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Bust - Lucrezia Donati
  • Lucrezia Donati
    Bastianini, Giovanni, born 1830 - died 1868
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Lucrezia Donati

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    [Firenze], Italy (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1865 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bastianini, Giovanni, born 1830 - died 1868 (in the style of Mino da Fiesole, maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is a marble bust made by Giovanni Bastianini in Florence, Italy in about 1865. The bust purports to represent Lucrezia Donati, the mistress of Lorenzo the Magnificent. Its style is a pastiche of that of the Florentine 15th century sculptor Mino da Fiesole, and at its first appearance it was declared to be the masterpiece of Mino by the art historian Cavalcaselle. The bust was exposed as a forgery by Dr. Alessandro Foresi in 1868, who acquired it at high price from Giovanni Freppa, and it was a forgery of exceptional quality that the V&A acquired for £84 (a price then comparable to that paid for genuine Renaissance pieces) in 1869.

From the mid-nineteenth century ealry Renaissance sculpture was in high demand and short supply. The Florentine dealer Freppa found a solution to this problem in the sculptor Bastianini, who worked for him from about 1850 to 1867. The well known art historian Cavalcaselle was overwhelmed when he saw the present bust and offered to place it on exhibition in the Bargello. Giovanni Bastianini (1830 – 1868) was an Italian sculptor who started as a stonecutter in the quarries at Fiesole. Bastianini's name became famous in relation to his skillfull art forgery. Bastianini loved Renaissance sculpture and took this for his main inspiration. For Freppa he produced numerous neo-Renaissance works, most often busts and bas-reliefs in the style of Donatello, Verrocchio, Mino de Fiesole and other Italian masters.

Physical description

The hair of Donati, bound with a ribbon, falls in a oigtail behind her. Over her forehead a loop of pearls. She looks downwards, her head turned very slightly to the right. She is dressed in a close-fitting bodice with V-shaped neck. Inscribed.

Place of Origin

[Firenze], Italy (made)


ca. 1865 (made)


Bastianini, Giovanni, born 1830 - died 1868 (in the style of Mino da Fiesole, maker)

Materials and Techniques


Marks and inscriptions



Height: 45.7 cm

Object history note

Acquired in Florence, from Dr. Alessandro Foresi in 1869.

Descriptive line

Bust, marble, Lucrezia Donati, by Giovanni Bastianini, forgery in the style of Mino da Fiesole, Italy (Florence), ca. 1865

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

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. 4
Maclagan, Eric and Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture. London, 1932, p. 168
Pope-Hennessy, John. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: HMSO, 1964, cat. no. 727, fig. 719
Schuyler, Jane. Florentine Busts: Sculpted Portraiture in the Fifteenth Century. New York: Garland Pub., 1976, p. 215, fig. 106
Moskowitz, Anita. F. The Case of Giovanni Bastianini -II: a Hung Jury? Artibus et Historiae. 2006, no. 54, p. 206, fig. 5
Moskowitz, Anita. F. The Case of Giovanni Bastianini: a Fair and Balanced View. Artibus et Historiae. 50, 25, 2004, p. 178, fig. 23
Penny, Nicholas. Catalogue of European Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum: 1540 to the Present day. vol. I, Italian, Oxford, 1992, p. 171
Penny, Nicholas. Catalogue of European Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum: 1540 to the Present day. vol. III British, Oxford, 1992, p. 47
Warren, Jeremy. Forgery in Risorgimento Florence: Bastianini's 'Giovanni delle Bande Nere' in the Wallace Collection. The Burlington Magazine. November 2005, 147, p. 732, fig. 13

Exhibition History

Fake? The Age of Deception (British Museum 07/05/1990-03/09/1990)



Subjects depicted

Donati, Lucrezia


Sculpture; Portraits; Fakes & forgeries

Collection code


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