VITTORIA, Alessandro
(b. 1525, Trento, d. 1608, Venezia

St John the Baptist

1583-84
Bronze, height 71 cm
San Francesco della Vigna, Venice

Vittoria's bronze statuettes, although an important aspect of his output, have never been thoroughly studied, with the result that basic problems of attribution and chronology persist. They include some of his most beautiful works and demonstrate how medium affects aesthetic: unlike the marble statues, which tend to command only one main viewpoint and which always reflect the shape of the original block of stone, the bronzes are more overtly three-dimensional. St John the Baptist, for instance, steps and leans forward as his shoulders twist in opposite directions from his hips and his raised right arm stretches above and behind him.

The finest bronze statutte securely attributed to Vittoria is St John the Baptist which has Michelangelesque influence but whose active pose, elasticity and fluid forms lead into the virtuoso carving and high drama of Gian Lorenzo Bernini and the Baroque.

The statuette of St John the Baptist is on a stoup in San Francesco della Vigna.