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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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"Narcissus" | Grand Tour Bronze Sculpture after Antiquity



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catalog text

Italy, late 19th/early 20th century


Patinated bronze | unsigned | cast circa 1880-1910

Item # 303LTW18S 

A rare and exceedingly fine cast after the Greco-Roman statue of Antiquity discovered in a non-descript house in Pompeii in 1862, the sculpture has been widely discussed as an image of Narcissus, while scholars have argued it is instead a depiction of Dionysus and more recently as a cast of Bacchus waving his finger with grapes dangling from it before an unseen panther. It was the last antique statue in Italy to be showered with such considerable worldwide renown and perhaps this is the reason for its popularity.

The sculpture depicts a young man standing entirely devoid of clothing other than a goatskin thrown over his shoulder, his full head of hair chaotic and unkempt as he stares down at something unseen on the ground before him.

It is this hollow stare and the pensive raised finger that has led scholars to attribute the image to Narcissus, the young man of great beauty loved by all who met him, but he was unwilling to return the same love to anyone. Because he treated those who loved him so poorly, the gods deemed Narcissus would never have anything he loved. One day, when Narcissus was hunting he stumbled across a stream and when he looked into its still waters he saw his own reflection and fell deeply in love with the image. He reached out to grab the figure, but could not grasp it. He stayed beside the stream without sleep or food, sharing every moment with this image, this singular being who captured his heart. And there he wasted away until he died beside the waters and transformed into a flower.

The philisophical statements of the myth underpin the very word Narcisism and make it a particularly compelling image to have at hand - a reminder of the perils of self-delusion.

The present cast is from the turn of the century circa 1890-1910 and was cast in such a way as to suggest it was only just dug free from the soil at Pompeii. The rough textured surface is patinated in a chaotic manner with intense surface variation that is most attractive. Due to the popularity of the cast, it is rare that we actually find one that is so compelling that we have to purchase it for the gallery. This, however, is an exceedingly good cast and a fine treasure. Note that the copper leaf hanging from his finger is designed such that it can be installed to hide his nudity, a particularly interesting feature.

Measurements: 23 7/8" H x 10" W x 10" D

Condition Report:
Chaotic surface presents with some non-noteworthy handling wear/scuffing to the wonderful variegated patina. Copper leaf with verdigris oxidization sealed under wax - some rubbing/scratching to the inner thigh and around where this leaf rubs when installed.