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Agostino Zoppo (Italian, ca. 1520–1572)
mid-16th century
Italian, Padua
Height: 18 1/2 in. (47 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Edith Perry Chapman Fund, 1997
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 536
The Renaissance developed the Greek deity Chronos (Saturn in Latin) into the personification we know as Father Time, here presented as a winged elder leaning on a crutch. The oversize hands and the scumbled effect of areas such as the beard, in emulation of Venetian painting, are characteristic of the Paduan sculptor Agostino Zoppo. The style is precisely that of statuettes he cast in relief for a monument of 1547 in the Palazzo della Ragione, which the Paduans thought they were erecting to their native son the ancient Roman writer Titus Livius, apparently without realizing that the older epitaph to which the sculptures were joined actually honors a fourteenth-century freed slave, Tito Livio Halys. Zoppo's bronzes on that monument represent Eternity and Minerva. Our Chronos no doubt comes from the tomb of an as-yet unidentified Paduan humanist for which classical subject matter would have been devised as an appropriate accompaniment. A Sibyl in the Metropolitan Museum's collection (see 1978.422), less attractive but exhibiting the same technical features as Chronos, almost certainly belonged to the same dismantled tomb.
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