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Bust - Bust of an Unidentified Man
  • Bust of an Unidentified Man
    Menganti, Alessandro, born 1531
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Bust of an Unidentified Man

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Bologna (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1575-1590 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Menganti, Alessandro, born 1531 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is a terracotta bust made in Bologna, Italy in about 1575-1590. The bust, representing an unidentified man, has been attributed to Alessandro Menganti (1531-about 1594), the most important Bolognese sculptor of the second half of the 16th century. Menganti was described by his pupil, the painter Agostino Carracci (1557-1602), as 'Michelangelo incognito' (the unknown Michelangelo). The bust relates in style to his bronze statue of Pope Gregory XIII of 1576-80 (Palazzo Pubblico, Bologna).

Physical description

The man is bearded and bare-headed and is represented to the waist, wearing a tunic with a falling collar. In his ringed hand he holds a handkerchief against his chest and in his extended left hand is a roll of papers.
There are extensive areas of plaster make-up on the chest to the right and left beneath the collar. There are also smaller areas of make-up to the left temple and on both sleeves. The bust is hollowed out behind.

Place of Origin

Bologna (made)


ca. 1575-1590 (made)


Menganti, Alessandro, born 1531 (maker)

Materials and Techniques



Height: 75.6 cm, Width: 77.5 cm, Weight: 121 kg without the plinth

Object history note

Purchased in Florence (Gagliardi) in 1869.

Descriptive line

Bust, terracotta, of an Unidentified Man, attributed to Alessandro Menganti, Italy (Bolgona), ca. 1575-1590

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

Montagu, Jennifer. Alissandro Algardi. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1985, p. 259
List of Objects in the Art Division, South Kensington, Acquired During the Year 1869, Arranged According to the Dates of Acquisition. London: Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., p. 10
Pope-Hennessy, John. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: HMSO, 1964, cat. no. 537, fig. 533
Maclagan, Eric and Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture. London, 1932, p. 157
Bacchi, Andrea. Da Gian Gistoforo Romano ad Allessandro Menfanti: Note Sulla Scultura del Cinquecento a Bologna. Nuovi Studi. 1, 1991, 1, pp. 65-91, fig. 182
Bacchi, Andrea and Stefano Tumidei. Il Michelangelo incognito : Alessandro Menganti e le arti a Bologna nell'età della Controriforma. Ferrara: Edisai, 2002, cat. no. 29., pp. 199-200. Catalogue of the exhibition held Museo Civico Medievale, Bologna.

Production Note

On acquisition it was thought to be a portrait of Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola, an architect (b.1507 d. 1573), based on its resemblance to the engraved portrait on the title page of Vignola's Regola delli Cinque Ordini d'architettura of 1562.




Sculpture; Portraits


Sculpture Collection

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