Girolamo Lombardo

Ferrara c. 1505/10 - Loreto c. 1584/89


Bronze, circa 1530-40
Height with the bronze base:  51.2 cm / 20⅝ in
Overall including the wood socle: 55.5 cm / 21⅞ in
Inside the base is an old label No. “1931 : aal : 2”

Other known variant cast: 
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv. 10.012, h. 50.8 cm.

+44 (0)20 7259 0707

Julius Böhler Kunsthandlung, Munich 2014;
Purchased from a descendant of,
Karl Anton Theodor Henschel (1873-1924), Kassel 1901;
J & S Goldschmidt & Co., London and Paris, sold 1901.

Facture: The figure and base are cast together by the lost wax method, the bronze is almost solid, and the base metal is coppery in colour. The surface retains some faint traces of the original golden lacquers and of a darker patination which has been rubbed through to reveal the naturally oxidized warm reddish-brown surface of the bronze. The pupils and irises of the eyes are finely cold chased, as are some details of her elaborate coiffure and the finger and toe nails. The fine detailing of the cache-sex and of the girdle below her breasts were modeled in the wax before casting. Two small holes in the base have been filled with hard wax.    
A related cast in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, which has a different facial type and hair style, and lacks the cache-sex was described in 1976 by Manfred Leithe-Jasper as “Venetian (?), about 1560”.1 Leithe-Jasper points out the similarity in pose (albeit in reverse) between it and the figure of Flora or Spring from the Four Seasons made by Wenzel Jamnitzer, after models by Johann Gregor van der Schardt. These gilt bronze figures (also in the Kunsthistorisches Museum) formed the base of a table fountain commissioned by the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II in 1568 and delivered in 1578 to his son Rudolf II in Prague.2
Leithe-Jasper indicated that the model (the present cast was not known to him) would seem to predate van der Schardt’s model of Flora or Spring. Similarities with Eve’s open mouth, out-stretched arm, and the drapery over one breast appear in a Giulio Romano drawing from the 1520s of a Roman sarcophagus depicting an Amazonomachy,3 which might suggest Lombardo was looking at an antique representation of an Amazon as his source for Eve. Van der Schardt is recorded as having worked in Rome and Bologna during the 1560s, and his figure may well have been inspired by a similar classical pose.
From an image of c.1935, we know that Eve was previously paired with a pendant figure of Adam, since sold by a descendent of Karl Anton Theodor Henschel. They were intended to face one another, but in the image Adam and Eve are instead looking away from each other. Eve’s distinguishing features include her expressive eyes with clearly delineated corners, her finely combed, wavy elaborate coiffeur, and the large detailed leaf that serves as a cache-sex.

Close resemblances are found in works produced by various members of the Lombardo family. Comparative figures and busts with similarly combed wavy hair are seen in works by Tullio Lombardo, though more convincing are the finely combed hair styles of a number of small bronze busts that are given to his brother Antonio Lombardo.4 The marbles and small bronzes fall into the category of “Venetian expressive busts”, which Sarah Blake McHam and Alison Luchs have described as fantasy narrative portraits.5 The expressive eyes, parted mouth and indentation in the chin found in Eve are also seen in the face of the woman in Tullio Lombardo’s double portrait in the Galleria Giorgio Franchetti alla Ca’ d’Oro, Venice (c. 1490-95, marble, h. 47 x 50 x 23.8 cm ).6 Tullio’s treatment of the eyes, with their strongly defined lower lids narrowing at the area around the tear duct, is also seen in his brother Antonio’s marble Virtue on the tomb of Doge Andrea Vendramin. This fine definition demonstrates the difficulty of exactly determining hands in shared workshops, although Tullio only worked in marble, Antonio also made models for casting in bronze.7
The model of the bust of the Young Woman all’antica in the Wallace Collection has been attributed to Tullio’s brother Antonio Lombardo, and its casting given to Severo da Ravenna, like other versions in the Galleria Estense, Modena and the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.8 While Antonio’s bronze busts of women also have slightly parted lips and sharply delineated eyes, they are more contained than Eve, which may indicate that Eve emanates from a later period in the production of the Lombardo workshop, and can be associated with Antonio’s son Girolamo.

The Lombardo family’s ability to evoke dramatic expression of thought and emotion in classical-themed works is further seen in the head of Leda in Leda and the Swan in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Venice (inv. n. 30, marble, h 74 cm, gift of Giovanni Grimani 1587). Various members of the family worked for Grimani, repairing antique models in his collection, and stylistic similarities to other works indicate that Leda’s head was invented by a member of the Lombardo workshop to complete the Roman fragment.9 Marcella de Paoli notes that Girolamo Lombardo, who was in Jacopo Sansovino’s workshop in the 1530s and 1540s, also probably knew or worked with the Grimani collection given the ties between Sansovino and the Grimani.10 Leda’s large eyes with carefully delineated pupils, her parted mouth and hairstyle, which stylistically resemble the same elements in Eve, indicate the hand of Girolamo. 
Another work emanating from the Lombardo workshop, in which closely comparable elements are found, is the base made for the restored figure of the Idolino now in the Museo Archaelogico, Florence. Discovered near Pesaro in 1530, the Idolino is a Roman copy of a Greek sculpture. Some thirty years later, the Duke of Urbino, Guidobaldo della Rovere II, commissioned a base for the Idolino figure, and together they were sent as a gift to Grand Duke Ferdinando II in Florence during the seventeenth century.11 The base includes reliefs of bacchantes and satyrs framed by finely worked vine leaves. The leaves display the same attention to detail as found in Eve’s cache-sex, and in both cases the veins of the large leaves are sharply delineated. The women in the reliefs wear drapery that flows over their bodies, accentuated by a band under their breasts much like that worn by Eve, though their dresses cover the entire body.

The correlation between these elements found in the base of the Idolino, the busts of the antique women, and the head of the Leda and in Eve, suggest that this small bronze should be attributed to Girolamo Lombardo. The vitality and energy captured in Eve’s pose demonstrate Girolamo’s interest in the expression of the antique in the Veneto,12 and of the Lombardo workshop’s ability to recapture the grace of the classical era.

1. Italienische Kleinplastiken, Zeichnungen und Musik der Renaissance. Waffen des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts. R. Feuchtmuller, ed. Schloss Schallaburg, 1 May – 2 November 1976, no. 97, p. 92 the entry by M. Leithe-Jasper, as “Venezianisch (?), Um 1560”. It was acquired by the Kunsthistorisches Museum in 1965 from the stock of the planned “Führer-Museums” Linz.
2. H. Honnens de Lichtenberg, Johan Gregor van der Schardt. Bildhauer bei Kaiser Maximilian II, am dänischen Hof und bei Tycho Brahe, Museum Tusculanum Press, University of Copenhagen 1991, pp. 97-104, see figs 49, 50; see also F. Scholten, “Johan Gregor van der Schardt in Nuremberg,” in Carvings, Casts and Collectors, The Art of Renaissance Sculpture, eds P. Motture, D. Zikos & E. Jones, London, 2013, p. 135, pl. 1.
3. P.P. Bober & R. Rubinstein, Renaissance Artists and Antique Sculpture. A Handbook of Sources, London & Oxford, 1986, p. 176, no. 139, 139a, Giulio Romano, Vienna, Albertina, inv. 331. The Amazonomachia, with Achilles and Penthesilea sarcophagus, Roman, first half of 3rd century AD, Vatican, was known in the 1490s. The authors note the right hand figures also appear in works by Raphael, Michelangelo, and Giambologna, see Giambologna 1529-1608. Sculptor to the Medici, exh. cat., ed. C. Avery & A. Ratcliffe, London 1978, nos 33-35.
4. See J. Warren, The Wallace Collection, Catalogue of Italian Sculpture, London, 2016, vol. 1, no. 53, pp. 219-223; A. Luchs, Tullio Lombardo and Venetian High Renaissance Sculpture, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 4 July  - 31 October 2009, no. 4, p. 80, fig. 2, the entry by M. Ceriana.
5. See S. Blake McHam & A. Luchs, “Venetian expressive busts: Portraiture, narrative or fantasy?” in Luchs 2009, pp. 61-65.
6.  Ibid, no. 1, pp. 66-69, the entry by A. Luchs.
7.  A. Markham Schulz, The Sculpture of Tullio Lombardo, London, 2014, VISTAS Series, vol. 1, fig. 81.
8. Warren 2016, vol. 1, no. 53; see also Blake McHam & Luchs, in Luchs 2009, pp. 63, 115; Luchs, “Antiquity in the Study : The Contribution of Antonio Lombardo,” in idem, pp. 113-115, figs. 3, 4.
9. M. de Paoli, “I Lombardo e i restauri delle sculture antiche dei Grimani di Santa Maria Formosa”, in Tullio Lombardo. Scultore e architetto nella Venezia del Rinascimento, atti del convegno di studi, Venezia, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, 4-6 April 2006, ed. M. Ceriana, Venice, 2007, pp. 361-368, fig.11, 12.
10. Ibid, p. 365.
11. U. Middeldorf, “Notes on Italian Bronzes III. Girolamo, Aurelio and Lodovico Lombardi and the
Base of the ‘Idolino’”, The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, 73, 429, (December 1938), p. 251.
12. For mention of Antonio Lombardo’s citation of the Laocoon in his Vulcan at the Forge, executed for Alfonso d’Este, and a wider context of Venetian interest in the Antique, see Michel Hochmann, “Laocoon à Venise,”Revue germanique internationale, 19, 2003, p. 9.

Lombardo Girolamo