Tuesday, April 29


Giacomo Serpotta (1656-1732)

A seventeenth-century Sicilian sculptor and plasterer, called by Rudolf Wittkower, a "meteor in the Sicilian sky;" his stucco-work is characterized by the inventive playfulness of the era, combining a balletic lightness with a decorative elegance that is a pleasant contrast to the usual classical draperies we associate with the period; a wonderful vernacular sidelight on the Baroque. His most charming work are a series of ecclesiastical sculptures of allegorical figures of the virtues at the Oratory of San Domenico in Palermo, some of which are reproduced below, along with those at the Oratory of San Zita [sic], also in Palermo. Some may be surprised by the strutting modishness of some of the figures, particularly that of Fortitude, but such topical minor details are ultimately no more odd, if perhaps less familiar, than the medieval kirtles and jeweled crowns of so many Gothic depictions of Ursula, Katherine and the rest. The figure of Purity above is at the church of San Francesco di Paola in Trapani.

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