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Tiziano Aspetti  (1565–1607)
Mars, ca. 1590
Bronze
H.: 22 11/16 in. (57.6 cm)
Henry Clay Frick Bequest
Accession number: 1916.2.56
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West Gallery (131)
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Commentary: While the Venetian sculptors Alessandro Vittoria and Girolamo Campagna played influential roles in forming Aspetti's style, long before he moved to Tuscany he seems to have been strongly attracted by Florentine sculpture, and especially by Giovanni Bologna. The spiraling pose of his Mars reflects contemporary Florentine taste for elegant, convoluted patterns, wherein the head turns on the torso, the arms swing counter to the torso, and the legs often make swaying, unstable contact with the ground. The sense of coiled movement implied by the god's pose is further propelled by his action as he reaches back to draw his sword while gazing forward over his right shoulder toward an unseen foe. Aspetti's modeling of the bronze contributes to the liveliness of the sculpture. Light seems to flicker up over the surface as the form swells and diminishes like a flame. One is strongly reminded of paintings by his Venetian contemporary Tintoretto.

Other versions of this Mars exist, some paired with Venus and Cupid and some mounted as andirons.

Source: Art in The Frick Collection: Paintings, Sculpture, Decorative Arts, New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1996.
Collections: J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York. Duveen. Frick, 1916.

Source: Sculpture in The Frick Collection: Italian. Volume III. New York: The Frick Collection, 1970.