Joseph de Levis applied his distinctive signature (between 1577 and 1605) to a whole range of fantastic, Mannerist, bronze artefacts, some 45 in all. They range from large church-bells - some still in situ - and miniature table-bells, to mortars, inkstands, perfume-burners, door-knockers, firedogs, statuettes, and even a portrait-bust. Joseph's sons and nephews continued the family business into the seventeenth century, signing a similar range of artefacts in an early Baroque style. This book provides a unique cross-section of the production of a hard-working and resilient renaissance foundry. Frequently inscriptions and coats-of-arms specify his wide-ranging clientele, from civic and church authorities, to guilds and confraternities (all-important in society at the time), nobility, merchants and connoisseur-collectors. Bronzes by the De Levis dynasty are now dispersed among museums in Europe, the USA and Israel, and in Old Master collections, notably that of the late Robert H. Smith, whose foundation purchased in 2002 the eye-catching Ewer from the Salomon de Rothschild Foundation in Paris for GBP276,000.This well illustrated catalogue raisonne is important both art-historically and from the perspective of the Jewish Diaspora in Renaissance Italy.
Dr Charles Avery is a specialist on European sculpture, particularly Italian, French, English and Flemish. A graduate of Cambridge University and the Courtauld Institute of Art he later obtained a doctorate from Cambridge. He is a Cavaliere of the Order of Merit of Italy, and has been a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and a Trustee of the British-Italian Society.He was Deputy Keeper of Sculpture at the Victoria & Albert Museum for twelve years and a Director of Christie's and since 1990 has been an independent historian, writer and lecturer. His published works include Giambologna: The Complete Sculpture; Renaissance and Baroque Bronzes in the Frick Art Museum; Donatello: An Introduction; David Le Marchand (1674-1726): 'An Ingenious Man for Carving in Ivory'; Bernini, Genius of the Baroque and The Triumph of Motion: Francesco Bertos (1678-1741).
Preface and acknowledgementsContents1. Fortuna Critica2. Historiography3. Biography4. Signatures and Family Identity 5. Joseph's oeuvre (a) Plaques of the Deposition (b) Church-bells, table-bells, and mortars (c) Figure compositions (d) Joseph's sons and nephews6. Joseph's background and the origins of his style7. Bell-casting8. Church-bells9. Table-bells