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silla was born out of a passion for beautiful objects: special pieces with aesthetic and historical significance. In 2009, after years of collecting, Andrew Silla and his wife Grace began to work privately with clients from their residence in Southern Maryland. Quickly outgrowing the space, the business was moved from Maryland to Pennsylvania in 2012 and after several warehouse location changes it was firmly settled in the present brick-and-mortar location in downtown Shippensburg.

The 9000 square foot brick-and-mortar gallery is home to a large collection of works of art and estate jewelry. We specialize in sculpture circa 1860 through 1930 with a particular emphasis on the Animaliers and as such the gallery always has a very large collection of exceptional European and American sculpture available on display.

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Grand Tour Model of "The Callipygian Venus" | Fonderia Sommer

Fonderia Sommer

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catalog text

Naples, Italy (19th Century)

"The Callipygian Venus"

Sand-cast and patinated bronze | signed foundry mark in the base "Fonderia Artistica Sommer Napoli" (active by 1885-1916) | cast late 19th century

Item # 402KRG29Z 

A beautifully cast Grand Tour reduction of the Callipygian Venus after the life-size statue of antiquity, the sculpture was executed by the boutique foundry established by Giorgio Sommer (German/Italian, 1834-1914) for the casting of sculpture in bronze and later the carving of sculpture in marble. Giorgio Sommer was a German photographer who spent most of his career in Italy, moving to Naples in 1857 where he first established his photography business. At some point thereafter he opened the foundry, which was rather successful, likely due to the very fine quality of output the firm produced. While most records show the foundry opened in 1885, sources suggest they were producing sculpture early in the 1870s before exhibiting in 1885. Thereafter they produced illustrated cataloges of their sculpture for marketing and distribution. He died in 1914 and the foundry survived him only two years before closing its doors in 1916.

The present example is a richly detailed model with extensive carving and articulation of the underlying model; note the rich stylus work in Venus's hair, the handiwork apparent in the repeating motif around the base and the raised signature of the foundry, which is captured directly from the mold and not simply cold-tooled onto the base. The surface throughout is characterized by perfection: smooth and exquisitely finished garments and skin all finished in a medium-brown translucent patina.

The model depicts the Callipygian Venus, also known as the Venus Kallipygos or the Aphrodite Kallipygos. The term "Callipygian" is derived from the Greek words "kallos" meaning beautiful, and "pyge" meaning buttocks.

The original is an ancient Roman marble statue, itself a copy of an earlier Greek statue from the Hellenistic era. The sculpture depicts Venus (or Aphrodite in Greek mythology) looking back and lifting her drapery to reveal her lower back and buttocks. This subject was popular among tourists on the Grand Tour during the 18th and 19th centuries. Travelers would commission or purchase such artworks as mementos that reflected the cultural heritage they encountered on their journeys throughout Europe, especially in Italy.

Such sculptures were admired not only for their aesthetic appeal but also for their cultural and historical significance, embodying the Neoclassical appreciation for the art and mythology of antiquity that was prevalent during the Grand Tour period.


Measurements: 25 1/2" H x 9 7/8" base diameter

Condition Report:
Trace wear to patina throughout; ever so slight inward curve to the base, perhaps being cast slightly too thin to properly support the weight of Venus in the center. Carefully cleaned and sealed in conservator's grade wax.