Pluto, the god of the underworld, stands with the three-headed hound Cerberus, who guards its gates. This impressive bronze group, produced in Venice under the influence of the sculptor Jacopo Sansovino, was left unfinished at several stages. First, it seems to have been interrupted when the artist was working in wax, possibly not ready to have it cast, as various areas that were left rough in this state were not effaced. Nonetheless, the sketchy wax was cast in bronze, although we do not know when. Nor was the bronze properly finished, as remnants of the casting process also remain. Finally, the sculpture was painted black to disguise the disunity of the surface. Thus this work remains a remarkable document of an interrupted sculptural project.
Edward Cheney ; Capel-Cure , London (until 1905; sale, Christie's, London, May 5, 1905, no. 85); Sir George Donaldson ; George and Florence Blumenthal , New York (by 1926–41; to MMA)
Artist: Antico (Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi) (Italian, Mantua ca. 1460–1528 Gazzuolo)Date: probably first quarter 16th centuryMedium: Bronze, with remains of dark brown lacquerAccession: 1982.60.91On view in:Gallery 537