(b. 1724, Torino, d. 1793, Torino)
Sacrificing Vestalc. 1754
Terracotta, height 80 cm
Accademia Albertina, Turin
In Rome, the restoration work on newly unearthed ancient statues was entrusted to sculptors; and as the collectors of this period wanted works restored to their original state (or what was believed to be their original state), restoration often involved carving missing parts. This practice provided artists with a regular source of income and an opportunity to measure themselves against the sculptors of Antiquity. Inevitably this work left its mark on their style. This was the case with Ignazio Collino, an artist from Turin and a protégé of King Carlo Emanuele III who sent him to Rome at his expense.
Collino studied ancient marbles in Rome, tried his hand at restoration, and became acquainted with French art. He made no secret of his classical leanings after he returned to his native city. The Sacrificing Vestal, this amply draped female figure lighting or tending a flame on an altar, bespeaks a fascination with the antique, notwithstanding its characteristically eighteenth-century elegance and fluidity of line.
Yet Collino is capable of conceiving large dynamic Baroque compositions. His work, like that of a few other eighteenth-century artists, looks forward to the eclecticism of the nineteenth century.