Bronze. Black, thick and bituminous coating. Casting defects. 42,5 x 18 x 21,5 cm
This bronze depicts a long in the tooth bearded man as he stretches his right arm forward.
Unfortunately, we don’t have identical statues to compare it to, and as such we are unable to attribute it to a specific author.
However, the heavy texture of the bronze and the coating, as well as the severe physical strength of the subject, suggests a plausible Renaissance dating, although cautious.
In regards to the technical aspects some casting defects are present near the neck area, repaired but still visible. Cold working was barely done on the head and the nails.
The result is an imposing man stunted by small hands; the hair is crudely outlined, like in a draft.
We can ascribe many characters to this mysterious figure: since he is a bearded man that seems to be commanding something with his arm outstretched, he could be a Neptune placating the waters or a club-less Hercules. He could also just be an orator.
If looking for comparisons, Tiziano Aspetti known as Mino (Padua 1511-1522) could be a starting point. His bronze Neptune, kept in the Palazzo Venezia, displays a similar physique: mighty and small-handed.
The Neptune statue by Montorsoli (Florence 1507-1563), made for Messina’s Neptune fountain, is depicted performing a very similar gesture. All these comparirons are purely speculations, however.
I would like to conclude by pointing out a vintage photo of a room inside the Bode Museum of Berlin, home to an important collection of bronze Renaissance statues, where, on a table, a statue identical to our specimen can be seen.
AAVV, Von Allen Seiten Schon, Hoffenbach 1995, p. 49.