786. Borghese Gladiator Bronze Nude Male 19thCt. Alessandro Nelli Foundry


Superb Example of The Borghese Gladiator with well defined muscles and tendons, first half of the Nineteenth Century, complete with its original cream and pink veined brown marble base, ending on a black marble stepped base.  

Condition: Superb condition untouched condition with wonderful patination. Foundry mark on base as shown “A NELLI ROMA”

Height: (entire as shown) 13.75" (35cm). Width: (base) 9.25" (23cm). Depth: (base) 5" (12.75cm). 


Alessandro Nelli was born in Rome on January 28, 1842. Having learned the art of casting by Antonio Messina, he opened a personal foundry, based initially at Via Lungara and then, from 1881, in via Luciano Manaran. The Foundry Nelli remained open until the beginning of the century, characterized as the most important in the translation of artistic bronzes.
The foundry Nelli turned the most important Italian sculptors often active in the era of the great memorials sector, as Eugenio Maccagnani, Giulio Tadolini, Ernesto Biondi,   Odoardo Tabacchi, Foundry was also the reference for foreign artists living in Rome, who sent their works abroad: well behaved such as Americans William Story and Randolph Rogers or Polish Pius Welonsky.
Over the years the Foundry regularly exposed to various Exhibitions and World Fairs (eg. London, Paris and Melbourne), often earning awards and certificates of merit. In 1897 the foundry, which employed about 250 workers, was forced to close because they burdened by debt to construct the building on Via Manara. Nelli seems that at that point  emigrated to Russia, where he worked at the court of the Tsar, and where he died in the early twentieth century.

Original Gladiator which was of carved marble was found at Nettuno near Anzio in 1611. By 1613 it was in the Borghese Collection. It was purchased by Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) General and Emperor of France.