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Lot 24

A bronze figure of the Medici Venus Italian

Italian, 1st half 19th century
on carved Portland stone plinth
the figure 157cm high, 220cm high overall

Condition Nice veridgree patination from being outside; casting joints visible on tops of the arms and legs where the piece was made in multiple pieces and then braced together; small old filled rectangular hole on the back of left arm; left buttock which appears to be a bullet hole which is now filled with plaster; joints visible on tail of dolphin and top of cherub; front of bronze base torn in places and mis-shapen and in need of straightening out and reinforcing from the back; joint mark with fixing pinholes visible around neck; pedestal with one missing corner on top left and right hand corner with old repair; pedestal weathered with moss and lichen and probably not original to piece as bronze overlaps front, back and sides, no other visible losses or damages.
Estimate: £4,000 - £6,000
Hammer price: £14,000
Bidding ended. Lot has been sold.

The Venus de Medici was first recorded in 1638 at the Villa Medici in Rome, although it is likely that it was the Venus mentioned in a 1598 inventory.  By 1688 the Venus was moved to the Tribuna of the Uffizi in Florence.  In 1800 it was moved again to Sicily for protection against the French but in 1802 it was ceded to the French but was returned in 1815 and resumed its position in the Uffizi where it still stands to this day.  For several centuries this Venus enjoyed the reputation as being among the best six sculptures to have survived from antiquity, although its origins remain unknown it is believed to be a first Century copy of an Athenian bronze.

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