SOLDANI BENZI, Massimiliano
(b. 1656, Firenze, d. 1740, Montevarchi)

Ewer with Amphitrite and a Nereid

Bronze, height 79,7 cm
Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Soldani's decorative ewers are peerless in their fusion of abstract and more naturalistic forms. Ewers of this sort had no practical function and were descended from the silver and gold vases displayed on sixteenth-century buffets. The shape of Soldani's ewers is dictated by a heady combination of naturalistic forms, in this case Amphitrite with a Nereid, dolphins and other marine attendants (as well as some stray fauns). This figural profusion is matched by the exceptional delicacy of the surface finish which helped to create one of the supreme achievements of late Baroque decorative art.