cast by Guiseppe Lelli, Florence, ca. 1895

Labels and date

In his Lives of the Artists, published in 1550, the artist and writer Giorgio Vasari wrote about the sweetness and grace of Rossellino’s work. The sculpture reproduced here captures the youthful saint in suspended motion. The 19th-century plaster cast also shows the roughness of the original, which was set above a doorway and designed to be seen from a distance. [2014]

Materials

Plaster

Techniques

Cast

Subjects depicted

Scrolls (information artifacts); Figures (representations)

Categories

Sculpture; Christianity; Religion; Plaster Cast

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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