Vittorio Caradossi, Italian (1861-1918)
A life-size Carrara marble figure of a moon nymph
the scantily clad maiden supported by a crescent moon on a base carved as clouds, signed V. Caradossi Florence, 170cm high (66.5" high)
Caradossi originally designed this large figure of a moon nymph looking into an oval mirror plate supported by the crescent moon. For this reason she is looking underneath her raised right arm, at what would be her reflection in the mirror, which is now lacking. Another version of this sculpture with the mirror plate intact was sold at Christie's, London, 29 February 1996, lot 405. This version was signed V. Caradossi. 1894 Studio Romanelli / Firenze. That the present version is inscribed Florence rather than Firenze implies that it may have been commissioned for an English of French patron, or possibly produced for one of the Great Exhibitions such as the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1889.
The present figure clearly shows the influence of the French sculptors Clesinger and Pradier and yet the features, and the dramatic and confident pose are typical of Italian sculpture at the end of the 19th century. Caradossi's nude is etherial and sensuous and at the same time characterful, solid and humourous, representing a rejection of the more staid, refined poses adopted by the sculptors' predecessors.
Vittorio Caradossi was born in Florence and studied sculpture under Augusto Rivalta at the Accademia di Belle Arti. He is renowned for his large sensuous nudes, often in allegorial or celestial guises; but was also commissioned for numerous important public monuments. His most famous is the monument to the Renaissance artist Desiderio da Settignano, and the model for this was exhibited at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900.