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ID number:  BIRBI-43.2
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Riccio, Andrea (1470-1532)
Title / Object name:  An African Boy Riding a Billy-Goat
Object type:  Sculpture
Place made:  Padua
Culture:  Italian
Date made:  probably 1500s
Materials:  Bronze
Measurements:  21.7 x 22.1 cm excluding base
Provenance:  Known to have been in the collection of John McCann of Simonscourt by 1937 and until 1943 (L. Planiscig in 'Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorisches Sammlungen im Wien', XIII, 1944, p.249 and 'The Connoisseur', vol. CXXIV, 1949, p.24)Purchased from J. McCann, March 1943

This bronze was acquired as by the leading Paduan sculptor Andrea Riccio, and cost the high price of £1000 in 1943. Riccio’s original model was of a solitary, sacrificial goat, in deliberate reference to both pagan and Old Testament rituals. This reflected contemporary humanist taste for art that synthesised classical and Christian interpretations. The Barber cast is one of numerous later variants after Riccio’s model. The shellbearing African boy is symbolic of untamed Nature and, when combined in this way, the billy-goat may simply represent male sexuality. The base is French 18th century.

Notes:  Cast: probably Padua, late 16th century

Exhibited: 'The Arts of the Italian Renaissance', Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, USA, 1958-1959; 'Italian Renaissance Bronzes', Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK, 26 July 1961 - 01 October 1961; 'Italian Renaissance Bronzes', Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 28 October 1961 - 14 January 1962; 'Italian Renaissance Bronzes', Florence, Italy, 08 February 1962 - 31 March 1962; 'Nature and Antique in the Renaissance', Stratische Galerie, Frankfurt, Germany, 04 December 1985 - 02 March 1986; 'Of Exceptional and Outstanding Merit: Treasures from the Barber Institute of Fine Arts', 22 May 2013 - 01 September 2013

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