About this artwork
One of the most individual sculptors of his age, Francesco Mochi possessed an astoun- ding technical prowess. Although his output was relatively small, Mochi was one of the most original artists to emerge in seventeenth-century Italy. His art is distinguished by energetic lines, dramatic movement, and subtle psychology. Here a taut precision characterizes the youth’s garment, and a carefully composed rhythm governs Mochi’s virtuoso treatment of the corkscrew curls. In contrast to the greater precision of the hair and drapery, the wistful expression of the youth, with his slightly parted lips, endows the sculpture with life. This work may have been conceived as a portrait, but it is more likely a biblical or mythological subject. The almost transcendent expression suggests that the sculpture may represent a religious figure, such as the youthful Saint John the Baptist. Its small scale suggests that the work was intended as an object for private contemplation.
- Francesco Mochi
- Bust of a Youth (Saint John the Baptist?)
- Marble, on variegated black marble socle
- 40.5 × 33 × 29 cm (15 7/8 × 13 × 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