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Vincenzo Gemito l'acquaiolo Bronze (the Water Vendor) C1900


£3,850 | $4,692 USD | €4,432 EUR
Item Number: SA918374
Date of manufacture: 1900
Current Status: For sale
Seller: The Art of Quality
Purchase Item # SA918374 Now direct from The Art of Quality
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(Naples 1852–1929)
The original cast was produced in 1881 in Gemito’s foundry and is now held in the Pignatelli Museum in Naples. This is a later cast, but it is a very impressive and highly decorative version of this charming bronze. The shorts are removable (with a hinged fixing - most unusual) allowing the option of being dressed or naked.
A second cast sold approx eight years ago for £12,000 see link
Vincenzo Gemito born in Naples in 1852, is considered to be the most important Italian sculptor of the late nineteenth century and is increasingly regarded as one of its greatest draughtsmen.
His origins were unpromising.
An orphan street child until he was adopted by a poor artisan, he was put out as an assistant to the sculptor Emanuele Caggiano at the age of nine.
He then attached himself informally to the older but more progressive sculptor Stanislao Lista, who apparently encouraged him to work from street models.
Having acquired the skills of modeling in clay and wax, the young man set himself up independently. In 1868 he exhibited a sculpture at the Promotrice di Belle Arti in Naples, The Card Player, that showed a Neapolitan urchin scratching his head and studying a hand of cards.
The work had the signal good fortune to attract the attention of Victor Emmanuel II, king of Italy, who purchased a bronze cast of it for the Capodimonte collection, a notable honor for the sixteen-year-old sculptor.
Gemito cultivated a kind of rugged realism in the interpretations of his subjects, conveyed by contrasting rough and smooth surfaces.
His drawing oeuvre kept pace with his sculpture, and what has appropriately been termed his "naturalistic bizarrerie" is seen in 1876 in the terra-cotta Chinese Acrobat and also in a series of pen-and-ink studies of fisher boys, which culminated in the life-size bronze Little Fisher Boy (Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence).
From 1877-1881 Gemito lived in Paris, where he was a friend of the sculptor Ernest Meissonnier, whose work could not have been more different from his own.
On his return to Naples he incorporated another thread of tradition into his work, that of his classical predecessors in Pompeii and Herculaneum, which resulted in the bronze sculpture Water Carrier
Vincenzo Gemito was fascinated by the ancient world throughout his artistic career. In the present lot, the artist brings together classical and contemporary street life. The boy has leaped up onto the ancient fountain to proffer water to the passers-by. His hair is disheveled and he balances a large water jug on his hip whilst holding out a cup.
The young boy poses for long hours under the weight of the “Mummara”, filled with sand instead of water, to stress the natural balance of the body. The model stands firmly, legs straddled and with torso rotated to support the amphora on the hip.
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This antique has been viewed 49 times in the past month with the most views from the United Kingdom.


This item is antique. The date of manufacture has been declared as 1900.


Height = 55 cm (21.7")
Width = 0 cm (0.0")
Depth = 0 cm (0.0")

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