Tarquin and Lucretia

After a composition by Hubert Gerhard Netherlandish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 540

The design is a compositional outgrowth of Hubert Gerhard’s Mars, Venus, and Cupid. His large bronze group with that subject, cast in 1584–85 as the centerpiece for a fountain at the Fugger castle, Kirchheim, is now in the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich, and a fine reduction, with modifications, is in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. The Tarquin and Lucretia is a further variant in which the movements of both figures are directed more violently to the right. Several examples exist—in museums in Amsterdam, Baden-Baden, Baltimore, and Cleveland, among others. The strongest may be the one in the Metropolitan Museum (50.201; from the Thyssen collection, Schloss Rohoncz).[1] It preserves something of Gerhard and his school. The present bronze is sleeker, and of a yellowish metal covered with the ruddy lacquer patina that is typical of bronzes of the Louis XV period.

The masks on the self-base are equipped with spouts that suggest a table fountain. The masks also appear on the group with which this bronze was formerly paired: a Rape of Deianira, based on a composition by Giovanni Bologna, which is now in the Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen. That museum’s catalogue notes the earliest owner of both bronzes as Baron Vittinghodd-Riesch. Later they belonged to Gorm Rasmussen of Sølyst. In the Rasmussen auction catalogue the two bronzes are illustrated surmounting commodes.

[James D. Draper, 1984]

[1] For a list of the several casts, see W. D. Wixom, Renaissance Bronzes From Ohio Collections (exhib. cat.), The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1975, no. 213.

Tarquin and Lucretia, After a composition by Hubert Gerhard (Netherlandish, 1540/50–1621, active Germany), Bronze, with red-brown lacquer patina, possibly French

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