Antico, Seated Nymph, c. 1503. Bronze with gilding and silvering, 19.5 cm. high.

“Antico: The Golden Age of Renaissance Bronzes”

Washington, DC

National Gallery of Art

An exquisite touring exhibition of small Renaissance bronzes by the sculptor known as Antico shows that strategies of appropriation and serialization, often considered to have originated in the 20th century, have an illustrious and much longer history. This tiny jewel box of treasures—37 statuettes, busts, reliefs, and medals brought together for the first time—remedies the historic invisibility of an artist who transformed the art and technology of bronze sculpture half a millennium ago, but didn’t rate a mention in Vasari’s Lives. His nickname means “old,” but the concerns of the Mantuan court artist Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi (c. 1455–1528) seem contemporary. These highly refined, gilded and silvered bronzes display a stunning mix of fine craft, sumptuous finishes, and technological innovation and luxury, making them as desirable as the sleekest new iProduct. The centerpiece of the show was an elegant Seated Nymph, probably made in 1503. Barely eight inches tall, it shimmers with a rich interplay of gilding, silvering, and Antico’s signature black patination. …see the entire review in the print version of May’s Sculpture magazine.