As part of its Treasures sale on July 4, Sotheby’s will auction an outstanding bronze cast by the foremost sculptor of 16th century Florence — Giambologna (1529-1608). “The Dresden Mars” was once a personal gift for the Elector Christian I of Saxony (1560-1591) and is one of a handful of Giambologna works ever likely to come to market.
“The earliest documented cast of Mars, this sculpture has long been regarded as the primary point of reference for Giambologna’s famous subject. Mars will be offered in Sotheby’s London Treasures sale on July 4 with an estimate of £3-5 million,” says Sotheby’s.
Alexander Kader, Sotheby’s Co-Worldwide Head of European Sculpture & Works of Art, said, “cast by the hand of a Renaissance genius, Giambologna’s Mars embodies the mastery and innovation for which he is acclaimed. Given the personal nature of the gift and the patron’s royal status, Giambologna was clearly not ready to settle for anything less than his absolute best — a creation fit for a prince.”
“Giambologna’s Mars is the sculptor’s most powerful male nude statuette. A tour de force of Mannerist bronze sculpture, Giambologna was concerned with the figural composition of an archetypal heroic male; the mythological god of war appears unencumbered by specific iconography, the characteristic helmet, spear and shield rejected, with only a sword hilt hinting to the divine subject’s identity,” adds the auction house.
Thomas Helfrich, Head of Culture, Sport & Education at Bayer AG, says, “The Bayer AG collection includes strong representations of Modern Art, German Expressionism, the Ecole de Paris, Post-War Art and art from the late 20th century. The Giambologna is a standalone piece in the collection, distinct in period and style from the other works. In order to ensure its future conservation and the visibility it deserves, we have decided to deaccession the work.”
Founder: Louise Blouin