Right hand of Duchess Maria Luigia of Austria
Tommaso Bandini (1807-1849)
19th century, White marble
This sculpture depicts the small, slender hand of Duchess Maria Luigia of Austria resting on a sheet of paper atop a copy of the Civil Code of the States of Parma. Her particularly small hands and feet–a characteristic of which she was very proud–are well documented. One noteworthy aspect of her work, of great importance for the community life of her States, was the implementation of the Parma Civil Code, which came into force in July 1820. Tommaso Bandini, a promising and gifted sculptor who was destined to die young, had been a favourite pupil of Lorenzo Bartolini in Florence. Back in Parma, he was called to teach sculpture at the Parma Academy of Fine Arts and initiated a successful relationship with the ducal court of Maria Luigia. In this work, Bandini depicts a gesture of sovereign approval by placing the hand of Maria Luigia on the very rescript itself, which reads: 'Given in Our Residence in Parma on the 23rd day of March in the year 1820'. The volume is unequivocally identified: the title CODE OF THE DUCHY OF PARMA PIACENZA AND GUASTALLA appears on the spine.