Gold, Silver and Bronze: Metal Sculpture of the Roman Baroque
Roman baroque sculpture is usually thought of in terms of large-scale statues in marble and bronze, tombs, or portrait busts. Smaller bronze statuettes are overlooked, and the extensive production of sculptural silver--much of which is now lost but can be studied from drawings--is omitted from the histories of art. In these lectures, Jennifer Montagu enriches our understanding of the sculpture of the period by investigating these works in metal: the bronzes that adorn the great tabernacles, which are a prominent feature of Roman churches; the often gilded silver, both secular and ecclesiastical; and elaborately embossed display dishes. She also looks at the production of medals, an essential aspect of metal sculpture that is usually confined to specialist literature.
The book concentrates on selected pieces by such master sculptors as Bernini, and leading metal-workers such as Giovanni Giardini. Making extensive use of archival documents and drawings, Montagu examines the often tortuous relationship between the patrons and the artists and elucidates the relationship between those who provided the drawings or models and the craftsmen who executed the finished sculptures. In this way she provides insights into the procedures of the workshops, and at the same time opens our eyes to a new and fascinating area of sculpture.