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Grandi, Vincenzo
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Grandi, Vincenzo

Vicenza, 1493 - Vicenza, 1578

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Second quarter of the XVI century. Marble. Not on display

This image of Aristotle was in the possession of Diego Hurtado de Mendoza (1504-1575), poet, bibliophile, antiquarian and imperial ambassador in Venice between 1539 and 1546, when he moved to Rome. Aristotle formed a pair with a portrait of Plato, also now in the Prado (E305), and both were given by Mendoza to Philip II. Hurtado de Mendoza’s passion for philosophy (he was a gran Aristotélico in the words of Páez de Castro), explains the presence among his possessions of sculpted and painted images of philosophers and of a painting of Philosophy. Mendoza was the author of a translation of Aristotle’s Mechanica. In the dedication of his translation to the Duke of Alba, Mendoza pointed out the purpose of his undertaking: so that it can be seen how correctly and easily one can translate from Greek into our language without passing through Latin, and confessed to his passion for Aristotle: my principal aim has been to occupy my time [...] in studying and identifying the works of Aristotle through the interpretations and texts that have come into my hands. Mendoza’s predilection for this philosopher was reflected in his library, which had so many works by Aristotle that Mendoza made it available to the Academia Aristotélica created by some of those present at the Council of Trent. When the library was sent to El Escorial in 1576 the works on Aristotle and commentaries on them amounted to sixteen Latin manuscripts, twenty-two Greek ones, one in Arabic and more than one hundred printed Latin editions. The present bust is a replica of an anonymous, Florentine bronze relief of the fifteenth century. The relief was known in Venice in the first half of the 16th-century and various versions are known in marble, always paired with one of Plato. The finest example, in the episcopal palace in Trento, has been attributed to the sculptor Vincenzo Grandi, followed in terms of quality by the one in the Prado (almost identical in size), then by the others in Munich, Paris and elsewhere, which are of lesser quality. The presence of Mendoza in Trento during the opening sessions of the Council of Trent might favour an attribution of the Prado’s Aristotle to a hand close to that of Grandi. However, the similarity between these pairs of philosophers and the Self-portrait by Valerio Belli (London, Victoria and Albert Museum) has recently been pointed out. Without suggesting Belli to be the creator of the Mendoza reliefs, it has been noted that in Venice Mendoza acquired numerous bindings with reproductions of medals and plaquettes by Belli (Text drawn from Falomir, M.: El retrato del Renacimiento, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2008, p. 491).

Technical data

Related artworks

Marble, Second quarter of the XVI century
Inventory number
Grandi, Vincenzo
Second quarter of the XVI century
Height: 62 cm; Width: 56 cm; Base/bottom: 5 cm; Weight: 12.7 Kg

Bibliography +

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de la escultura, Madrid, 1908, pp. 221.

Tormo y Monzó, Elías, Homenaje Español a la Memoria de Emil Hubner, El Fundador de la Moderna Arqueologia Hispanica, Imprenta y Editorial Maestre, Madrid, 1948, pp. 34.

Inventarios reales: bienes muebles que pertenecieron a Felipe II, Madrid, 1956, pp. 183.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de la escultura, Madrid, 1957, pp. 161.

Blanco, Antonio; Lorente, Manuel, Catálogo de la escultura. Museo del Prado, Patronato Nacional de Museos, Madrid, 1981, pp. 162.

Fernández Miranda y Lozana, Fernando, Inventarios Reales Carlos III 1789-1790, I, Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 1988, pp. 96.

Coppel, Rosario, Esculturas del Renacimiento italiano en el Museo del Prado: La colección de Don Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, Accademia Spagnola di Storia, Archeologia e Belli Arti. Roma, 1996, pp. 95-97.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de la escultura de época moderna. Museo del Prado: siglos XVI-XVIII, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1998, pp. 189.

Coppel, R., ''La colección de un joven príncipe del Renacimiento. Don Carlos y las esculturas inspiradas en el mundo antiguo'', 2003, pp. 16-29.

Cacciotti, Beatrice, La tradizione degli ''Uomini Illustri'' nella collezione di don Diego Hurtado de Mendoza ambasciatore tra Venezia e Roma (1539-1553), Annali del dipartimento di Storia, 2005, pp. 210.

Falomir, Miguel, El retrato del Renacimiento, El retrato del Renacimiento, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2008, pp. 301.

Helmstutler Di Dio, K., 'Sculpted Diplomacy. State gifts of sculpture from Italy to Spain in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries' En:, L'Arte del Dono. Scambi artistici e diplomazia tra Italia e Spagna, 1550-1650. Studi della Biblioteca Hertziana 8. Jornata di studi 14-15 enero 2008, Milan, 2013, pp. 51-65 [52 nt.9].

Negri, Massimo, Vincenzo e Gian Gerolamo Grandi. Scultori di pietra e di bronzo nel Cinquecento veneto, Provincia autonoma di Trento, Trento, 2014, pp. 214-215.

Other inventories +

Inv. Felipe II, 1598-1607. Núm. 3636.
Otra estatua de mármol de Aristotiles, de medio relieve, con molduras de madera. Tasada en treynta ducados.

Inv. Carlos III, 1789-1790. Núm. 930.
930 + Yd. Dos vajos reliebes Etruscos de Aristoteles y Platon de dos pies menos quarto de alto y uno y quarto de ancho: á nuebe mil reales cada uno importan. 18.000

Inscriptions +

Aristóteles el hijo de Nikomachos [Traducción de la inscripción en caracteres griegos]
Incised. On the front

Inscribed in black. On the front

Scrap of paper. On the front

Exhibitions +

The Renaissance Portrait
03.06.2008 - 07.09.2008

Update date: 09-11-2021 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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