A set of four monumental Italian sculpted white marble busts emblematic of the Four Seasons, follower of Orazio Marinali (1643-1720), 18th century, of large proportions, each characteristically portrayed with attributes and partially draped, the largest example approximately 95cm high, 86cm high; presented on modern limed oak plinths, 115cm high, 61cm square
With their characterful features and loosely flowing hair and drapery, these impressive busts echo the taste of the Veneto region at the turn of the 18th century. They show in particular the influence of a group of sculptors working around Venice, which included Giovanni Bonazza, Michele Fabris (called l'Ongaro), and Orazio Marinali, who not only completed significant large-scale religious commissions in the region but also embraced a range of allegorical and genre subjects both in bust and full length format, rendering them with great emotion and attention to detail.
Examples of allegorical busts emblematic of the seasons include the set by Giovanni Bonazza at the Botanical Garden in Padua (which are noted in 1854 by Antonio Ceni in Guida all'Imperial Regio Orto Botanico in Padova , p. 47).
While the busts in the present lot are certainly indebted to Bonazza, they also show the influence of Orazio Marinali, who is best known for the elegantly draped statues of mythological and allegorical subjects which adorn the gardens of the Villa Trissino in his native Vicenza. The rounded features of the maidens in particular can be likened to those of the maidens at Vicenza, and those at Villa Revedin, Castelfranco Veneto. The cloaked and bearded male sitter on the other hand shows similarities to known busts of the same subject by Marinali. Note for example the similar bust of Winter which was offered at Sotheby's London, 5 December 2017, A Venetian Legacy, lot 521 (£27,500).
A set of Italian busts executed on a smaller scale though representing the Seasons in similar guises appeared at Sotheby's New York, 24 May 2007, The Collection of Mr and Mrs Stephen C Gilbert, lot 15 ($39,000), and a similar set to the present examples, though of later date, was sold at Christie's New York, the Di Portanova Collection, 20 October 2000, lot 333 ($82,250).