Andrea Fusani

Pietro Leopoldo I, Grand Duke of Tuscany

A hitherto unknown portrait. Domenico Andrea Pelliccia (1736-1821)


21,5 x 28 cm / 132 pages / illustrated / italian and english text


Walter Padovani, Milan, 2024



This unpublished celebratory portrait of Grand Duke of Tuscany Pietro Leopoldo I is a significant addition to the catalog of works by the carrarese sculptor Domenico Andrea Pelliccia, who the previous year executed the Monument to the Grand Duke at the Lazzaretto of Leghorn. Son of Emperor Francis I and Maria Theresa of Austria, he became Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1765 until 1790. He was an enlightened ruler who implemented many important reforms, from agriculture to the penal code, being the first to abolish torture and capital punishment in Europe (1786). The portrait is dated 1777, and the young Pietro Leopoldo is depicted wearing the highest insignia of Habsburg and Grand Ducal power. We are looking here at a work of immense sophistication, in which the meticulous care lavished on the definition of detail translates into a diversity in the carving: everything becomes tangible and appears to belie the cold nature of the Apuan stone. The naturalism of the material, however, fails to curb the portrait’s interior presence even though it is bound by a frozen, suspended, ineffable expression.

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