Artibus et Historiae no. 35 (XVIII)

1997, ISSN 0391-9064

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DOUGLAS LEWIS - An Early Series of Dynastic Portrait Busts by Alessandro Vittoria

The subjects of three terracotta busts by Vittoria in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, formerly only tentatively recognized as members of the Zorzi family of Venice, are identified and dated through new documentation involving an unrecognized fourth terracotta bust from the same series, now on the tomb monument of Senator Antonio Zorzi, in the church of Santo Stefano. A study of the original installation of this cycle of family busts, in the entrance loggia of Palazzo Zorzi-Liassidi, reveals that they were intended to celebrate the grandparents and parents of a family providentially brought back from the brink of extinction. The group includes Vittoria's earliest busts in terracotta, as well as his only busts of women: it constitutes a unique née-Antique program of dynastic portraiture, conceived as a domestic ensemble almost all parts of which survive, and the juxtapositions of whose original installation can be established with some precision.

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