As is said in referring to the Madonna and Child, No. 66, Rossellino, the sculptor whose influence may be seen in this bust, chose rather to depict the gentler aspects of character than the more heroic; in this imagined portrait the world’s conqueror has the face of a speculative philosopher but scarcely that of the Captain of the Hosts. The fine modeling of the features and the dignity in pose of the head are characteristic of Rossellino’s day and of his immediate followers. Such portrait-busts of the heroes of antiquity, as well as other sculptures with classical subjects, were much in demand during the early days of the Renaissance to satisfy the ambitions of col-lectors avid for Greek and Roman marbles, but unable to discover a supply of indisputable specimens sufficient for their needs. In this bust the handling of the marble, the classical conception of the whole, and the correctness of the details of armor and ornament, show how closely the sculptors of the Middle Renaissance had studied the ancient examples of Roman work and how well they had blended the re-discovered classical tradition with the poetic feeling of their own day. At one time the piece formed part of the collection of Maurice Kann in Paris.
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