P116 - CAPODIMONTE (CARLOS III) FIGURE GROUP OF ORPHEUS PLAYING TO THE ANIMALS
Circa 1755, blue fleur-de-lis mark, modeled by Guiseppe Gricci
Modeled standing, a violin in hand, a lion, hound and hare at his feet, on a plinth molded with laurel swags and musical trophies
(Minor restorations to extremities)
13 ½ in. (34.3 cm) high
Cleo M. and G. Ryland Scott Jr., Antique Porcelain Digest, Newport, England, 1961, pp. 180-181, fig. 101.
On display in the Scott-Allen Collection at The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia from 1976 until 1996
NOTES BY CLEO M. AND G. RYLAND SCOTT, JR in the late 1950’s
This figure is a very important one and is taken from Mythology which was a favorite source for the great sculptor, Giuseppe Gricci, who created it. It is known as "Orpheus Playing to the Animals”.
It depicts Orpheus standing on rocky base playing a violin(lute) On the base will be seen a dog and a rabbit giving. rapt attention to the music. On the obverse side is a very important lion.
The figure is attached to the very decorative plinth and the overall height is 13-1/2 inches. The hair and beard of Orpheus are in colour as is the instrument that he is playing. His body is stippled in flesh tones so characteristic of the early Capo-di-Monti work. The flowing mantle is in all white. The animals are all in colour.
The plinth is finely decorated with swags and is in a typical Baroque taste reminiscent of the Burbons of whom Charles of Naples was a member.
Alice Frothingham in her book published in 1955, entitled “Capodimonte and Buen Retiro Porcelains – Period of Charles III” says p. 17 “The designs and the task of making master models were unquestionably assumed by Giuseppe Gaicci, chief of the factory’s sculptors”. And again, p. 20, she says he did, “Figures of Classical Mythology”. P. 21 she makes the distinction between Gricci’s work at Capodimonte and later at Buen Retiro when Charles moved to Madrid to become King of Spain in 1759.
On p. 24 in referring to his work at Buen Retiro, she says; “At Aranjuez the Oriental compositions show little of the restraint of those modeled earlier at the Capodimonte factory.
This figure has the blue Fleur-de-lis mark. It was the only mark used during the first period (1743-1759) at Capodimonte. It was also used however on the early soft paste at Buen Retiro.
While it is impossible to say with positive authority that such a figure was made at Capidimonte everything points to it. One thing is quite certain and that it is one of the most important figures known and if not make at Copodimonte it was made at a very early period at Buen Retiro. It can be said with assurance that it was the work of the great sculptor, Giuseppe Gricci.