Portraits of the Marquis Cristoforo Spinola and the Marquise Gabrielle Spinola de Lévis
Nicolò Traverso (1745-1823)
19th century, White marble
These two marble busts come from indirect descendants of a branch of the Genoese Spinola family and have always been attributed to Nicolò Stefano Traverso, the most prominent sculptor in Genoa in the neoclassical period. The effigies are of Cristoforo Spinola (1743-1802) and his second wife Gabrielle de Lévis (1762-1848), who belonged to one of the most aristocratic families in France. Spinola was a Genoese diplomat in Paris, and marrying into the Lévis family brought great advantages to him, enabling him to enter the upper echelons of French aristocratic society. The couple are dressed in antique attire, according to a custom that was very popular, especially in the Napoleonic era. She wears a simple hairstyle, with her hair wrapped in a braid and a few curls falling onto her forehead; he is more severe, with a furrowed brow and an austere gaze. The two busts can likely be dated to the very early years of the 19th century.