Cesare Lapini


Cesare Lapini was part of the highly successful Florentine school of sculptors of the late nineteenth century which included Vittorio Caradossi, Fernando Vichi and Pasquale Romanelli. They supplied a significant quantity of marble sculpture to an increasingly international cliental during the late 19th century. Continuing in the tradition of the Grand Tour, European aristocracy, alongside a new class of industrialists, entrepreneurs and financiers from the Americas visited Florence buying allegorical and genre sculpture, works after the Antique and portrait busts.

Lapini and his family established sizeable workshop and gallery premises in Florence and exhibited at the Esposizione Generele Italiana in Turin in 1884 and in Rome in 1888 before expanding internationally by participating in the Great Exhibitions and Worlds Fairs. Fratelli Lapini were awarded a diploma at an exhibition of contemporary Italian Art in London in 1888 which was presided over by the King of Italy and H.R.H the Prince of Wales. Lapini put on a dazzling display at 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle and an equally impressive stand at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair in the name of ‘E. & C. Lapini Bros & Sons of Florence’ receiving a Grand Prize for their statue ‘First Quarter of the Moon’.

Favouring allegorical and mythological subjects of beautiful women, Lapini was praised for the realism of his graceful statues which make fantasies come to life. As was the practice of the time, popular works were exhibited and made to order so invariable more than one example were produced. The attribution of ‘Rosa Senza Spine’ to Lapini is made with reference to another example signed ‘C. Lapini Firenze’ (sold Sotheby’s, London, 1 March 1996, lot 219) and a photograph showing this composition as part of Lapini’s display at the 1900 Paris Exposition universelle.