Pair of Altar Candlesticks

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Workshop of Vincenzo Grandi
Italy, ca. 1500-1525
AZ035.1: 33 7/8 x 12 1/4 inches (860 x 310 mm); AZ035.2: 33 1/8 x 12 5/8 inches (840 x 320 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1904 and 1906.

Sphinxes structure the base of each candlestick, one of which bears the winged man symbolic of St. Matthew, while the other bears the ox representing St. Luke. These bronzes were made in Venice ca. 1500-1525 and are part of a larger ensemble, which includes two further pairs of candlesticks, one in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the other in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Collectively these would have formed an impressive and extensive set of Renaissance altar furniture.
AZ035.1 (St. Luke); AZ035.2 (St. Matthew).

Inscriptions: Latin: LIBER GENERATIONIS; JESU CRISTI; FILII DAVID. AZ035.2 - Base is decorated with three angels each reading a book with inscriptions in Latin: "FILDA VI II T - LIBER - IECR IS SVTI".
Said to have belonged to Doge Luigi Mocenigo of Venice, patron of Jacopo Sansovino (Florence 1486-1570 Venice), and later to have been in the church of San Stefano, Venice; purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan from Lowengard, 1904 and 1906. (A reason for the tradition of the Mocenigo provenance may be that the candlesticks were formerly attributed to Sansovino, two similar examples are preserved in the church of San Stefano, Venice.)

The triangular bases are decorated with sphinxes, the sides are decorated with the angel and ox symbolizing SS Mathew and Luke, and the stems are ornamented with cherubs, acanthus foliage, and rosettes. The pricket candlestick has a metal spike on which the candle rests.