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ID number:  BIRBI-50.8
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Italian
Title / Object name:  Hercules and a Dragon
Object type:  Sculpture
Place made:  Possibly Italy
Culture:  Italian
Date made:  Possibly late 19th century
Materials:  Wax and cartapesta (papier mâché)
Measurements:  28.4 cm high
Provenance:  Murray Marks; J.P. Heseltine (purchased between 1904-1916); Henry Harris; purchased at Sotheby's sale of Henry Harris's estate (deceased), 24/25 October 1950, lot 130, for £2,900

This curious sculpture entered the collection, at great cost, as the work of the Florentine Renaissance sculptor Giovanni Francesco Rustici (1475-1554). Recent research has raised suspicions that it is neither by him nor even of his period, although the figure type has some similarities with certain bronzes by Antonio del Pollaiuolo (1429/33-1498). It may be a 19th-century pastiche, perhaps concocted for the growing art market for renaissance sculpture. Made of cartapesta (papier mâché) and wax, it has the appearance of a preparatory model.

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