This beautiful Seated Nymph is the work of Pier Jacopo Alari-Bonacolsi, one of the earliest and most gifted creators of small bronzes in the Renaissance. His emulation of classical forms and his work as a restorer of ancient statues earned him the nickname "L'Antico." This emulation of the antique extended to his casting and finishing techniques: the nymph and its base are cast in "true bronze" (copper with the addition of tin), an ancient practice known to Renaissance artists through surviving texts. The original black patina, worn by centuries of handling and now visible only in the recesses and around the nymph's nose and mouth, also reflects the qualities of antique bronzes, as does the use of precious metals. Seated Nymph was probably executed for Isabella d'Este (1474–1539), marchioness of Mantua, an avid and discerning collector of her day. Antico was attached to her court for most of his career and his creations reflect the refined, classicizing culture it nurtured.

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Pier Jacopo Alari-Bonacolsi, called Antico
Mantuan, c. 1460–1528
Seated Nymph, 1503
bronze with mercury gilding on the drapery and hair and silver foil in the eyes