Mancini had taken up the theme of the saltimbanco (a young circus or street performer) in earlier paintings, but he conceived this work on an unprecedented scale, probably in anticipation of exhibiting it at the prestigious Salon of the French Royal Academy in Paris. The model is Mancini's favorite, Luigiello. The artist invested his subject with an important secondary meaning, deriving the pose of the figure from traditional representations of Christ bound and displayed to the public-types known variously as "Ecce Homo-Behold the man," and the "Man of Sorrows." Mancini used a similar motif in his 1868 painting The Street Urchin. In both cases, Mancini seemed intent on suggesting anew the traditional parallel between the sufferings of Christ and of mankind.


  • Title: Il Saltimbanco
  • Creator Lifespan: 1852/1930
  • Creator Nationality: Italian
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Rome, Italy
  • Creator Birth Place: Rome, Italy
  • Date: 1879
  • Physical Dimensions: w43.63 x h80.25 in (Overall)
  • Type: Paintings
  • Rights: © 2014 Philadelphia Museum of Art. All rights reserved.
  • External Link: Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Provenance: Comte Albert Cahen, Paris, 1877. With Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris. With Tullio Gramantieri, Rome. With Galleria d'Arte Michelangelo (Guido Marchesi, director), Rome [1]. Barone Alberto Fassini (1875-1942), Rome [2]; heirs of Barone Alberto Fassini, Rome, by 1943 [3]. With Galleria d'Arte Edmondo Sacerdoti, Milan, by 1962 and still in 1978 [4]. Sale, Finarte, Milan, May 30, 1990, no. 137. Sale, Sotheby's, New York, May 26, 1994, no. 163 (illus.); Vance N. Jordan (1943-2003), New York. 1. The preceding provenance from Sotheby's 1994 sale catalogue. 2. Probably after 1931, as it does not appear in the 1930-1931 Fassini collection catalogue. 3. Listed as the owners in Virgilio Guzzi, Antonio Mancini, Rome, 1943, pl. 19. 4. The gallery lent the painting to the Milan 1962 exhibition,"Mostra di Antonio Mancini," October-November 1962, no. 26. Sacerdoti is listed as the owner in Fortunato Bellonzi, Antonio Mancini, Milan, 1978, p. 30., Vance N. Jordan Collection, 2004
  • Artist/Maker: Antonio Mancini, Italian, 1852 - 1930

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