Workshop of Niccolò Roccatagliata (Italian, born Genoa, active 1593–1636)
(son of Nicolo Roccatagliata) Sebastiano Nicolini (active after 1614)
first half 17th century or later
Copper alloy, with a black lacquer or wax patina.
H. 57.5 cm (excluding prickets).
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Not on view
This candlestick (part of a pair with 1975.1.1380) may have been used in an ecclesiastical setting. One of the roundels between their legs contains a cross, while another contains the figure of a saint. The attributes of the saint—an open book and the IHS monogram—suggest that he can be identified as Saint Bernardino of Siena, an influential fifteenth-century Franciscan preacher who was canonized in 1450. Although the coat of arms in the third roundel has not yet been linked with a specific family, they are probably those of the family who commissioned the pair.
These candlesticks are on tripod bases formed by three scrolls, on each of which reclines a putto. A number of features recall the style of the Genoese sculptor Nicolò Roccatagliata, active in Venice in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, in particular of his large candelabra and sconces in the church of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice (1594 – 96).(1) The similarities are expressed in the large bracket-shaped feet, the putto type, the motif of the supporting putti, the cherub masks, and the large rosettes on the top section balusters. However, the Lehman candlesticks lack the sense of lightness, balance, and openwork design of Roccatagliata’s documented work. It is therefore possible that they belong to a later stage in his career or, more likely, to that of his son and collaborator Sebastiano Nicolini, whose candelabra for the Cappella del Rosario in the church of Santissimi Giovanni e Paolo, Venice (1631 – 33), also share many features with the Lehman pair.(2)
Catalogue entry from: Frits Scholten. The Robert Lehman Collection. European Sculpture and Metalwork, Vol. XII. Frits Scholten, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in association with Princeton University Press, 2011, pp. 206-207.
1. Planiscig, Leo. Venezianische Bildhauer der Renaissance. Vienna, 1921, figs. 661, 662; Kryza-Gersch, Claudia. "New Light on Nicolò Roccatagliata and His Son Sebastian Nicolini." Nuovi studi 5, 1998, figs. 194, 195.
3. Kryza-Gersch, fig. 206.
[Arnold Seligmann, Rey & Company, Paris and New York]. Acquired by Philip Lehman through Arnold Seligmann, Rey & Company in January 1917.