from the artist studio to the home: decorating with body parts from the past

These fascinating terracotta body parts are rare examples of 16th century artist’s models taken largely from Michelangelo’s figures for the Medici tombs in Florence, used by aspiring late Renaissance artists and sculptors to practice their technique.

For sale at Sotheby’s New York next week, there are several things that are amazing about this group lot.  First, the awesome fact these still survive as a group and in relatively good shape after 400+ years.  Second, they give us a glimpse into artistic learning practices of the past that are unchanged today, but imagine how revolutionary there were in the day! Third, the utter beauty of each exquisite body part is sublime.

So how can a collection like this be incorporated into the décor of a home?  Super interior designers from Brian McCarthy to Axel Vervoordt use body parts from antiquity to spice up a contemporary space, so a Khmer arm, a Greek foot, an Egyptian finger and a Roman torso are really all the rage.  It’s a modern approach to incorporating the past.  This particular marvelous group of models at Sotheby’s is no different, as it can easily make for quite a vignette over a 1930s Adnet side table – so so ultra chic!
image credit: Sotheby’s, New York.  Important Old Master Paintings and Sculpture, lot 354, Attributed to Johann G. van der Schardt and workshop, Nine Terracotta Sculptor’s Models.  Estimate US$ 200,000 – 300,000. To be sold on 1 February 2013. The entire sale is open to the public from 25-30 January 2013.


PS: Thank you for stopping by and reading my feature today.  I love what I do as an interior designer and art advisor, and it’s my hope that through these blog posts I’m enriching and heightening your aesthetic sensibility towards art, design and fabulous interiors in some way ~ Richard Rabel (a.k.a. the modern sybarite