Bronzes sculptures by Francesco Bertos (Italian, 1693-1739) ©Thomasso Brothers Fine Art

Tomasso Brothers Fine Art will unveil a rare pair of bronzes at The International Fine Art & Antique Dealers Show worth around $1 million.  These magnificent groups are amongst the largest bronzes by Francesco Bertos (Italian, 1693-1739), a prominent Venetian sculptor of the first half of the 18th century. 

Francesco Bertos' patrons included Tsar Peter the Great, and some of the most prestigious Venetian names of his time such as Field Marshal Johan Mathias von den Schulenburg and Antonio Manin, who were attracted by the exquisite delicacy of his marble carvings and his unrivalled virtuosity in metal casting.  The dispersal of some of these historic collections in the 20th century, and the subsequent renewal of interest in Bertos, has resulted in the resurrection of his reputation to a level enjoyed by the sculptor in his own day. 

The recent discovery of the identity of the family who originally commissioned the groups makes them a great rarity in the artist's work. They represent two scenes from classical literature: Livy's legend of the Heroism of Marcus Curtius, 81 cm high, (left) and Pliny's tale of the Fable of Dirce, 74 cm high, (right): 

The two groups are of marginally different sizes, and it is possible that one group was commissioned first, and the second was then chosen to become a pendant to it. The coats of arms have been identified as belonging to the Paduan family Dondi Orologio which was raised to the Venetian nobility in perpetuity after the brothers Giovanni Antonio, Gerolamo and Franco donated 100,000 ducats to the cause of the Venetian war against the Turks in Crete. The commissioning of two such magnificent bronzes would have served to enhance the reputation of the family as members of the Venetian cultural elite.  

Visitors to Tomasso Brothers Fine Art at Stand A2 can expect to encounter some splendid examples of sculpture, furniture and works of art dating from the medieval period to the early 19th century at The International Fine Art & Antique Dealers Show, from Friday 21 to Thursday 27 October 2011.