Nymph and Fauno, Giuseppe Siccardi, 1920s

Bronze Pendant Sculptures

Giuseppe Siccardi 1883- 1956

Description:

These are two pendant sculptures made of bronze and depicting two mythological figures, a Nymph and a Faun. The sculptures are signed on the base “G. Siccardi“.

Nymph:

As for the female figure, it is a figurative work belonging to the mythological genre: the subject depicted is a nymph.

The nymphs (Νύμϕαι, Nymphae) were minor divinities, linked to the cult of nature. Imagine how female genes, virgins or young women, were symbols of the life force of nature itself. They lived in streams, rivers, lakes, trees, woods, caves; they were known for their kindness to mortals and often intertwined love affairs with gods, humans and woodland dwellers. The nymphs were denominated with different names based on the vital natural element: water (springs, rivers, lakes), Naiads (Νηιάδες or Ναιάδες, Naiădes) or earth (forests, mountains), Dryads or Hamadryads (Δρυάδες, ‘Αμαδρυάεςδ Drydes, Amadryădes).

They were rarely represented alone, frequently instead in the company of Pan, the Satyrs or even Hermes.

The life-size figure is standing; the head slightly tilted, the face elongated and well proportioned; his gaze fixed forward, his nose straight and his lips parted. The hair is simple, not particularly defined, with a central parting and hair gathered behind the neck. The right arm is folded towards the chest with the open hand facing upwards, the left arm, on the other hand, is stretched along one side to hold the robe. The lower limbs are arranged in a chiasmus respect to the upper ones: the right leg is stretched and the left one is flexed.

The chiasmus is a compositional technique that consists in the arrangement of the human figure according to a particular rhythm that recalls the trend of the letter χ: it is a particular arrangement in which the parts create an intersection where a flexed lower limb corresponds to an upper limb of the opposite side stretched, and vice versa.

The feet are slightly offset in an asymmetrical position; the young woman is wearing sandals and is dressed in a long robe down to her feet; a thin strip of fabric surrounds the young woman’s chest, highlighting her breasts; the shoulders are uncovered, while the upper limbs are wrapped in a stole / cloak. The drapery is quite fluid and soft.

The sculpture follows a single essential direction, namely the figure of the nymph. Vertical lines prevail; the surface is monochrome. The contrast between the vertical drapery of the robe and the diagonal / horizontal one of the stole, and the various chiaroscuro effects give the statue a greater sense of three-dimensionality and balance. The figure is well proportioned and composed: the modeling is essential, the dimensions are calibrated and balanced.

Dimensions: 156 x 58 x 34 cm ( 61,4 x 22,8 x 13,4 in )

CODE: ANTBRO0000295

Fauno:

As far as the male figure is concerned, here more evidently, it is a figurative work belonging to the mythological genre: the subject depicted, even if decidedly humanized, is a Satyr.

The Satyr (σάτυρος, sátyros), a mythical male figure companion of Pan and Dionysus, was a minor deity, personification of the fertility and life force of nature. Being semi-divine of the woods, the Satyr is represented with human body and limbs, but ears (and often also horns), tail (and sometimes hooves) goats. Considered the male correspondents of the nymphs, they also lived in the solitude of the mountains or woods, hunting, dancing and playing the bagpipe, flute or castanets. Together with the nymphs themselves and the Bacchantes they associated with the procession of Dionysus (Bacchus). In the ancient Roman religion the satyr is known as “faun”. The Fauns, Italic correspondents of Pan and Greek Satyrs, are described as half goat beings with goat hooves and horns.

Life-sized, the figure is standing. The head is tilted to the left and oriented downwards in the act of playing the bagpipe. The elongated and well-proportioned face: the attentive eyes, the fixed, committed gaze; a slightly hooked nose, thin and tight lips. The eyebrows are marked and the forehead is wrinkled, highlighting the effort due to the insufflation of air (clearly visible in the area between the eyebrows). The act of playing is well defined by the swollen cheeks. A hint of beard at the chin recalls the “goat” traits typical of satyrs: the goat goatee is elongated, very well defined, with a soft course and a W ending.

The head is surrounded by a thin ribbon ending with wide and long flaps that go down the back and shoulders (one central wider and four lateral, two on each side, narrower).

Two small goat horns are visible on the head. The hair, designed by small incisions with delicate shadows, is slightly wavy, soft on the forehead, and with two longer and curled locks (ringlets) at the ears.

The bagpipe – a typical wind instrument of pastoral origin and character – consists of an oval and very elongated air accumulation bag (skin): the effect of the filling is well rendered by chiaroscuro effects and a very accurate realization .

The instrument has three sound pipes of different lengths inserted in a log to which the wineskin is connected: as usual, a single pipe has digital holes necessary for the emission of the melody, the others, without holes and therefore with a fixed pitch. , serve as an accompaniment.

The arms are folded and the hands intent on supporting and playing the bagpipe. The fingers are tapered: in the left hand three are free while the ring and little fingers cover two holes in the barrel; in the right hand, on the other hand, four fingers are tied to the instrument and only the index finger is free.
The yield is fluid. The lower limbs are one extended and the other flexed: the left leg, slightly arched, supports the weight of the body, while the right one, bent, rests on a base.

The modeling of the musculature follows the movements of the limbs: the left quadriceps femoris is tense and rigid, while the right one is relaxed.

The muscular system is toned. The young satyr is naked; a long cloak, probably sheepskin, covers only part of the arms, chest and genitals. The body, finely built, has a well-defined, vigorous musculature, in particular in correspondence with the pelvis and shoulders. The sculpture follows a single essential direction, namely the figure of the satyr. Vertical lines prevail; the surface is monochrome. The movement of the upper and lower limbs, combined with that of the fingers, the expression of the face, and the rendering of the muscles give the statue a sense of balanced realism. The pose is natural.

The figure is well proportioned and composed: the model is refined, the dimensions are calibrated and harmonious.

Dimensions: 152 x 56 x 52 cm ( 59,8 x 22 x 20,5 in )

CODE: ANTBRO0000296

Historical-stylistic analysis:

Giuseppe Siccardi (Albino, 18 July 1883 – Bergamo, 18 January 1956), the son of a marble worker, was a pupil of Ponziano Loverini at the Carrara Academy in Bergamo.

In 1906 he won a scholarship that allowed him to attend courses at Ettore Ferrari’s free nude school in Rome, where he studied the works of the masters of the past.

In 1921 he exhibited at the International Sacred Art Exhibition in Milan and in 1922 he executed the plaque in memory of Cesare Tallone. In 1936 he was present at the Milan Triennale, then exhibiting in many Italian cities.

Among his sculptures there are several monuments to the Fallen or works depicting characters from the local artistic scene: significant examples are the bust of Gariele Camozzi – patriot – made in Dalmine (photo) and the statue depicting Giovan Battista Moroni (photo), painter of the Bergamo area active in 1500, commissioned to Siccardi by the Municipality of Albino.

Among the works of a civil nature, the two statues carved for the facade of the Palazzo di Giustizia in Bergamo depicting the Law and the Law deserve a mention.
Bergamo Palace of Justice
Statue of the palace of justice

Sacred works appear in many churches in the area: in Dalmine, outside the parish church of S. Giuseppe, in the four corners of the churchyard there are four statues in gentile stock from Brembate depicting S. Antonio da Padova, S. Rita da Cascia, S. Judas Thaddeus, St. Thomas Aquinas.
In Como, on the facade of the Basilica del Santissimo Crocifisso, two bronze statues with the figures of St. Paul and St. Peter.

In Bergamo, at the Parish of San Salvatore, Siccardi realizes the high reliefs of the pendentives dedicated to the four great doctors of the Church: S. Bernardo, S. Alfonso, S. Anselmo and S. Cirillo.

Comparing the works in question in particular with the statue of the LEX of the Palazzo di Giustizia in Bergamo, we note how the taste of the analyzed sculptures is still soft and even if the modeling is fast and straight, as typical in that era, the elegance and kindness of the two portrayed leaves us a taste of Liberty, a memory in a type of sculpture that is going to stiffen and militarize. An immediate comparison can be made on the drapery of the Lex and that of our Nymph. The Palace of Justice was inaugurated in 1925, therefore it can be assumed that the two sculptures described here are slightly earlier.

Como, Basilica of the Most Holy Crucifix

Bibliography:

– Alfonzo Panzetta, Nuovo Dizionario degli scultori italiani dell’Ottocento e del primo Novecento, 2 vv., Adarte, Torino 2003.

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