• The Myrtle's Altar - Andrea Lucchesi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • The Myrtle's Altar - Andrea Lucchesi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • The Myrtle's Altar - Andrea Lucchesi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • The Myrtle's Altar - Andrea Lucchesi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • The Myrtle's Altar - Andrea Lucchesi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • The Myrtle's Altar - Andrea Lucchesi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • The Myrtle's Altar - Andrea Lucchesi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • The Myrtle's Altar - Andrea Lucchesi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • The Myrtle's Altar - Andrea Lucchesi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
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The Myrtle's Altar

Andrea Lucchesi

(Italian, 1860-1924)

Bronze with mid-brown, light brown and golden patination
Height: 14 3/4'' (37.5 cm)

Conceived 1899 and cast within the artist's lifetime


Discussing his prerogatives as a sculptor, Lucchesi remarked in 1899: ‘I […] consider the female figure nature’s masterpiece, and the fact that I have so often used it, to endeavour to convey or symbolise a poetic thought, shows how strongly I feel this’. The present piece, The Myrtle’s Altar is indicative of such artistic ideals.

The sculpture depicts a reclining female nude as she sits on a tree stump, with her back and arms supported by its branches. The woman gazes into the distance with piercing eyes without engaging with the viewer. A sword in its scabbard, a crown and a crucifix hang from the tree, while a bag filled with coins spills onto the ground at the back of the tree trunk. The subject of seated female nudes was explored extensively by New Sculpture artists; the most notable of such examples is perhaps Albert Toft’s bronze The Spirit of Contemplation, which was exhibited in 1901 at the Royal Academy.

Like Toft’s celebrated piece, The Myrtle’s Altar is an essay in nude modelling. From a technical point of view, the work also shows the strong influence of Alfred Gilbert, especially in the use of coloured patinas and symbolic accessories of difficult interpretation.

In the Greek tradition, the myrtle plant was sacred to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, while in Jewish mysticism it represented the masculine force of the universe. Therefore, the title already places the viewer in front of a puzzle, for the sculpture can be interpreted within both a ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’ framework. Are the crown and sword a symbol of vanquished male power, subjugated by love? Or are they to be seen as symbols of strength and ambition? Is the crucifix a symbol of religious love, or a means through which to seek authority?

Lucchesi exhibited a life-size version of The Myrtle’s Altar at the Royal Academy in 1899 and a bronze example in the following year. Spielmann observed that ‘in pose it reminds one of the Barberini Faun in the Munich Glyptothek, and the figure may be considered Mr. Lucchesi’s best effort’. Other casts of this model are in the collections of the Birmingham City Art Gallery and the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston.

Download Exhibition Catalogue for Andrea Lucchesi

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The New Sculpture Movement


2018 Exhibition Catalogue

Works by Andrea Lucchesi

Browse By Artist

Gustinus Ambrosi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Ambrosi, Gustinus

(Austrian, 1893-1975)

George Henry Aubertin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Aubertin, George Henry

(British, 1889-1970)

Michael Ayrton, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Ayrton, Michael

(British, 1921-1975)

Gilbert Bayes, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Bayes, Gilbert

(British, 1872-1953)

Pietro Calvi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Calvi, Pietro

(Italian, 1833-1884)

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Carpeaux, Jean-Baptiste

(French, 1827-1875)

 Carrier-Belleuse & Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Carrier-Belleuse & Rodin

(French, 1824-1887 and 1840-1917)

Jean-Baptiste Clesinger, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Clesinger, Jean-Baptiste

(French, 1814-1883)

Charles Henri Cordier, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Cordier, Charles Henri

(French, 1827-1905)

Aimé-Jules Dalou, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Dalou, Aimé-Jules

(French, 1838-1902)

Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Derwent Wood, Francis

(British, 1871-1926)

Alfred Drury, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Drury, Alfred

(English, 1856-1944)

Sir Jacob Epstein, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Epstein, Sir Jacob

(British, 1880-1959)

Pierre Félix Fix-Masseau, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Fix-Masseau, Pierre Félix

(French, 1869-1937)

Sir George Frampton, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Frampton, Sir George

(English, 1860-1926)

Louis Julien (Jules) Franceschi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Franceschi, Louis Julien (Jules)

(French , 1825-1893)

 George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren

(British )

Sir Alfred Gilbert, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Gilbert, Sir Alfred

(British, 1854-1934)

Sir William Goscombe John, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Goscombe John, Sir William

(British, 1860-1952)

Jean-Léon Gérôme, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Gérôme, Jean-Léon

(French, 1824-1904)

Frederick James Halnon, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Halnon, Frederick James

(British, 1881-1958)

Herbert Hampton, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Hampton, Herbert

(British, 1862-1929)

Adrian Jones, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Jones, Adrian

(English, 1846-1938)

Fritz Klimsch, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Klimsch, Fritz

(German, 1870-1960)

Gerald Laing, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Laing, Gerald

(UK, 1936-2011)

Frederic Lord  Leighton, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Leighton, Frederic Lord

(English, 1830-1896)

Andrea Lucchesi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Lucchesi, Andrea

(Italian, 1860-1924)

Sir Edgar Bertram Mackennal, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Mackennal, Sir Edgar Bertram

(Australian, 1863-1931)

Robert Tait McKenzie, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

McKenzie, Robert Tait

(Canadian, 1867-1938)

Ivan Mestrovic, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Mestrovic, Ivan

(Croatian, 1883-1962)

George Minne, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Minne, George

(Belgian, 1866-1941)

Henry Moore, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Moore, Henry

(English, 1898-1986)

Edward Onslow-Ford, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Onslow-Ford, Edward

(English, 1852-1901)

Eduardo Paolozzi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Paolozzi, Eduardo

(British, 1924-2005)

Pablo Picasso, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Picasso, Pablo

(Spanish, 1881-1973)

Enzo Plazzotta, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Plazzotta, Enzo

(Italian, 1921-1981)

Hiram Powers, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Powers, Hiram

(American, 1805-1873)

Jean-Jacques Pradier, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Pradier, Jean-Jacques

(Swiss, 1790-1852)

Sir William Reid Dick, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Reid Dick, Sir William

(English, 1879-1961)

Charles Ricketts, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Ricketts, Charles

(English, 1866-1931)

Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Rodin, Auguste

(French, 1840-1917)

 Rodin and Carrier-Belleuse, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Rodin and Carrier-Belleuse

(French, (1840-1917 and 1824-1887))

Eric Stanford, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Stanford, Eric

(British, Born 1932)

Alfred Stevens, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Stevens, Alfred

(English, 1818-1875)

Arthur Strasser, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Strasser, Arthur

(Austrian, 1854-1927)

Thomas Thornycroft, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Thornycroft, Thomas

(British, 1815 – 1885)

Sir William Hamo Thornycroft, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Thornycroft, Sir William Hamo

(English, 1850-1925)

Albert Toft, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Toft, Albert

(English, 1862-1949)

Reuben Townroe, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Townroe, Reuben

(British, 1835-1911)

Anton Van Wouw, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Van Wouw, Anton

(South African, 1862-1945)

Arthur George Walker, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Walker, Arthur George

(British, 1861 - 1936)

Ossip Zadkine, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Zadkine, Ossip

(Russian/French, 1890-1967)