Charity – Jacopo Sansovino

FLORENTINE, 1486—-1570

The bequest of the Altman Collection has increased from two to seven the examples of figure sculpture in Sansovino’s style owned by the Museum, the two pieces previously shown being small Madonnas, one in bronze, the other in terracotta, the former attributed to the master himself, the other to his school. The group of Charity included among the Altman sculptures, repeats the type of these two Madonnas, although it is finer in quality and execution than they and may be accepted as a work from the master’s own hand and an especially happy example of his skill. Sansovino always achieved in his figures something of the nobility and amplitude sought after as an ideal among artists of the time, and even in so small a group as the Charity one feels the splendid grace of the superhuman beings he strove to create. The piece was probably a sketch for a larger figure; a heroic group depicting the same subject, but with a different handling, still exists in the Church of S. Salvatore in Venice, where Sansovino worked as sculptor and architect. Of the two Charities, the Altman terracotta is much the more satisfactory and illustrates within its small compass the most conspicuous merits of Venetian sculpture during the High Renaissance.