The 5in (12.9 cm) cast of Peasant Resting on his Staff c.1600-20 attributed to Antonio Susini (1580-1624) after a model by Giambologna (1529-1608) has an estimate of £25,000-35,000.
It was found by a retired couple who had recently taken up the hobby of buying and selling art and antiques. They bid for the box lot and paid Rand260 (around £12). After a few days of research, they contacted a Christie’s consultant in South Africa who in turn put them in touch with Christie’s specialist in London Milo Dickinson.
He immediately recognised the bronze as a 17th century cast. Dickinson said: “It has that sharpness to the edges, extremely delicate detail and amazing surface finish that is typical of Susini’s best bronzes - his work is easy to spot to the trained eye, and this was of such extraordinary quality.”
The most commercial of Susini bronzes, many of them made after models by his mentor Giambologna, can bring six and even seven figure sums. In 2014 Christie’s sold a Susini bronze of Venus for a premium-inclusive £1.06m.
The ‘box lot’ bronze will be offered in the Old Master Paintings & Sculpture sale which runs online from July 9-30. The sale is part of Christie’s wider Classic Week in London which is now held over the whole month of July.
The rescheduled series of 12 auctions comprises eight online sales (including an experimental collaboration between Old Masters and Post War Art) and four live auctions. The series culminates with a Classic Art evening sale in London called Antiquity to 20th Century on July 29.