Male bust (Ranuccio II Farnese?)
Reggio Emilia or Piedmont
18th century, Marble
This bust depicts Ranuccio II Farnese (1631-1694), sixth Duke of Parma and Piacenza, in a very original way: his face turns decisively to the left, imparting a sense of movement and torsion to the likeness, his gaze is lowered slightly, and his mouth is half-open, as if he were speaking to someone other than the person looking at the sculpture frontally. The flowing, wavy hair frames a face with soft shapes and finely rendered eyes and nose and a thin moustache that partially frames two full lips. He appears to be between twenty and thirty years of age. Although the reference to Bernini is evident, a greater simplification of the drapery and ornamentation and a more realistic attention to a faithful rendering may suggest an Emilian sculptor, keeping in mind that Bologna, with its links to the Church, would have been up to date with Roman innovation.