A life-size Andromeda in the nude is one of the masterpieces of the Mattei gardens. The young woman is along with Aphrodite a symbol of the feminine beauty in Greek mythology. Chained to the rock, she lives her fate with dignity and heroism: a sea monster sent by Poseidon will come to devour her, ending the plagues sent to the earth by the jealousy of the god.
Tastes change and the Andromeda of the Mattei gardens is no more documented in the mid eighteenth century when the collections of the villa are dispersed.
This fine example of an outstanding Roman garden statue of the late Renaissance has resurfaced in perfect condition. It is estimated $ 500K for sale by Christie's in New York on April 13, lot 7. It had been sold at auction in 1985 at Finarte in Rome and two years later at Sotheby's but its link with the Villa Mattei was not yet identified and since 29 years the young woman had been once more asleep.
The marble is signed by P. Paolo Olivieri, an artist to whom Mattei had assigned in 1576 the realization of the statue of Pope Gregory XIII at the Campidoglio whose decoration had been left unfinished at the death of Michelangelo. The chain interrupts elegantly her charming nudity. The maritime atmosphere is provided by a crab opening a shell and a monkfish before the feet of Andromeda.
I invite you to watch the video shared by auction house, rightly proud of this rediscovery.
SOLD for $ 670K including premium