RIZZO, Antonio
(b. ca. 1430, Verona, d. ca. 1499)


c. 1485
Marble, height 205 cm
Palazzo Ducale, Venice

This statue was originally on the façade of the Arco Foscari (Foscari Arch), a crucible of Venetian architecture and sculpture in the Palazzo Ducale courtyard. Now it has been substituted by bronze copy.

Rizzo was the architect and sculptor in charge of the second phase of the Foscari Arch (1478-85). While supervising the arch, he contributed only two sculptures, the Adam and Eve, which originally stood in lower niches of the main façade. Traces of priming suggest that the figures were painted to imitate bronze. They attempt to conceal their nudity with leaves and Eve with a "Venus pudica" pose. The Adam is related to works by Antonio Rossellino and Mantegna, while Eve is almost identical to a nude in painting by Giovanni Bellini. Rizzo, indeed, worked from the drawings of Giovanni's brother, Gentile Bellini.

In this representation, Adam has already tasted the forbidden fruit and, frightened, turns his eyes heavenward as if seeking help. His mouth is open, his right hand clutches his chest as if he is short of breath. Rizzo takes Adam's body from nature without idealizing it.

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