Portrait of Giovan Battista Niccolini

Lorenzo Bartolini

Data sheet

  • Author: Lorenzo Bartolini
  • Date: 1827
  • Collection: SCULPTURE
  • Technique: White marble


Lorenzo Bartolini was one of the leading sculptors in Florence in the first half of the 19th century. His body of work is especially distinguished for his portraiture, which became increasingly naturalistic after a brief period in line with the “beautiful ideal” popular at the time. Thanks to this shift, Bartolini was able to merge naturalistic expression with the formal rigour of the pose, characterising each of his sitters in terms of their emotion.
This stylistic feature is clear in the portrait of Giovanni Battista Niccolini (San Giuliano Terme, Pisa 1782 – Florence 1861), which the sculptor made – in virtually one go – in 1827, the year in which the tragedian and man-of-letters from Pisa debuted his play “Antonio Foscarini” at the Cocomero theatre in Florence.

The plaster model for this work is preserved in the Galleria’s Gipsoteca. The two signed and dated busts differ in only one aspect: their size. Stylistically identical, the two portraits portray Niccolini with a slightly contrite expression. The finely sculpted hair falls softly onto his forehead, the sole quirk of this otherwise classical portrait.

The sculpture was recently donated to the museum by the Friends of the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze.

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