Antico (Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi) (Italian, ca. 14601528)
Bronze, partly gilt and silvered; H. 14 3/8 in. (37.2 cm)
Edith Perry Chapman Fund, 1955 (55.93)
The artist who made this statuette was nicknamed Antico because of the devotion to ancient canons of composition manifest in this work. Not only did he keep the flame of Greco-Roman antiquity alive in his small-scale bronze reductions of classical sculptures, but he also worked as a restorer. One of the horses of the Dioscuri on the Quirinal in Rome has been found to bear his signature.
Much of Antico's work was produced at the brilliant court of Isabella d'Este at Mantua. The well-knit features of his bronzes have much in common with those in paintings by his contemporary, Andrea Mantegna. Although much of Antico's energy went into reproduction, there is no known original for the Paris. It is Antico's largest surviving statuette. The smooth flesh and exquisite detailgilding of hair and apple, silvering of eyesattest to the high quality of his best creations.
The subject of the statuette derives from a classical myth wherein Paris, son of Priam, king of Troy, was called upon to judge a beauty contest among the three goddesses, Venus, Juno, and Minerva, an event that led to the Trojan War.