Riccio's Oil Lamp
New volume in the Frick Diptych series focuses on a remarkable Renaissance lamp, pairing an essay by Frick director Ian Wardropper with a new poem by James Fenton. The form of this extraordinary bronze lamp, the most elaborate of several produced by Riccio (Andrea Briosco), is based on a Roman sandal, and its surface is covered with intricate reliefs modelled with a goldsmith's refinement and crisp detail. The subjects evoke the populace of classical art and poetry, including a Nereid and Triton, Pan, harpies and innumerable putti, along with goats, musical instruments, shells, masks and garlands. Inspired by the Roman half-boot, the lamp is designed as a bizarre shoe balanced on a pyramidal base, and, as Ian Wardropper discusses in his essay, it would have provided its owner with much pleasure and intellectual stimulation. Early in its history, the lamp is known to have belonged to a series of distinguished Paduan collectors. Paired with Wardropper's essay is a beautiful poem by James Fenton.
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