Study Bust of a Screaming Old Man

  • Giovanni Francesco Rustici
  • 1474 Florence–1554 France
  • Stucco
  • 5 ¼ in height x 6 in width x 4 ½ in depth

small bust male screaming, Rustici

Related to three larger semi-finished study heads of screaming old men (St. Jerome?) in London V&A for which cf. John Pope-Hennessey, Italian Sculpture in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1964, vol. The largest of these is stucco 1 ft. 11 ¼ in = 59.1 cm ht. (Vol. II, cat. no. 420, Vol. III, fig. 417); cat. 421, terra cotta, 1 ft. 3 in = 38.1 cm, fig. 419; the third cat. no. 422, terra cotta, 1 ft. 7 in = 47.9 cm, fig. 418.

Although smaller than the V&A trio, the present bust shows the same proportion of head to shoulder and relatable drapery in antique fashion, and with quite similar expressive anatomy of face and emphatic tendons and Adams apple on the strained neck. Although Pope-Hennessey considered the V & A busts to originate with a follower of Rustici, it seems likely that all resulted from a creative or instructive campaign for the creation of pathos types of saints to be expanded or incorporated in larger works by Rustici and his atelier.