An impressive white marble and patinated bronze bust of Selika by Luigi Pagani, Milan, circa 1770 LUIGI PAGANI (ITALIAN, 1837-1904)
Lot 157
Luigi Pagani (Italian, 1837-1904) An impressive white marble and patinated bronze bust of Selika
Sold for £97,250 (US$ 161,617) inc. premium
Lot Details
Luigi Pagani (Italian, 1837-1904) An impressive white marble and patinated bronze bust of Selika
signed to the back L. Pagani/ Milano, on a circular waisted foot and square base, 52cm wide, 25cm deep, 85cm high (20" wide, 9.5" deep, 33" high).

Footnotes

  • Nelusko and Selika are two of the principal characters from the Opera L'Africaine (The African Woman). It was the last opera by German composer Giacomo Meyerbeer and Eugene Scribe and was first performed in Paris on the 25th April 1865 to great acclaim. A fine example of French Grand Opera, very popular toward the later 19th century. L'Africaine stages impressive scenes with elaborate costume and spectacular finales. A mythical story set around the Portuguese Explorer Vasco de Gama based on the 'discoveries of the new world' and portrays visions of the exotic non-western world, yet to be discovered by Europeans. It is in this New World that Nelusko and Selika both King and Queen of their native East-India are found and captured by the Portuguese explorer and returned to Lisbon as proof of his discovery of new and uncharted territory. The jealous Nelusko loves Selika, and the latter decides to marry Vasco de Gama in a bid to secure Nelusko's life. Vasco in turn is reunited later with his former love Inez who believed him dead. The opera ends with Inez and Nelusko in despair over the marriage, taking their own lives by inhaling the scent of a deadly blossom from the Machineel tree. It is an opera rich with tales of romance, intrigue and despair.


    A pair of busts of Nelusko and Selika, each signed Luigi Pagani and dated 1871, sold Christie's New York, 28 October 2003, lot 170, ($321,100).
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