by Enrico Astorri (Italy, 1859-1921) Milano, ca. 1900
Sculpture height: 122.5 cm. Total height with original column in Serpentine marble: 212 cm.

“Saltimbanca” by Enrico Astorri 

This exquisite marble sculpture showcases a young saltimbanca, or female street acrobat, and her monkey, poised atop an intricately wrought drum as they await their next performance. Her countenance radiates a playful innocence and every strand of her hair, carved with striking realism, cascades in a canopy of luxurious curls to frame her face. The girl’s relaxed posture on the drum stands as a testament to the artist’s mastery of the sculptors art and his attention to nuance in the playful inclusion of a cheeky monkey to accentuate the child’s youthfulness and inherent sense of humour. The artist’s unparalleled artistry and expertise is evident in the drum’s surface which boasts remarkable attention to detail. From the finely carved cords and the meticulously crafted escutcheons to the texture of the drumhead, particularly the stitching on an old tear, the precision of his work is exquisite. The texture of the girl’s clothing and the intricate details of her physique are accentuated by a delicate play of light and shadow, bearing witness to the artist’s deep anatomical understanding. The elegantly outstretched leg, lightly suspended in the drum strap, endows the figure with a dynamic, flowing quality which contrasts harmoniously with the tranquillity of her facial expression.

The artist leads his audience on a contemplative journey of discovery full of the delight of uncovering subtle details such as the four classic card symbols. Astorri adds his characteristic touch of realism to this majestic piece through the skilfully crafted base. Representing a humble wooden crate resting on a finely sculpted yet rustic net, Astorri adds yet another layer of depth to this masterpiece.


Enrico Astorri (Italy, 1859-1921)

ASTORRI or ASTONI, ENRICO was an esteemed Italian sculptor. Born in San Lazzaro Alberoni on 10 March 1859, he passed away in Milan on 15 October 1921. Having initially studied in Parma before moving to Genoa, he ultimately honed his craft in Milan, where he took up residence at an impressively young age.

His notable works include the monument to ‘Vittorio Emanuele II’ in Parma (1879), exhibitions in Turin (1884) featuring the marble statues ‘La sérénade’ and ‘Attraction’, and other significant contributions in Milan, Venice, and Bologna throughout the 1880s. His engagements extended to London exhibitions, and his prolificacy was evident in the latter part of the century, with extensive travels and commendations in Uruguay, Argentina, Russia, and beyond. His oeuvre can be found in public collections in Piacenza and Trieste.


Material: White Carrara Marble

Signed: “Astorri E. co./Milano”

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