Twice rescued

Фотография до реставрации Фотография после реставрации

Donatello D (?)

Dancing Cupid or Spiritello

  • Italy, 1500-1525 (?)
  • Inv. ЗС-9
  • Bronze
  • H. 26,5 cm.
  • Conservator: M. Tulubensky, 2019

This Spiritello in its present condition is a tragic remembrance of the war. It has a long history: in the 17th century it belonged to Giovanni Pietro Bellori (1613-1696), an Italian painter and antiquary, an expert and art historian. It was considered a work of antiquity and entered the assembly of the Brandenburg Electors in 1698 as such. At the very beginning of the 19th century, this statuette, together with a number of other valuable artworks, was captured by the Napoleonic troops and sent to Paris, where it became a part of the Napoleon Museum, located in the Louvre. Later it was returned back to Berlin. Only in 1892, Wilhelm von Bode recognized a sculpture of the Italian Renaissance in it, and suggested that the statuette should be considered the work of Donatello, close in time to the figures of dancing putti of the Siena Baptistry; this point of view, however, did not find enough support. In the postwar period, any mentions of this figurine almost completely disappeared from academic literature. According to some contemporary researchers, it can be a work of a Roman sculptor of the first quarter of the 16th century. A number of correlations can also be found in the numerous figures of putti executed in the workshop of the Venetian sculptor Niccolò Roccatagliata (ca. 1560-1636).


The surface was cleaned, and the oxide layer was consolidated. The metal composition was determined, and potential fracture zones were identified by neutron tomography, which was taken into account when designing the support frame.