About This Artwork

Francesco Mochi
Italian, 1580-1654

Bust of a Youth (Saint John the Baptist?), 1630/40

Marble, on variegated black marble socle
40.5 x 33 x 29 cm (15 7/8 x 13 x 11 3/8 in.)

From the collection of the estate of Federico Gentili di Giuseppe; restricted gift of Mrs. Harold T. Martin through the Antiquarian Society; Major Acquisitions Centennial Endowment; through prior gift of Arthur Rubloff; European Decorative Arts Purchase Fund, 1989.1

One of the most individual sculptors of his age, Francesco Mochi possessed an astounding technical prowess. The sharp turn of the youth's head, his distant gaze, and his parted lips are all characteristic of the immediacy of Baroque sculpture, and his vaguely classical dress suggests a historicizing context. This work may have been conceived as a portrait, but it is more likely a biblical or mythological subject. Its scale suggests that it was intended as an object for private contemplation.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Art Institute of Chicago, "New Acquisitions: Mochi’s 'Bust of a Youth',” September 1989 [no cat.].

Publication History

Charles Oulmont, “Collection M.F. Gentili di Giuseppe,” Les Arts 162 (1917), p. 18 (ill.).

Art Institute of Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago Annual Report 1988–89, pp. 1, 55, pl. 1.

Gazette des Beaux-Arts 67, 6 (March 1991), p. 50, no. 217 (ill.).

Ian Wardropper, “A New Attribution to Francesco Mochi,” Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies 17, 2 (1991), pp. 102–19.

The Daily Telegraph (17 July 1992).

The Independent (17 July 1992).

Fine Art & Antiques International 7, 1 (February 1994), cover.

Andrea Bacchi and Susanna Zanuso, Scultura del ‘600 a Roma (Milan, 1996), pp. 824–26, 847–60, no. 586.

David Eskerdjian, “Scultura del ‘600 a Roma,” Apollo 138, 437 (1996), p. 58.

Nancy Moffett, “Art Institute to keep Jewish family’s statue,” Chicago Sun-Times (June 13, 2000), p. 3.

Ian Wardropper, “Collecting European Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago,” Apollo 154, 475 (September 2001), pp. 4–5, no. 3.

Ownership History

Collection of Federico Gentili di Giuseppe (died 1940), Paris, by 1917 [see Oulmont 1917]; sold, his estate sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 23 and 24 April 1941, lot 112 as “attribué a Bernini” to Aubry, for 10, 800 francs [see Hôtel Drouot shipping records in curatorial file; auction subsequently declared void by the French court]. Sold, Arcole auction house, Paris, 11 March 1988, Dessins et tableaux anciens, lot 59 as “Le Bernin” to Anthony Roth, London; sold to the Art Institute, 1988.

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