Busts of Antonio Barbiano di Belgiojoso d'Este and Barbara d’Adda
Carlo Maria Giudici (1723-1804)
1769, White marble
The Belgiojoso family were among the most prominent patricians at the Habsburg court: this commemorative bust is therefore of great importance. Prince Antonio is depicted in half-length, his head turned slightly to the right, wearing a wig and with a cloak around his body. On his gorget we see the badge of honour of the Golden Fleece. Also very important is the marble base, which is inscribed and signed by the artist. Accompanying her husband's bust, the portrait of Barbara d'Adda is equally sumptuous, as can be seen from the details: her ermine-lined cloak, the lace on her dress on which the medal of the ladies of the court is pinned, and her elegant hairstyle strewn with pearls. Her bust also sits on a sculpted marble base with an inscription. These two busts are splendid examples of the Rococo exuberance of Habsburg portraits, in which an attempt was made to update commemorative busts according to the ornate and theatrical taste of the time, as can be seen in the drapery, which emerges from the busts themselves and protrudes into the surrounding space. Carlo Maria Giudici was a sculptor with ties to the Viennese court, who also worked on the construction of the Milan Cathedral from 1752 onwards.