(b. ca. 1450, Modena, d. 1518, Modena)

Head of a Man

Polychrome terracotta, height 26 cm
Galleria Estense, Modena

In the earliest group attributable to Mazzoni (the Lamentation, c. 1475; Santa Maria degli Angeli, Busseto, nr Parma), the broad handling of form and strident characterization betray his beginnings as a mask-maker. By the early 1480s, however, he began using life casts to imbue his figures with a sense of immediacy and to enhance their functional value as ex votos. The Head of a Man is the earliest example of this shift from allusive naturalism to the use of reality itself, in which every scar and wrinkle, even the roughened skin of the subject's shaved cheeks, is faithfully reproduced.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.