The Frick Collection
Andrea Riccio: Renaissance Master of Bronze
Special Exhibition

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Andrea Riccio

Introduction to the Exhibition


Exhibition Checklist

Andrea Riccio: Renaissance Master of Bronze
October 15, 2008 through January 18, 2009

Exhibition Checklist

The Shouting Horseman   The Shouting Horseman
c. 1510–15
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Cat. No. 19

The rider turns his head and bellows a war cry while his horse excitedly paws the air: they are ferocious comrades in battle. Riccio conveys fleeting emotion in his sculptures as compellingly as his contemporary Leonardo da Vinci did in drawings. Riccio’s swift modeling and sketching in the wax is beautifully preserved in this bronze, as seen in the warrior’s rippling back muscles and fancifully embellished helmet. Similar virtuoso modeling and decorative motifs appear in many of the figurative and functional bronzes in this gallery. Like The Shouting Horseman, each demonstrates Riccio’s masterful invention in small scale.

Orpheus   Orpheus
after 1510
Musée du Louvre, Paris, Département des Objets d’Art
Cat. No. 20

Although unusually garbed in a classical military costume, similar to The Shouting Horseman’s, this seated figure is probably Orpheus, the gifted musician of Greek legend. Orpheus plays a lyre, an ancient stringed instrument that accompanied recitation and improvised singing. Leaning forward, head to one side, and open-mouthed, Orpheus is in the very act of inspired creation. The richness of his song is symbolized by the cornucopia at his side. The hole at the back of Orpheus’s seat was probably an attachment point to secure the statuette to a wall. Mounted above a Renaissance scholar’s desk, Orpheus could have inspired equally rapt episodes of contemplation and writing.

Sword Pommel and Guard   Sword Pommel and Guard
after 1516
Bronze parcel gilt
Armeria Reale, Turin
Cat. No. 18

Only the sword’s round gilt bronze pommel and horizontal guard are by Riccio. The grip, steel blade, and gilt ring (bearing a spurious Donatello signature) were nineteenth century additions. When originally complete, the magnificent Renaissance sword was a display piece meant to be paraded during public ceremonies and hung proudly in the nobleman’s private study. Its complex imagery celebrates the art of war as well as peace. On each side of the pommel frightening Medusa heads, symbolizing death, are flanked by putti riding dolphins, emblems of all-conquering love. Riccio individually modeled each reoccurring motif with extraordinary, swift virtuosity. Continue >>>

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