Borghese Gladiator. Bronze with brown-green patina, on a plinth in Verde Antico marble, and a rectangular base in white Carrara marble and gray granite, ornamented by bronze friezes.
Dimensions : the bronze : H : 11 - W : 11,4 - D : 10,2 inches - Entiere : H : 18,5 - W : 10,6 - D : 6,3 inches
Provenance: Probably acquired in Roma by Cardinal Antonio Despuig Dameto (1745-1813), then by descent in the collections of the Counts of Montenegro, Raixa; then collection of Juan Truyols Rovira (1973-2006), in his property of Predio Morelli, Majorca.
Francesco RIGHETTI was the pupill of the famous Roman bronzier Luigi VALLADIER (1726-1785). He received the patronage of Catherine II of Russia, Popes Pius VI and Pius VII, and took over from his master Valladier as the director of the Vatican foundries from 1805. The quality of his work earned him commissions from the greatest collectors of his time including Camille Borghese and Pauline Bonaparte, sister of the First Consul.
Dating from the Hellenistic period, this sculpture was unearthed during excavations carried out in Antium, Italy. It takes its name from the famous collection of Cardinal Borghese, and will be one of the works subsequently acquired by Napoleon 1st, and kept in the Louvre museum. (INV No. MR 224). Like many sculptures from Ancient Greece, this Gladiator will be used by the great bronziers at the end of the 18th century to decorate the collections of scholars performing their Grand Tour, and it appears in Righetti's catalog from 1794.
Biblio : A.Pasquier “Le gladiateur Borghèse ou la gloire d’un soldat inconnu”, d’après l’Antique, cat. expo musée du Louvre, Paris, 2000, pp 276-277.