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Giuseppe Verdi

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Europe (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    ca.1890 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Romanello, Raffaello, born 1856 - died 1928 (sculptor)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Bronze mounted on marble

  • Credit Line:

    Acquired with the support of the Friends of the V&A

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    On short term loan out for exhibition

Giuseppe Verdi (1815-1901) was the most influential Italian opera composer of the 19th century whose best-known works include Rigoletto, 1851; Il Trovatore, and La Traviata, 1853; Macbeth, 1865; Don Carlos, 1867; Aida, 1871, and Otello, 1887.

Raffaello Romanelli (1856-1928) was the second generation of a dynasty of Florentine sculptors active from the mid 19th century. The son of Pasquale Romanelli (1812-1887), he is considered one of the foremost Italian monumental sculptors of his generation. He studied under his father, a pupil in turn of Lorenzo Bartolini (1777-1850) at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence. The Romanelli Sculpture Gallery was founded in Florence when Pasquale took over Bartolino’s studio.

After studying in Rome, Raffaello returned to Florence in the mid-1880s where he established himself in his father's studio, as a sculptor of busts, medallions and bas relief. During the 1890s, Raffaello was commissioned for numerous funerary and public monuments in Florence and elsewhere in Italy. He also secured by high profile international commissions such as the Demidoff monument in Kiev and the General Martin monument in Caracas, as well as exhibiting at the many international exhibitions of the period. In the early 1900s he moved away from Classic Realism, gravitating towards the style of the Liberty or Art Nouveau style which afforded him a greater sense of freedom in his work in subject and treatment.

By the first decade of the 20th century Raffaello had achieved a wide reputation with The Anglo-American Gazette calling him ‘Italy’s greatest living sculptor’ in 1908, and the San Francisco Examiner contending that he was ‘to Italy what Rodin is to France’ in 1915. He was eventually appointed Professor of the Accademia, and was followed by his son Romano (1882-1968), also a successful sculptor.

Physical description

Bronze bust of Giuseppe Verdi mounted on a white marble base representing a lyre and acanthus leaves on top of an ionic column. Verdi is portrayed bare-headed, wearing a broad-lapelled jacket and a stock tied in a large bow at the front. The sculpture is etched with a signature by the scupltor R. Romanelli in the lower part of the proper left lapel.

Place of Origin

Europe (possibly, made)


ca.1890 (made)


Romanello, Raffaello, born 1856 - died 1928 (sculptor)

Materials and Techniques

Bronze mounted on marble


Height: 62.0 cm maximum height, Width: 44.0 cm maximum width, Depth: 31.0 cm maximum depth

Object history note

According to the vendor, Anthony Gasson purchased this bust from Robert Bowman of Bowman Sculpture, 76 Duke Street, St. James's, London, WC1 6BN. The value of this item was assessed at £25,000 at the date of purchase of the Gasson Collection.

Descriptive line

Bust of Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901). Bronze mounted on marble by Raffaello Romanelli (1856-1928), ca.1890


Entertainment & Leisure; Opera; Sculpture


Theatre and Performance Collection

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