Head of an Old Man

Guido Mazzoni

Modena, 1450 – 1518


Terracotta, 26 x 17 x 20cm

This sculpted head arrived at the Galleria Estense in 1909 from the collection of the Calori Cesi Counts of Modena, although it was originally part of Pietro Vitali’s collection in Busseto. It is possible that this is what remains of the lost Lamentation previously in the Chiesa di San Lorenzo in Cremona, known to us from the handwritten notes of Venetian patrician Marcantonio Michiel (first half of the sixteenth century). This Head is exemplary of Mazzoni’s ability to infuse his works with vivid realism, in step with the highest artistic production of the Po Valley during the second half of the fifteenth century in the wake of Donatello and Mantegna’s influence. Although the polychromy is not original, it nonetheless gives an idea of how the sculpture must have looked at the time of its creation.