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Works from Bruno Mantura collection

Tuesday 23 March 2021, 03:00 PM • Rome


Francesco Jerace

(Polistena 1854 - Napoli 1937)

Portrait of a Gentlewoman, Circa 1900-10


€ 3.000 - 5.000

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marble sculpture
height 63 cm (excluding the base of 13.5 cm)
signed on the left under the bust: F. Jerace

Originally from Polistena in the province of Reggio Calabria and trained in the stimulating environment of the Institute of Fine Arts in Naples, Francesco Jerace approached realism under the guidance by Stanislao Lista, Filippo Palizzi and Domenico Morelli. After having participated in the National Exhibition of Naples in 1877 with the realistic Guappetiello, he obtained the definitive consecration at the National Exhibition of Turin in 1880, where he presented Victa , a sensual bust female, depicting Poland won but not tamed, reproduced eighteen times. From this moment on, his studio became a center of worldliness, frequented by the Neapolitan and international aristocracy. To the production of female busts (Issionne, 1882; Era di Maggio and Arianna, 1886; Carmosina and Ercolanea, 1891; Myriam, 1894; Hadria, 1895; Eroica, 1924; Nosside di Locri, 1926), defined as ideals by the sculptor himself, public commissions, including the statue of Vittorio Emanuele for the Royal Palace of Naples and the group of L'Azione for the Vittoriano, and funerary and highly sought-after portraits, in which, through his powerful cultural baggage, the he artist was able to blend classical culture, Michelangelo, mannerism and Berninian and neoclassical stylistic features with the lesson of Neapolitan realism, creating extraordinary living, vibrant, talking images, traversed by an inner vital force. If in the 1877 Portrait of Duchess Teresa Filangieri Fieschi Ravaschieri the figure was still frontal and structured on the type of old-fashioned bust-portrait of the neoclassical tradition, from the Eighties the compositional structure became increasingly free up to reach those results well described in the presentation of the personal exhibition with which Jerace is celebrated in the context of the Venice Biennale of 1909: “he truly possesses southern exuberance. He is a quick, imaginative artist, who easily switches from one genre to another. He joins two virtues that would seem to be excluded, because he has a sense of broad lines, of agitated and dramatic moves, and at the same time that of sweetness and morbidity. If her portraits of men are of rare robust evidence [...], those of women have an enchanting grace of modeling and expression. Some of his female heads open their lips to that joyful and luminous sense of life"[1] . Precisely in these years, in the first decade of the twentieth century, as suggested by the hairstyle and the dress with the rectangular neckline, the elegant female portrait under consideration is placed, which for grace, softness, expression perfectly responds to the description provided by the catalog of the Biennial. The front of the bust, deliberately left unfinished in the lower part, is contrasted by the face slightly turned to the right. The highly polished surface of the neck and face is just creased by a slight wrinkle that makes the twist natural in the same way Gian Lorenzo Bernini had treated Costanza Bonarelli's neck. The latter reference also returns to the way in which the cheeks are made of which the marble manages to render the consistency with virtuosity, the eyes with the pupils drawn with the chisel and the eyebrows and hair of which through a different degree of polishing is suggested roughness.

Teresa Sacchi Lodispoto

[1] AF, Mostra individuale di Francesco Jerace, in Ottava Esposizione internazionale d'arte della città di Venezia, exhibition catalog, Venice 1909, p. 101.

Condition report

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