Jump to navigation Jump to content

22 November 2018

Fine British and European Sculpture

Lot 27

An Italian patinated bronze model of the Capitoline Dying Gaul

Estimate £800 - £1200 + fees

Sold Price £1600

An Italian patinated bronze model of the Capitoline Dying Gaul, late 18th century, cast after the Antique, probably the workshop of Zoffoli or Righetti, atop a loosely oval white marble socle

The bronze, 18.5cm high, 36cm long; the dimensions with socle, 21.5cm high, 38.5cm long



The Dying Gaul is an ancient Roman marble copy of a lost Hellenistic statue which was possibly originally executed in bronze and commissioned some time between 230 BC and 220 BC by King Attalos I of Pergamon to commemorate his victory over the Celtic Galatians in Anatolia. The identity of the original sculptor is unknown, but it has been suggested that Epigonus, a court sculptor of the Attalid dynasty of Pergamon, is a probable candidate

The Dying Gaul is thought to have been rediscovered in the early 17th century during excavations for the foundations of the Villa Ludovisi, Rome, (first being recorded in a 1623 inventory of the collections of the powerful Ludovisi family). By 1633 it was in the Ludovisi Palazzo Grande on the Pincian Hill, after which it was acquired by Pope Clement XII for the Capitoline collections. Its theft by Napoleon Bonapart, followed by its subsequent return 1816 only added to its fame, and the Dying Gaul became a firm favourite with wealthy aesthetes engaged on their Grand Tours

Giacomo Zoffoli's workshop was a leading Roman foundry during the 18th century, famous for producing reductions of the very highest quality in bronze after antique marbles. Francesco Righetti's productions were also similarly highly regarded, and it is probable that the first-rate bronze offered here, with its magnificent detailing was cast by one of these masters

Condition report disclaimer