1997.1: Marble group: Diana and Endymion
View additional and larger photos
© The Holburne Museum of Art, Bath
|Title||Marble group: Diana and Endymion|
|Object type||In category: Sculpture » sculptural group|
Plura, Giuseppe (British sculptor, active 1777-1786) (known) - Sculptor(s)
|Place of origin||Europe » Northern Europe » British Isles » Great Britain » England » Bath|
51.0 cm height whole object
50.0 cm width whole object
50.0 cm depth whole object
|Materials & techniques||
White marble group of Diana and Endymion. Endymion is recumbent and asleep with his dog at his feet and his shepherd’s staff and horn at his side. To his left Diana floats on a cloud above the orb of the moon and gazes down fondly at his languorous head. She gently caresses his shoulder and hand. Both figures are naked but partially draped with fluttering drapery. A small putto holding a small torch tugs at the drapery over Endymion’s left thigh. Two books are at its feet. A second putto, also holding a torch, stands behind Endymion. On a rocky base.
|Marks and inscriptions||
Diana and Endymion is a masterpiece of charm and virtuosity. It is remarkably rococo in feel and shows the influence of French sculpture of the period. The composition is strikingly close to an anonymous seventeenth-century painting, formerly attributed to Rubens, in the Doria Collection, Rome and to a marble group by Agostino Cornacchini in the Hermitage, St Petersburg. The group influenced Roubiliac in his Bacchanal of Putti, dated 1758.
According to classical mythology Endymion was sent into eternal sleep by Jupiter in exchange for being granted eternal youth and beauty. Each night he was visited on Mount Latmos by the goddess Diana.
Diana and Endymion is signed and dated 1752 and was clearly executed as a 'showpiece' for display in Plura's studio in Bath. The connoisseur Ivory Talbot of Lacock Abbey wrote to his friend Sanderson-Miller on 13 August 1754: 'When at Bath, fail not to see a piece of sculpture of Endymion on Mount Patmos, the performance of Mr Plura a Statuary.'
In 1755 Plura moved to London. He took the sculpture with him and displayed it in his studio once again. The Bath Journal reported on 24 November 1755: 'At Mr Plura's, a statuary, late of the City of Bath, but now of Oxford Row, near Poland Street, London, are taken subscriptions, at a Guinea each, for a Marble Group representing DIANA AND ENDYMION: but as Mr Plura is called at an Italian Court, therefore if the subscriptions are not filled by March next, the money shall be returned to the subscribers'. However, in March 1756, on the eve of his return to Italy, Plura died of a fever.
The sculpture appears to have returned to Bath with his widow and to have descended through the Bartrum family. More recently it was in Italy.
P. Bishop, Holburne Museum of Art, Souvenir Guidebook, 1999, p.38
Art and Culture in Georgian Bath 1714-1830
Art and Culture in Georgian Bath 1714-1830 » Art » Hoare and his Contemporaries
Art and Culture in Georgian Bath 1714-1830 » Leisure » Shopping & Fashion
|Method of acquisition||purchase|
|Provenance||Giuseppe Plura (d.1756); thence by decent through the family of his daughter, Mary Bartrum (1751-1790); collection of Hugh Honour and John Fleming; Daniel Katz; by whom sold to the Museum|
Title of exhibition: The Beauties of Bath: the Holburne Museum Revealed