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Plaster cast

  • Place of origin:

    Siena (Original. Also in Florence., sculpted)
    Florence (Original. Also in Siena., sculpted)
    Berlin (probably, Cast)

  • Date:

    1416-1434 (sculpted)
    1875-1877 (cast)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Quercia, Jacopo della (sculptor)
    Ghiberti, Lorenzo, born 1378 - died 1455 (sculptor)
    Donatello, born 1386 - died 1466 (sculptor)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Plaster cast

  • Museum number:

    REPRO.1886-187

  • Gallery location:

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

The font was executed between 1416 and 1434. It was a collaboration between a number of sculptors, goldsmiths and painters. The original hexagonal font includes bronze reliefs including Annunciation to Zacharias by Jacopo della Quericia, Baptism of Christ by Lorenzo Ghiberti and Feast of Herod by Donatello. Jacopo also worked on the figure of St John on top of the font. Two Sienese painters were also involved. In 1427, Stefano di Giovanni, known as Sassetta (active 1428; d.1450) produced a drawing for the font, while in 1429, his pupil, Sano di Pietro (about 1405-81) was paid for ornamenting the font with blue and gold.

This cast was given to the Victoria and Albert Museum by the Königliche Museen zu Berlin in 1886. Of the original six putti around the top of the tabernacle, only the front four remain at Siena. A fifth putto, holding a tambourine (no.11) was acquired by the Königliche Museen zu Berlin in 1902, and is now in the Staatliche Museen, West Berlin, museum. no. 2653. A sixth putto, which appears on the cast (no.12) is no longer on the font, but is preserved in the Museo Nazionale (Bargello), Florence. The presence of this putto on the cast (first noted by Wilhelm Bode) provides the only direct evidence to support the view that the putto in the Bargello once stood on the font in Siena.

Place of Origin

Siena (Original. Also in Florence., sculpted)
Florence (Original. Also in Siena., sculpted)
Berlin (probably, Cast)

Date

1416-1434 (sculpted)
1875-1877 (cast)

Artist/maker

Quercia, Jacopo della (sculptor)
Ghiberti, Lorenzo, born 1378 - died 1455 (sculptor)
Donatello, born 1386 - died 1466 (sculptor)

Materials and Techniques

Plaster cast

Dimensions

Height: 534 cm, Width: 193 cm base

Object history note

Acquired in exchange from the Berlin Museum in 1886.

Historical context note

The font was executed between 1416 and 1434. It was a collaboration between a number of sculptors, goldsmiths and painters. The original hexagonal font includes bronze reliefs including Annunciation to Zacharias by Jacopo della Quericia, Baptism of Christ by Lorenzo Ghiberti and Feast of Herod by Donatello. Jacopo also worked on the figure of St John on top of the font. Two Sienese painters were also involved. In 1427, Stefano di Giovanni, known as Sassetta (active 1428; d.1450) produced a drawing for the font, while in 1429, his pupil, Sano di Pietro (about 1405-81) was paid for ornamenting the font with blue and gold.

This cast was given to the Victoria and Albert Museum by the Königliche Museen zu Berlin in 1886. The cast differs from the original in Siena in two respects:
1. Damaged parts: The imitation bronze reliefs show damage not suffered by the originals as the cast is made from more vulnerable material.
2.Putti: Of the original six putti around the top of the tabernacle, only the front four remain at Siena. A fifth putto, holding a tambourine (no.11) was acquired by the Königliche Museen zu Berlin in 1902, and is now in the Staatliche Museen, West Berlin, museum. no. 2653. A sixth putto, which appears on the cast (no.12) is no longer on the font, but is preserved in the Museo Nazionale (Bargello), Florence. The presence of this putto on the cast (first noted by Wilhelm Bode) provides the only direct evidence to support the view that the putto in the Bargello once stood on the font in Siena.

Descriptive line

Plaster cast, painted plaster, after original marble and bronze font with gilding and traces of paint in the Baptistery of San Giovanni, Siena, by Jacopo della Quercia, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Donatello and collaborators, in Siena and Florence, about 1416-34. One putto now in the Staatliche Museen, Berlin and another in the Museo Nazionale (Bargello). Cast in about 1875-7, probably in Berlin.

Labels and date

Both this copy and the original font have altered in time, so each gives a good indication of the other's earlier state. Of the five putti (cherub-like figures) on this cast, only four are in place on the original. However, the cast's imitation bronze reliefs, made from a more vulnerable material, show damage not suffered by the originals. The marble font, made for a church in Siena, was a collaboration between several sculptors, goldsmiths, painters and their assistants. [2014]

Materials

Plaster

Techniques

Casting

Subjects depicted

Fonts (religious building fixtures)

Categories

Sculpture; Christianity; Plaster Cast; Religion

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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