Beni Culturali Soprintendenza Speciale per il Patrimonio Storico Artistico ed Etnoantropologico per il Polo Museale della città di Roma


Testa di cherubino - Head of a Cherub
Object belonging
One's own
Terracotta sculpture
Museo Nazionale del Palazzo di Venezia
Specific location
Room 21
PV 13297
Material and technique
Roman School
17th century
32x30 cm.
Gorga Collection (1948)
Image copyright
SSPSAE e per il Polo Museale della città di Roma

Short description

This small relief depicts a Cherub in familiar iconographic fashion, with the putto’s face framed by 4 wings. The refined carving succeeds in translating the divine into human form, witnessed in the serene but rapt look of the child, and the wavy hair, as if blown by the wind. The artist creates a groove between the cherub’s face and the wings that are arranged so as to create a rhomboid shaped frame. The surface of the work is covered with a light pink patina, and the clay of the terracotta is of the same colour, though more intense. It is difficult to place a work of this type within the oeuvre of a sculptor, given the frequency with which such pieces were produced, usually for various decorative functions. One observation, however, was made on this terracotta by Cannata (2007), who noted the particular grace of the composition and, though he recognised some traits of Algardi’s work, rejected the attribution to the latter citing the lack of emotional intensity in the figure’s expression. There is a certain similarity to Algardi’s angelic faces, but the deadening of the expression in favour of a greater exterior grace suggest it ought to be dated towards the end of the 17th century.

Cristiano Giometti 


P. Cannata, Head of a  Seraph, in F. Buranelli and R.C. Dietrick (eds.), Between God and Man: Angels in Italian Art, exh. cat., Jackson 2007, p. 144

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Page created 15/01/2009, last modify 15/11/2010